Wednesday, 18 May 2011

And the Award for The Independent Bookseller of the Year goes to... Mr B's Emporium of Reading Delights! Hooray!

Brimming with excitement and a little bleary-eyed, the Mr B's team have returned from the Book Industry Conference and Bookseller Industry Awards as the proud owners of the Independent Bookseller of the Year Award for 2011!

The very glitzy awards took place at the Park Lane Hilton in London and were hosted by Danny Wallace (of "Yes Man" fame). We, the B Team (minus Lucinda and Ed who were much missed but busy manning the fort) donned our finest black-tie gear in preparation for a night of eating, drinking, a wee bit of crazy dancing and of course lots of celebrating achievements across the industry.

In the embarrassingly short taxi ride from our hotel to the party we had all confessed we thought it was unlikely that we would win , owing to the fantastically high standard of the other Indie nominees in our category many of whom we'd been chatting with during the conference itself. In fact, we had our money resting on the gorgeous Gutter Bookshop in Dublin, Ireland, particularly with all their social media wizardry, so we were chuffed when they were given a Highly Commended certificate, along with our friends at The Mainstreet Trading Company. So imagine our uncontrollable glee when the lovely Joanna Trollope called out our names! A great big thanks goes out to Gardners Books, who sponsored the award and presented us with a very generous cheque, which we have mentally spent several times over already!
The judges generously pointed to our "compelling blend of modern and traditional bookselling" in their commendations as well as the "palpable passion of the staff". That's lovely of them to say but none of that stuff would be true if it wasn't for our wonderful customers - many of whom we know are every bit as book obsessed as us.

The "traditional bookselling" and "palpable passions" bits are a nod to our hopefully excellent customer service as well as to the way that we bombard you all with recommendations and wax on about our favourite books - if you didn't sometimes trust us with those recommendations and enjoy talking books with us then that certainly wouldn't be award-worthy. The "modern bookselling" is a reference to things like our reading spas and reading years and our themed literary evenings and again neither of those would warrant a gong if it weren't that our customers (a) bought or attended them and (b) told us how much they loved them. So thanks for almost 5 years of loyal book indulgence at Mr B's!

You can read a bit more about the awards on this blog -, thanks to which we'll be bigging up the grand work of indie booksellers everywhere on the BBC soon. Watch this space!


Nellie said...

Congratulations to the whole team! Thats wonderful news! Despite not being local, when I need a book fix I will drive a round trip of 200 miles to come and visit Mr Bs because it is the best bookshop there is!

Hoping to see you all soon!

Alan Summers said...

Congratulations! ;-)

The problem with the big chains is that they have become impersonal, and not well informed.

When Borders opened up in Bristol I was very excited as Borders in the USA were known to hold various poetry events, including haiku events.

It took me two physical days to order a book from them when they first opened!

I had to give up ordering books from Borders, and also had a similar bizarre incident with Blackwells in Bristol, where they sent a courier with two copies.

As I wasn't charged for the second identical book, I took it physically back to the branch.

It took ages to do, and nowadays I haven't the time.

I've never ordered books from Waterstones.

It's far easier to order a book from an independent bookstore, they are far more efficient and interested.

I'm constantly recommending Mr B's regarding book orders, and as an amazing experience.

I have never bought a book from Tescos or the other supermarkets, as I know we need our indies as they are the only ones who respect their readers.

When my Washington State haiku friend and colleague wanted to visit Britain again, with her son for the first time, guess what place was a must see?

Mr B's!

We spent a lovely time upstairs, and only vacated when the special personal buying experience was happening for someone as a present.

I said how much I envied her, and to enjoy every moment. She was even more thrilled to have this special Spa service that Mr B's provides.

By the way, I noticed that Waterstones on Milsom Street is now copying us by having a separate haiku poetry section.

Guess what?

Half the books are nonsense, and nothing to do with haiku, just using the name to flog more books.

Nic and myself worked hard to achieve a balanced selection of haiku books based on quality and revelancy, and a reader's budget.

A chain store cannot do this, and that's partly the problem with Borders.

Chains do not listen to customers quick enough.

Chains are tiring to visit, while indies like Mr B's are invigorating.

No contest really. ;-)

Alan, With Words