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Crickhowell’s Book-ish “makes its voice heard nationally”

Crickhowell’s Book-ish has been announced as the overall winner of the Independent Bookshop of the Year Award at The British Book Awards 2024 ceremony at a buzzing Grosvenor House London on Monday, 13th May.

This is the second time Book-ish has won the prestigious award, having previously won the 2020 Independent Bookshop of the Year Award, sponsored by Gardners. This year, the shop fought off strong competition from eight other regional and country winners, selected from a bumper list of 77 finalists from across the UK and Ireland.

The Welsh bookshop has had an extraordinary year, with a successful crowdfunder enabling them to open a second shop in the nearby town, Abergavenny. Thanks to the team’s creative and innovative bookselling, including a focus on wide-ranging and entertaining in-store, festival and school events, sales have continued to grow in the face of a cost-of-living crisis.

Following on from Griffin Books’s victory last year, Book-ish’s success means a Welsh bookshop has been declared the best in the UK and Ireland for two years in a row.

Tom Tivnan, The Bookseller managing editor and chair of the Independent Bookshop of the Year judges, said: “Book-ish won this award – against incredibly stiff competition – due to a blend of the shop floor and the strategic. On the shop floor, Book-ish ticks every box you can think of: wonderful knowledgeable staff, a gorgeous premises, expertly curated books range, a welcoming and inclusive space, a standout events stream that runs the gamut from book and hobby clubs to talks with superstar authors. On the strategic it goes outside the box with clever partnerships with publishers and festivals, link-ups with schools and libraries,

and an expansion to a new site, aided by an innovative crowdfunding campaign. And there is its savvy online and social media presence which it uses to champion books and literacy to an ever-growing audience. As well as serving Crickhowell and Abergavenny, there is a feeling that Book-ish is not just a bookseller for those communities, but one of those rarest of entities: a local bookshop that can make its voice heard nationally.

Nigel Wyman, Sales and Marketing Director at Gardners, said: “For the 15th consecutive year, Gardners is honoured to sponsor the Independent Bookshop of the Year award, acknowledging the invaluable contributions of independent booksellers nationwide. We’re delighted to offer a cash prize as a testament to our ongoing support for indie booksellers and would like to congratulate Book-ish for winning this esteemed award for the second time. We trust that they will be delighted with this and hope that the £5,000 can further enhance their offerings to customers.”

The Independent Bookshop of the Year Award celebrates those bookshops that use innovative and imaginative book-selling to beat algorithms and serve local communities through people-centred initiatives.

The British Book Awards affirm, connect and energise all who have a hand in creating books and all who read them, by showcasing the authors and illustrators who have stirred our hearts and imaginations, and the industry behind the scenes who have brought them to readers.