Congratulations to The Book Hive in Norwich, which has just been voted the best independent bookseller in Britain by The Daily Telegraph.
More then 18,000 people voted in the competition, which suggest that a lot of people are still very enthusiastic about their local bookshops, and are happy to support them. With the chains in worse and worse shape, the independents are likely to have an even more important role in selling books.
But what makes a great bookshop, I wonder.
I think selection and organisation are the key to it.
The big difference between a bookshop and buying books online or just grabbing something from the limited selection in the supermarket is that you come across things by accident. You are looking at one kind of book, and then see another that grabs your interest.
Not many shops are good at it. For example, my books are often classed with crime and thrillers, and although they are sort of thrillers, they really have nothing to do with the crime genre, and are not going to appeal to the people browsing in that section of the shop. It would actually make more sense to place them alongside the real-life military stories. Or possibly next to the history section.
Not many bookshops make those kind of creative decisions.
But the few that do will certainly survive and flourish.