Book Retailer of the Year

Winner: Book Retailer of the Year

WH Smith Travel

WH Smith Travel

Book Retailer of the Year in 2016, shortlisted in both 2017 and 2018, and now champion bookseller again, W H Smith Travel is a retailer that consistently delivers.

It grew book sales once more in 2018 and opened new stores—nearly 20 in the UK and 60 internationally—while refreshing many others. Three of those launches were standalone bookshops in major British travel hubs—a heartening sign that in a broadly flat market the business remains firmly committed to books.

And it showed that its support of publishers and authors runs deeper than some think. As ever, W H Smith Travel had its fair share of sales of the year’s blockbuster books, but it proved itself a genuine supporter of lesser-known voices, of fiction in translation, and of independent publishers, not least through Fresh Talent and other promotions.

It delved deeper into backlist too, including a Bookshelf Bucket List initiative, and relaunched its children’s books offer with new promos and fittings. More revamps came at its concessions within Harrods and Selfridges, unique environments in which it showed its ability to flex its approach to bookselling.


  • Blackwell's
    2018’s Book Retailer of the Year grew sales once again right across its high street, academic, online and corporate operations, with events and the customer service of its outstanding booksellers among its biggest strengths
  • Daunt Books
    The James Daunt- founded group of high-end bookshops returns to the shortlist after many years away after pushing up sales through handselling, events and a deep knowledge of its London communities
  • Golden Hare Books
    Passionate, creative and hard-working Edinburgh- based bookseller that qualifies for this award shortlist after winning the 2019 Independent Bookshop of the Year
  • Waterstones
    Shrugged off the upheaval of a sale to Elliott Advisors by improving sales and profitability again in 2018, opening new stores, refurbishing many others and excelling in children's books
  • WH Smith High Street
    Earned itself a big slice of the year’s mega- sellers from David Walliams and others, but—like its sister operation and award winner W H Smith Travel—delved deep into backlist and new authors, too
  • WH Smith Travel
    Publishers are full of praise for W H Smith Travel’s knowledgeable team and their collaborative approach to sales and marketing