Winner: Children's Bookseller of the Year
Waterstones has made children’s books a central theme of its impressive turnaround in recent years—but it is its dedicated support of young readers, authors and publishers as much as its sales performance that earns it this award for the first time since 2011.
The chain generated big sales for the top children’s titles of 2018, and used creative launch activity to capitalise on J K Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. But the passion and creativity of its booksellers went far beyond the big names to break new and diverse voices into the market, including via its Book of the Month promotion and Waterstones Book Prize, and to put on several thousand author and illustrator events, storytimes, book clubs, school activities and more. Waterstones backed it up with significant investment in its children’s sections, and earned the respect and gratitude of large and small publishers alike. “Waterstones’ extraordinary team... are inspiring new generations to become readers for life,” said one.
Judges were impressed by Waterstones’ clear sense of purpose and by its dedication to getting children to read—not just for its own sake but, ultimately, for everyone’s benefit. “It makes books work that other retailers can’t, and gets them visible in towns where others aren’t... without Waterstones the children’s market would be infinitely poorer,” they said.
Highly commended in this category is THE EDINBURGH BOOKSHOP. Winner here in 2014 and shortlisted every year since, it had double-digit sales growth in 2018, much of it drawn from its small but perfectly formed children’s section. Judges applauded its passionate support of hesitant and reluctant readers in particular. “They do so much with so little space—they live and breathe children’s books.”
Golden Hare Books
The Kew Bookshop
Norfolk Children's Book Centre
The Blessington Bookstore