Children's Bookseller of the Year

Winner: Children's Bookseller of the Year

Waterstones

Waterstones

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.”

Shortlist

  • Asda
    Used its extensive reach to promote books to parents and children who might not otherwise encounter them, and cross-promoted across its supermarkets
  • Golden Hare Books
    Winner of the overall Independent Bookshop of the Year Award, and shortlisted here for its engagement with families in its Edinburgh community
  • The Kew Bookshop
    Rejuvenated after a change of owners two years ago, its experienced and knowledgeable team grew sales and built links with schools in 2018
  • Nomad Books
    Another recently revitalised London independent bookshop, it sets aside half its space for children’s books and put on a broad range of events last year
  • Norfolk Children's Book Centre
    Unique and quirky independent that has been championing children’s books for well over three decades now
  • The Blessington Bookstore
    Energetic independent in Ireland’s County Wicklow with a flair for in-store and outreach events and themed promotions