I salute the Independent Bookshop

The Bookseller magazine has opened entries for its 2011 Independent Bookseller of the Year award. The winner will be revealed at The Bookseller Industry Awards, which will take place on the 16th May at the Hilton Park Lane. The best independent will receive a £5,000 cash prize from wholesaler and distributor Gardners Books.

The prize recognises the devotion, hard work and innovation that go into running a local bookshop, and it is tough. My local independent bookshop works extremely hard and I was delighted to work with them last year on our unique Crime and the City, CSI Portsmouth event.

Colin and Marie Telford owners of the Hayling Island Bookshop

Bookshops have to put themselves forward for this award, so I am hoping that the Hayling Island Bookshop go for it.  Last year's winner was One Tree Books of Petersfield, Hampshire, again another great independent bookshop in my area. I've also worked with other excellent independent bookshops across the UK in Richmond (Yorkshire), Romsey, Cornwall and elsewhere.

Bob Jackson, commercial director of Gardners Books, said: "2011 is Gardners 25th year of supporting independent booksellers as an independent, family owned and run company, and we are delighted to be able to provide a practical £5,000 cash prize towards the winning Bookseller to invest in their business."

The deadline for entries is 31st January.

I wonder what will happen to bookshops on the high street and in our towns and villages with the news that Waterstone's is to close twenty stores across the UK and British Book Shops has just gone into Administration.  In the US the picture is similar with several independent bookshops closing and Borders in the US also in difficulties. Are they a thing of the past, or will some survive, evolve and grow? Of course many people now purchase their books on the Internet but that isn't suitable for everyone. Not everyone has access to the Internet or can use it. There's nothing like browsing through a book shop, both new and second hand ones.  And this comes at a time when our libraries are under great threat, but I'll blog about that another time. For now I salute our independent bookshops and wish them luck.


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