Bookshop.org, the online bookstore on a mission to support independent bookshops, is today announcing the shortlist for this year’s Indie Champions Awards, honouring individuals and organisations that have supported independent bookshops the most using Bookshop.org in 2023.
Unveiled on the day of Bookshop.org’s third anniversary, the awards shine a light on authors, publishers, podcasts, literary awards, festivals and more that have taken concrete steps to financially support independent bookshops through Bookshop.org, as well as using the platform in new, creative ways.
New to this year, the Indie Champions Awards include a Content Creator category, spotlighting social media influencers that have linked to Bookshop.org, shared their love and support for the indies and created captivating book lists on the website.
Spanning eleven categories in total, the shortlists for the Author, Publisher and Organisation categories are announced today, with expanded shortlists to include up to six nominees. Winners across all categories, including the data-driven Indie Champion Title of the Year and Indie Champion List of the Year (the title and list that generated the most money for indies in 2023 respectively), will be unveiled virtually on Tuesday 23 January 2024.
Including Fiction, Non-Fiction, Children’s and Lifestyle & Culture, this category honours authors who have taken active steps to support indies through Bookshop.org this year, combining efforts made by the authors themselves and sale volumes generated for the indies as a result.
Notable author efforts include sharing and promoting the platform’s mission; linking to Bookshop.org when sharing book links; providing additional or exclusive content in the form of a list, author letter or video; and more.
- Frank Cottrell-Boyce, author of The Wonder Brothers
- Natasha Farrant, author of The Rescue of Ravenwood
- Tim Harford, author of The Truth Detective
- Katherine Rundell, author of Impossible Creatures
- Sathnam Sanghera, author of Stolen History
- Louie Stowell, author of Loki: A Bad God’s Guide to Being Good
- Lifestyle and Culture
In this category, Bookshop.org recognises publishers and publishing divisions who have done the most to support independent bookshops through Bookshop.org. Both categories of Overall Publisher and Publisher Professional of the Year reward a combination of efforts made by the publishers themselves, and the resulting funds generated for the indies.
Publishers have been shortlisted for their efforts to include consistent online linking to indies; tagging or linking to Bookshop.org as part of their digital marketing activities; regular collaboration to develop creative campaigns, including access to authors, exclusive content and competitions.
Notable efforts from publisher professionals include bringing a distinct offer to Bookshop.org within wider marketing activities; first-class support covering sales, marketing and publicity; coming up with new ideas to make the most of Bookshop.org; championing the platform with their colleagues publishing house; and helping Bookshop.org reach new audiences.
- Overall Publisher
- Publisher Professional of the Year
- Sasha Cox, Head of UK Sales at Canongate
- Richard Green, Independent Bookshop and Wholesaler Manager at Pan Macmillan
- Raynell Macdonald, Marketing Manager at Thames & Hudson
- Julian Mash, UK Sales Head of Special Interest at Bloomsbury
- Alison Pearce, Key Account Manager at Penguin Random House
- Eleanor Slater, Trade Marketing Manager at HarperCollins
This shortlist honours the podcasts that have the most to support independent bookshops through Bookshop.org. Notable efforts include: creating regular Bookshop.org lists with the books mentioned in each of their episodes; using Bookshop.org links on their website and social media; and mentioning Bookshop.org on-air.
INNOVATIVE USE OF BOOKSHOP.ORG
This category awards the organisations, prizes, platforms and festivals who have used Bookshop.org in the most innovative way this year, with their efforts contributing to Bookshop.org’s mission to support independent bookshops. Commendable efforts include the publishing of a book not available through Amazon; imaginative content creation with author lists; media partnerships including TikTok; consistent use of Bookshop.org’s links.
NEW CATEGORY – CONTENT CREATOR
New to 2023, the Content Creator category recognises incredible content creators that have been incorporating Bookshop.org in their own social media content, whether using affiliate links, encouraging their followers to use Bookshop.org, partnering for special offers and campaigns, creating captivating lists on their shopfronts and more.
- Amina, aminasbookshelf (Instagram)
- Eric Karl Anderson, The Lonesome Reader, EricKarlAnderson (YouTube)
- Fran, FranMcBookFace (X)
- Jenn Li, bookmarkonthewall (Instagram)
- Jules Swain, The Reading Paramedic, thereadingpara(X)
- Nicci, The Kids Books Curator,kids.books.curator (Instagram)
- Nicola Bowman, nic_thebookworm (Instagram)
- Sarah and Lou, whatsarahandlouread (Instagram)
- Scott Evans, The Reader Teacher, MrEPrimary (X)
In addition to authors, publishers, publishing professionals, podcasts, festivals, organisations and content creators, the Indie Champions Awards will also recognise the single title that generated the highest sales volumes for independent bookshops in 2023 – the Indie Champion Title of the Year.
The final category awards the list that has cumulatively generated the most money – the Indie Champion List of the Year. For these two categories, the winners will be chosen purely based on sales figures, with data collected until 31st December 2023.
Natalie Hayes said: “My first job was in an indie bookshop in Birmingham when I was sixteen, so perhaps that’s why walking into one now always makes me feel like I’ve come home. I am thrilled to be shortlisted as a champion of indies; there isn’t much I’d be prouder to be. I have loved speaking for you and signing for you over the past few years: I couldn’t have done all this without your support and enthusiasm. Thank you so much for the shortlisting!”
Chris van Tulleken said: “I am delighted to have been nominated by Bookshop.org for this award. Independent booksellers are such an important part of the high-street ecosystem, as are independent and local food sellers, who play a big role in providing food that is not ultra-processed. I’m so pleased that readers are buying my book from indie shops and am grateful to Bookshop.org for supporting these bookshops around the country.”
Frank Cottrell-Boyce said: “I could not be more thrilled than to be nominated for this award. Independent bookshops are MY people!! I’ve watched in wonder at the myriad brilliantly creative ways they have of getting books into the right hands – from school visits, to reading groups and special events. They are the angels dropping the manna from heaven onto the parched land!”
Alice Vincent said: “As a reader I adore independent bookshops and as a writer I so value the difference they can make to a book. I so appreciate all the support booksellers have shown Why Women Grow and it means a great deal that the book has been shortlisted for the Indie Champions Awards!”
Natania Jansz and Mark Ellingham, Founders of Sort of Books, said: “I can’t stress enough the importance of independent bookshops to small indie publishers such as us – as cheerleaders, bellwethers and staunch allies of our most significant titles, and an endless source of inspiration about how to present them. Bookshop.org’s championing of these shops helps us all. Our authors, from Shehan Karunatilaka in Sri Lanka to Lore Segal on the Upper Westside of NYC, have relished participating in Bookshop.org’s Zoom events and sharing their literary enthusiasms via curated lists. Next year we celebrate 25 years of indie publishing and have Indie Bookshops to thank every step of the way.
Nigel Newton, Managing Director of Bloomsbury, said: “Bloomsbury has been delighted to work so closely with Jasper and the team on activity across multiple Bloomsbury titles. It’s wonderful to see how highly engaged their audience is, and their ability to talk directly to these readers about key titles, with bespoke author content, then allowing them to click to buy from independent stores, is fantastic. Katherine Rundell’s Impossible Creatures was Book of the Month in September and has seen huge uptake amongst indies, likewise it has been great to see Louise Kennedy’s Trespassers so embraced and supported by Bookshop.org, using their marketing channels to help make both our top selling titles through Bookshop.org and indies in 2023.
Particular successes for us have come through their newsletter and continued onsite promotion of You Don’t Know What War Is by Yeva Skalietska and Central Park West by James Comey. A good example of their ability to develop a more targeted reach is for Victoria MacKenzie’s Thy Great Pain Have Mercy On My Little Pain in conjunction with The Lighthouse Bookshop in Edinburgh. We are thrilled to be shortlisted for five awards and it is brilliant to see the organisation flourishing and the positive impact they are making on the publishing industry.”
Sasha Cox from Canongate said: “I am completely thrilled to be shortlisted in the Publisher Professional category of Bookshop.org’s Indie Champions Awards. Working with the team there and seeing the passion and creativity they tirelessly put into celebrating and supporting brilliant independent bookshops up and down the country is such a joy, and truly one of the highlights of my job. Independent bookshops and those who work in them are the real champions, serving communities and providing safe spaces for people to discover and explore new worlds, so to be considered for this award is an honour.”
Octavia Bright and Carrie Plitt, Founders of the Literary Friction Podcast, said: “We are totally delighted to be nominated for the Indie Champions Awards – independent bookshops mean the world to us, not only as places to buy and discover brilliant books and speak to knowledgeable and passionate booksellers, but also as community and event spaces.”
BooksforTopics said: “What an absolute joy it is to be shortlisted for the Indie Champions Awards! At BooksForTopics, we are passionate about highlighting children’s books that will captivate readers and making sure those books reach children’s hands. We know that we share this mission with the incredible host of independent booksellers up and down the country, who work tirelessly to connect books and readers in the community. It is a pleasure to champion Bookshop.org on our booklists and to work together to spread the magic of reading.”
Nicci, The Kids Books Curator, said: “There’s no organisation more complimentary to my mission. Before starting my own brand, I was Creative Director and a bookseller for the multi-award Moon Lane Group, and during this time absolutely jumped at the chance to work with Bookshop.org as soon as they publicly announced the UK-side business. The invaluable work that Bookshop.org does to support and champion bricks and mortar bookshops around the UK is not to be underestimated – even to the extent that if a bookshop registers themselves on the site, they earn an annual commission from ‘the pot’ even if they have a singular static book list on there! Whilst I’m linking to Bookshop.org from my social media at every possible opportunity (reels, book reviews, book post, personal recommendations, blog tours and more), curating specialist children’s book lists, and hence supporting indie bookshops through my sales thanks to my followers and subscribers, I also know that I am partnering with an organisation who see me, my brand and recognise and respect my passion, heart and soul for my mission. Thank you so much for shortlisting me for the Content Creator category. It means more than you can possibly imagine.”
Scott Evans, The Reader Teacher, said: “Being shortlisted for the Indie Champions Awards is an absolute highlight of my year! Together with libraries, independent bookshops are central to our communities, nurturing a deep love for reading and celebrating diverse voices. This nomination only strengthens my support and commitment to championing their crucial role in both the world of books and our wider society.”
Jules Swain, The Reading Paramedic, said: “I’m so honoured to have been shortlisted for the Content Creator category of Bookshop.org’s Indie Champions Awards. I never dreamed that my book reviewing journey would ever lead to something like this. Supporting independent authors, publishers and bookshops is a huge passion of mine. I’m overwhelmed – thank you!”
Nicole Vanderbilt, Managing Director of Bookshop.org UK, said: “What a joy it is to shout about the individuals and organisations that have championed independent booksellers the most this year. For our team, it’s empowering to know that a lot of people share our passion for independent bookshops, and our mission to support them and ensure they thrive as a key component of the publishing ecosystem. We’re especially excited to launch our new Content Creator category this year, cementing our increased work with social media platforms and influencers and acknowledging their potential to expand the reach of indie bookshops even further. Huge congratulations to all the shortlistees, and we hope the brilliant work of the Indie Champions inspired even more people to become champions of independent bookshops themselves!”
Follow #IndieChampions for the latest developments on social media.
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