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British Book Awards title hope for Ullapool Bookshop

By Philip Murray

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Manager Katharine Douglas outside Ullapool Bookshop.
Manager Katharine Douglas outside Ullapool Bookshop.

A top Scottish award could be winging its way to Wester Ross after Ullapool Bookshop was named as one of the finalists for the title of Scottish Independent Bookshop of the Year

It is one of three Highland bookshops among the 10 finalists in the running for the title as part of this year's British Book Awards.

The other Highland hopefuls are The Bookmark in Grantown-on-Spey and Highland Bookshop Ltd in Fort William.

Organised by The Bookseller, the British Book Awards aka ‘the Nibbies’ have been the leading awards for the book trade since 1990, and are regarded as ‘the BAFTAs of the book trade’.

Tom Tivnan, The Bookseller managing editor, said: “One of the things that is driven home by the selection process for this award is how lucky book buyers in the UK and Ireland are as we are truly in an independent bookshop renaissance.

"This year’s cohort is one of the strongest I have seen in my 15 years judging this award. Indies have come out of the pandemic and into a cost-of-living and business rates crises, yet still through innovation and creativity thrive as never before. They are lynchpins for our high street, bringing jobs, footfall and communities together. You can’t really pin these indies down as they are thriving.

"The year’s list is a tough one again with every entry being a worthy winner. We’d like to wish them all the very best of luck and can’t wait to be part of this journey with them.”

For Ullapool Bookshop manager Katharine Douglas, the position on the shortlist caps a fine period for the Ullapool business, which is projecting a seven to 10 per cent increase in turnover this financial year compared to the same 12 months from 2022-23.

"We have been able to grow our income stream from various sources, such as increased our income from our own website by five per cent year-on-year (www.ullapoolbookshop.co.uk), through the medium of Bookshop.org where our list of UB Bookseller’s picks of 2023 was featured on their home page, therefore increasing our sales for a three-week period before Christmas."

She added: "We are extremely grateful to the support of The Booksellers Association and also to Gardners Books, Booksource and other vital distributors, whose excellent service make much of this possible."

The bookshops up for the Scottish title will compete to win their region first, which will be announced on Tuesday, March 12, before contending for the overall prize, announced at The British Book Awards winner ceremony on Monday, May 13.

The 2024 Scotland finalists for The British Book Awards 2024 Independent Bookshop of the Year are:

The Edinburgh Bookshop – Edinburgh

  • Typewronger Books – Edinburgh
  • Atkinson-Pryce Books – Biggar
  • Far From the Madding Crowd – Linlithgow
  • The Book Nook Stewarton Ltd – Kilmarnock
  • The Bookmark – Grantown on Spey
  • Ullapool Bookshop – Ullapool
  • Night Owl Books – East Linton
  • Heron & Willow – Jedburgh

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