Northumberland bookshop named best in northern England

The sister store of The Accidental Bookshop in Alnwick has won a regional award.

Wednesday, 16th March 2022, 2:31 pm
Bookstore owner Helen Stanton.
Bookstore owner Helen Stanton.

Forum Books in Corbridge was named best independent bookshop in northern England at the 2022 British Book Awards.

It is run by Helen Stanton who expanded last year to open stores in Whitley Bay and on Alnwick’s Narrowgate.

The Independent Bookshop of the Year Award celebrates nine inspiring bookshops, selected from a list of 63 finalists, which have continued to support their local communities during these turbulent times with their insider knowledge, inclusivity, digital innovations, adapted events, and, of course, books.

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Tom Tivnan, The Booksellers Association’s managing editor, said: “This was undoubtedly the most competitive year we have ever had for Independent Bookshop of the Year, and these nine shops should feel justly proud for claiming their regional and country crowns when their fellow indies have also been flourishing.

“Although there are different models here, from long-time family-run shops to a community-run not-for-profit, the common thread is constant innovation and unwavering support for local communities.

“It may be counter-intuitive to say, but we just may be in the golden age of independent bookselling.

"The last 10 or 15 years have been the most testing of times for indies as they have battled against online competition, supermarket deep discounting, rising business rates and, of course recently, a global pandemic. But they have met the challenges; indies are thriving and the number of shops is rising.

"Perhaps it is because they combine the old with the new: that almost unique insider knowledge and deep love of books which they can impart to readers, along with a digital savviness as indies use everything from crowdfunding to TikTok to reach customers and improve their businesses.”

The Forum is a four-time winner of the regional award.

The nine regional and country winners are now in contention for the overall Independent Bookshop of the Year Award, announced at the British Book Awards winner ceremony to be held at Grosvenor House in London on May 23.

The overall Independent Bookshop of the Year winner will also compete to be crowned Book Retailer of the Year.

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