These nine nominees across England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland demonstrated the indefatigable spirit of children’s independent booksellers in 2020. Their endlessly creative responses to lockdowns and distancing provided lifelines to reading for children, parents and schools, and reminded everyone that bookshops are at the very heart of their communities, whether in large cities or small towns.
Moon Lane isn’t just the Children’s Bookseller of the Year for the second year in a row; it is the overall Book Retailer of the Year.
Like so many indies, it managed to sustain sales during 2020’s lockdowns, delivering books locally and offering private or Zoom-based shopping for customers. It became an online retail expert overnight, with the support of Hive and Bookshop.org, and migrated its popular storytelling sessions and author events online through a lively YouTube channel, which became a rare promotional opportunity for kids’ publishers.
But it was the work beyond conventional bookselling and Moon Lane’s Herne Hill store that really stood the business apart. Its Community Interest Company (CIC) continued its mission to dismantle barriers to reading in the deprived parts of Lewisham and Ramsgate that it serves, bringing many local schoolchildren into contact with bookshops for the first time. It is one of the most committed supporters of underrepresented authors around and, through a paid internship scheme, champions a more diverse workforce in bookselling too.
The British Book Awards judges also lauded Moon Lane’s care of its staff throughout the pandemic, and its partnerships with other businesses and reading agencies. “It’s an embarrassment of riches… there’s energy and innovation in everything Moon Lane does,” they said. “It hasn’t just served its own communities during the lockdowns—it’s built whole new ones and found extra ways to keep the magic of children’s books alive. It’s simply amazing.” Judges also praised the remarkable resilience of all nine shops on the shortlist for this award. “These booksellers have had a traumatic year, and it’s incredible to find that they have emerged from it even stronger.”
The Book ShopLee-on-the-Solent, Hampshire
Griffin BooksPenarth, South Wales
The Little Ripon BookshopRipon, North Yorkshire
The Barrister in WonderlandRetford, England
Halfway up the StairsGreystones, Ireland
Drake the BookshopStockton, Durham
The Edinburgh BookshopEdinburgh, Scotland
Moon LaneRamsgate, Kent
Far From the Madding CrowdLinlithgow, Scotland
- The Book ShopLee-on-the-Solent, Hampshire
- Griffin BooksPenarth, South Wales
- The Little Ripon BookshopRipon, North Yorkshire
- The Barrister in WonderlandRetford, England
- Halfway up the StairsGreystones, Ireland
- Drake the BookshopStockton, Durham
- The Edinburgh BookshopEdinburgh, Scotland
- Moon LaneRamsgate, Kent
- Far From the Madding CrowdLinlithgow, Scotland