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Book stall has story to tell

PUBLISHED: 09:06 13 February 2009 | UPDATED: 13:02 03 July 2010

Andrew and Sheelagh Jenner with their daughter Heather at Quality Books

Andrew and Sheelagh Jenner with their daughter Heather at Quality Books

Miles Jermy

IT'S a family story that started 20 years ago and provided a source of endless material for the reading public.

Andrew Jenner has sold countless titles in the two decades running Quality Books on Great Yarmouth Market Place.

IT'S a family story that started 20 years ago and provided a source of endless material for the reading public.

Andrew Jenner has sold countless titles in the two decades running Quality Books on Great Yarmouth Market Place.

Book worms have been satisfying their varied reading habits at the stall which opened back in 1989.

Over the years members of Andrew's family have helped out with the business that has continued to prosper through good times and bad.

Book lover Andrew, 57, decided to set up the stall with wife Sheelagh after giving up his job as a machinist at the old Birds Eye factory in Yarmouth.

Since then the Belton couple have been joined by daughter Heather, with her partner Kevin Clarke set to add to the team in April.

Son Clive has helped out in the past and younger brother Richard works on the stall when back home from university.

“We set the stall up after I suffered repetitive strain injury, it's a job I love and fortunately my health has improved over the years too,” said Andrew.

“I enjoy having a natter with people and there are some customers we have been seeing throughout the 20 years.

“We get to know what authors readers like and recommend other writers they would enjoy too. One of the good things is people love books - they provide so much pleasure.

“Science fiction and fantasy sell particularly well and reading habits have not changed that much during the time we have been trading.

“People request books, especially ones that are out of print and we contact them when they come in.”

There only downside to the job according to Andrew is the often bracing weather with the odd book even being carried away on a gust of wind.

Several books at the stall sell for as little as 10p but customers have also parted with considerably more cash on occasions.

“We sold a rare book called Devil's Guard for £25 and some early editions by the cartoonist Giles for £50 that are now worth between £200 and £300,” said Andrew.

“I remember someone bought a large book and put a hole in it to hide a present, but that wasn't very expensive.

“There have been several downturns since we have been here, but the business has always pulled through quite well.

“Our prices are kept very low and people can sell them back to us when they have finished the book - its better to take a little bit of money off a lot of people.”

Andrew, whose favourite author is historical novelist Bernard Cornwell, is also a keen conservationist.

Two years ago he bought Belton Fen and spends his spare time maintaining the precious wildlife refuge.

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