Could this be the Bookshop of the Year?
A bookshop in Shropshire has been named one of the seven best independent bookshops in the UK and is now in the running to be crowned the Independent Bookshop of the Year 2014.
Booka Bookshop in Church Street, Oswestry, has been chosen as the best independent bookshop in the Midlands and Wales at the Bookseller Industry Awards.
The 13 judges whittled down the 24-strong shortlist from a field of more than 60 entries, with one winner coming from each region, and hailed the "extraordinary depth and calibre" of this year's entries.
The regional winners were praised by the judging committee for their "creativity, passion and for demonstrating the very best the sector has to offer".
Carrie Morris, who owns Booka with her husband Tim, said: "We are thrilled to have been named Midlands and Wales Independent Bookshop of the Year 2015 – for the second year running too.
"As one of 7 regional winners, we now go forward to make up the shortlist for the UK & Ireland Independent Bookshop of the Year, to be announced at The Bookseller Industry Awards in London in May – fingers crossed."
Customers are being asked to help Booka's bid to be the Independent Bookshop of the Year by tweeting their support. The finalists are judged on their place in the community and customer service along with many other factors, and customers are invited to tweet their comments and support with a hashtag to boost their favourite shop's chances of success for the top prize.
Mrs Morris said: "This would be a great coup for Oswestry, so we'd like to ask, if you are on Twitter and would like to support Booka's bid, to tweet about @BookaBookshop with the hashtag #bookabia15 The hashtag is important as it allows The Bookseller to collate all the support."
The category was open to independent bookshops and small chains with fewer than five branches. Booka took top spot in the Midlands and Wales region for the second year on the trot and was one of several repeat winners among the regional champions. The Gutter Bookshop, based in Dublin and Dalkey, won the Ireland award, and Chorleywood Bookshop took the South East prize, both taking their third regional triumphs in the past five years. The Edinburgh Bookshop is the Scotland winner for the second year in a row and is also the reigning Children's Bookseller of the Year.
First-time winners are The Hungerford Bookshop, Berkshire; Caxton Books & Gallery, Frinton-on-Sea, Essex; Regency Bookshop, Surbiton; and Storytellers, Inc, Lytham St Annes, Lancashire.
The overall winner of the Independent Bookshop of the Year 2015 will be revealed at The Bookseller Industry Awards on May 11. The winner will receive £5,000 to spend on their shop and will go on to contest the overall Book Retailer of the Year Award.
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