The winner of Vintage's Independent Bookseller of the Year award is James Routledge from Forum Books and Kids in Corbridge, Northumberland.
Helen Stickland from Winstone’s Bookshop, Sherborne, and Gayle Lazda of the London Review Bookshop have been named as runners-up.
Vintage previously ran an award for Independent Bookshop of the Year and 2018 is the first year the award has recognised an individual bookseller.
The award asked that nominees demonstrate “outstanding skills” in areas such as bookselling – particularly hand-selling and recommending , “championing specific books or authors”, bringing books to new audiences , serving the local community, displaying creative flair through displays, author events, or marketing.
The judges were Richard Cable, Vintage m.d., the company’s deputy m.d. Faye Brewster, Vintage publisher Rachel Cugnoni Publisher and Alan Staton of the Booksellers’ Association.
Cable said: “Independents are enormously important to Vintage and we were delighted to receive so many and such brilliant nominations for the Vintage Independent Bookseller of the Year. Entries came from all around the country, with booksellers of all levels of experience.
“What united them was a passion, creativity, and willingness to go above and beyond to help connect readers with authors’ work. The calibre was incredibly high, but our winner and runners up stood out for their community spirit, their belief in books and an unrelenting energy which makes them masters of displays, events and social media and champions of books, writers and readers.’
On Routeledge, he said: “From spearheading Forum Books’ social media accounts and managing events from start to finish, to setting up a writing group and running story time sessions for children, James’s boundless energy, his way with customers and authors, and his unique combination of practical and creative skills stood out among all the nominations.”
Staton said: “It’s wonderful to see some of our amazing shop-floor booksellers – those bookshop heroes who are the backbone of British bookselling – being recognised and rewarded in this way.”
Routledge receives a cheque for £1,000 and Lazda and Stickland will each receive £150. In addition, all three will receive a tailored book recommendation each month for the coming year and an extra 5% discount on all Vintage titles for their shop for the first six months of 2019.
The winners will be invited to spend a day at Vintage’s offices as their guest of honour. They will be presented with their cheques, and will meet members of the team, attend meetings and a lunch.