The Bookseller Industry Awards’ seven regional independent bookshop winners have been hailed for their “innovation, passion and expertise”.
A team of judges whittled down 38 shortlisted indies for the Gardners-sponsored award to just seven after an “extremely difficult” decision-making process.
In Ireland, The Bookseller Industry Award regional winner is The Blessington Bookshop in County Wicklow—a shop-come-café which judges said had “an exciting book and non-book range matched by online and social media engagement and digital experimentation”.
The judges were also impressed by Dublin’s The Gutter Bookshop, which they praised for its “amazing amount of passion and energy” and also for opening a second store in Dalkey, which they highly commended.
The Edinburgh Bookshop has taken the regional crown for Scotland, with owner Marie Moser praised for ramping up the shop’s community engagement which has led to a “huge spike” in sales over the 18 months she has been in charge of the shop.
The North sees The White Rose Bookcafe in Thirsk throw its hat into the ring for the overall prize, having revamped its premises in 2013 and added a new stream of events including cabaret evenings.
Booka Bookshop in Oswestry has won the title for the Midlands and Wales. The shop was hailed for being “quite simply a model of a modern bookshop: beautiful physical space, well-thought-out branding in-store and online; a transactional website for its gift range, a thriving community hub, and clever, regular events such as the ‘book and a beer’ book club.” In what was described as one of the toughest regions to judge, Rossiter Books was highly commended for its razor-sharp operational excellence and robust events programme.
The South-east and East regional crown went to Chorleywood Bookshop. Described as “a beautiful if small shop with one of the highest book stock turns in the country”, the store has a “second to none” outside events schedule and has recently conducted a top-to-bottom review of the business, leading to new core stock lists, fewer returns and increased sales.
Dulwich Books has won in the London regional category, with owner Sheila O’Reilly praised for engaging with the local community and “bursting outside the space of its shop with close links to the Dulwich Picture Gallery, Southwark Libraries and local schools and colleges.”
Winstone’s bookshop in Sherborne has taken the top spot for South-West. Judges said Wayne Winstone’s team runs the outlet with “the passion and flair of an indie, with the disciplined commercial nous of a chain”.
The Book Shop, Liskeard was highly commended for its recent refit—and accompanying surge in sales—its creative windows and displays and a customer service that is second to none.
Tom Tivnan, The Bookseller features and insight editor, who led the judging team, said: “There has been a lot of news about the challenges that indies are facing recently. But as judges, we were greatly impressed by the depth of bookselling talent we had to choose from. The decisions were extremely difficult, but given the level of innovation, passion and expertise that were on display from all our shortlisted shops, I think I can say without fear of contradiction that indie bookselling has a very strong future.”
The overall winner of the Independent Bookshop of the Year 2014 will be revealed at The Bookseller Industry Awards on 12th May. Gardners will award the winner with £5,000 to spend on their shop.
The full list of winners:
The Blessington Bookshop
The Edinburgh Bookshop
White Rose Bookcafe
MIDLANDS & WALES
SOUTH-EAST & EAST