Celebrating the fine art of bookselling

<p>The Bookseller awards last night, a late night but a good one.&nbsp; All shades of retailer were in the room, online, offline, independent, chain, specialist, generalist. Blackwell picked up the top award, a deserved triumph for a business that has been through some turbulent times in recent years but is making a successful turnaround in what is one of the toughest parts of the book trade.</p>
<p>The mood across the main hall of the&nbsp; Natural History Museum was upbeat, confident even, a far cry from the jitters that seems to be affecting the rest of the high street, hit by a string of problems from a wet summer to Northern Rock. Apparently the mood at the BRC annual dinner on Wednesday night was decidedly mixed.</p>
<p>Although we had one or two big name presenters, like John Simpson, Tony Parsons and Sophie Kinsella, the stars were the booksellers, as they should be. Ted Smart won the lifetime achievement award, but typically he insisted that his right-hand woman, Seni, should join him on stage.</p>
<p><img width="301" height="196" src="/documents/UserContributed/image/Bookseller%20Images/RRTedSmart.jpg" alt="The Book People's Ted Smart" /></p>
<p>Marilyn Brocklehurst gave a brief and modest speech as she picked up the award for the children&rsquo;s indie. Her business, tucked away down a lane in Norfolk with grass growing in the middle of it, is one of the trade&rsquo;s hidden gems. Her secret is out.</p>
<p>For me the night was confirmation, yet again, that the book trade is in rude health, despite, or perhaps because of, the rapid pace of evolution.&nbsp; Often the news around the trade in the general media is one of doom and gloom, of closures and digital threats, but there is a stronger countervailing story of growth, expansion and progress.&nbsp; What our awards are about is celebrating the fine art of bookselling, giving it the oomph it deserves. I hope we are succeeding.</p>