THE British Book Awards have announced a Penarth bookstore as the winner of the Welsh Independent Bookshop of the Year award.
In Wales, the Independent Bookshop of the Year goes to Penarth’s Griffin Books—who hit national news praised for their flexible approach during lockdowns including remote working.
Griffin Books of Penarth, opened in 2014. The judges praised owner Mel Griffin and her team’s adaptability, with its flexible approach during lockdowns including remote working, diversifying its distribution when book supply became difficult and, during the Welsh October firebreak, negotiating with a neighbouring essential shop to become a collection point in order to maintain its high street presence.
Owner, Mel Griffin said: “It really does mean the world to the whole team for our small shop to be recognised in this way.
“We’ve been overwhelmed by the support and kind words we’ve received from the local community over the last year and we can’t thank everyone enough.”
The British Book Awards or Nibbies has been the leading awards for the book trade since 1990.
Celebrating the best books, the best bookshops and the best publishers it is supported by all major industry associations including The Publishers Association, The Booksellers Association and the Independent Publishers Guild. Judged by leading industry experts it is regarded as ‘the BAFTAs of the book trade’.
Tom Tivnan, The Bookseller’s managing editor and chair of the Independent Bookshop of the Year judging panel, said: “This was certainly the most difficult year of judging this award in Nibbies history and not because the pandemic was a body blow to indies.
“Far from it, though booksellers obviously would not have chosen the conditions of 2020, we were inundated with some of the strongest submissions we have ever seen.
“Across Britain and Ireland indie booksellers not just survived but thrived in the past year—dealing with the various lockdowns by nimbly pivoting their business models with creativity and flair.
“The most interesting thing was that while many of the shops moved to being online booksellers during lockdown periods, they did so while maintaining their identity, their support for their core customers and their links to local communities, perhaps proving that bookseller know-how and expertise will beat an algorithm any day.”
The Nibbies virtual ceremony will be held on 13th May. The winner of the Independent Bookshop of the Year will also be put into the Book Retailer of the Year Nibbie, competing against high street chains, supermarkets and online booksellers.