About us

Red Lion Books is an independent book shop in Colchester’s High Street.  We have an unshakable belief in the value of physical books and their continuing, rightful place at the heart of the town. We present the best books and most interesting writing we can find across both adults and children’s sections. We fill our shelves with a large selection of the best new titles each week, thoughtfully chosen and attractively displayed, combined with a carefully curated stock holding.

The shop is firmly embedded in the cultural life of Colchester and beyond. We have strong relationships with local schools, supplying books, supporting author visits and providing book fairs – particularly around World Book Day in March each year. We host in-store author events and support local authors.  We are involved with author events outside the shop, both in Colchester and further afield,  travelling around the county to provide books for literary events through our close involvement with the Essex Book Festival.

The shop was founded in 1978 by Peter and Sarah Donaldson. Many people over the years have reckoned it was a mad idea but decades later they still own and run the shop. It opened originally in Red Lion Yard, in a unit converted from the stables of the old coaching Inn. In 1985 the shop moved over the High Street to its present site and in 1989 the basement was converted to provide more sales space.

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