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How Bittern’s books keep Ludham Bridge Stores’ book business buoyant
 How Bittern Books keeps Ludham Bridge Stores’ book business buoyant

Local store has become a fixture and landmark of the Norfolk Broads


Like many village stores, Ludham Bridge Stores has played a vital role in the life of its community for generations. But as it is based right in the heart of the Norfolk Broads it needs to be able to meet the needs of tourists. To this end it carries a wide selection of books supplied by local distributors Bittern Books, including maps of the local area as well as local history and fiction set in the county.

Carolyn Rose Mobbs is the owner of the store. She has worked there for over 50 years, buying the business when the previous owner asked if she was interested in taking it over. “I thought I better do it just in case the new owner put me out of a job!” she says. 

Since then she’s not looked back, and the store continues to serve regulars and some of the eight million holidaymakers who come to enjoy the tranquillity and beauty of the Broads each year.  The store is right next to the bridge crossing the river Ant.  “The location here is perfect,” says Carolyn. “We’ve got the boats coming in, as well as passing traffic from the road, walkers coming through and the caravan park over the road,” she says. “There’re no other shops nearby so we need to be able to offer them the things they need – they’re often trying to find maps so they can explore the area better.”

Bittern Books supplies the stores with a comprehensive selection of its range of local maps, including custom walking maps made in collaboration with Dinky, and guidebooks. But while finding your way around is one part of a holiday, so is relaxing with a great story. “The local fiction books are really popular, particularly those by David Blake,” says Carolyn. Blake’s crime stories are based in and around the Broads. Local history books are also strong sellers, with people looking to learn more about Norfolk’s rich history.

“Bittern Books are very easy to work with,” says Carolyn. “I’ll call Steve Haines, founder and owner of Bittern Books, or sometimes he’ll call me, and he’ll tell me about anything new and interesting he’s got, and then he’ll either deliver them himself or get them sent over as soon as possible.”

For Steve this communication is vital in ensuring that his customers have the right books for their business. “We will always focus on books that sell for them, we never try and load them up with things they don’t need,” he says. “We like to get to know our clients and what they and their customers are looking for.”

As the summer season gets into high gear, Carolyn remains as excited at working at the store as she always has been. “When we took over seven years ago the local newspaper interviewed us, and in the headline it called us ‘Arkwright’s Store,’” she says. With its comprehensive selection of products (and the carefully selected range of books provided by Bittern), the comparison to the classic sitcom Open All Hours is appropriate, especially as Ludham Bridge Stores plays an equally important role in its community. “I just enjoy working here,”  says Carolyn. “It’s nice meeting people from so many different places.”

A short video about Ludham Bridge Stores can be seen here

Bittern Books specialises in East Anglian books and maps, both as a wholesale business, distributing to retail outlets throughout East Anglia, and also selling direct through its website. For further details, call Bittern Books on 01603 739635, visit or email

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