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Five Leaves Shortlisted for Independent Bookshop of the Year

1 March 17 words: James Walker

Five Leaves Bookshop, Nottingham's radical and independent seller of paged goods, is on the shortlist for the regional round of the UK and Ireland Independent Bookshop of the Year Award, for the second year running. Gerrin.

In November 2013, Ross Bradshaw decided to do something radical; he opened up a bookshop when we were all being told that print media was dead. The opening of the shop coincided with some pretty alarming statistics: Independent bookshops had dropped to below 1,000; libraries were seeing hours cut back, and according to various literacy trusts; our teenagers were bored of books. At the time, it was the first bookshop to open in any city centre this century.

Since then, Nottingham has become a UNESCO City of Literature, and Five Leaves has established itself as a hub of intellectual debate thanks to some thoughtful events. Talks over the next fortnight include a book reading from one of the publishers of Noir Press, who publish Lithuanian fiction, rescuing refugees, a celebration of the work of Derrick Buttress, and Irish Republican women. This is all neatly rounded off with the annual States of Independence festival, now in its eighth year.  

The regional shortlist covers bookshops from the Midlands and Wales group of the Booksellers Association, which will be trimmed to a national shortlist on 15 March with the final winner being announced on 8 May as part of a range of bookselling and publishing awards. The overall winner will be receive £5,000 towards their business.

Five Leaves is the only shortlisted bookshop from the East Midlands this year. Ross said "We are really pleased to be shortlisted again. Five Leaves is a destination bookshop rather than a shop aimed at the high street. Our strongest areas are probably politics and poetry. We also run many events – 63 last year plus an all day event in Leicester, and run bookstalls as far apart as Wakefield and London. Many of our events are in conjunction with local community groups.

People have been predicting the death of the book for years, but they seem to be having a bit of a revival as of late. Sales of printed books rose for the first time last year in four years, while ebook sales fell by 1.6% in 2015. This trend is happening across the arts. Vinyl records, another art form supposedly doomed with the advent of digital technology, outsold digital downloads last year for the first time in yonks. Digital offers ease and convenience as well as infinite duplications of content. But records, and books, have an aura, a magic about them. Tangible reality is not quite over yet.

Regional winners will be announced at the London Book Fair on Wednesday 15 March

British Book Awards are held at The Grosvenor House Hotel in London on Monday 8 May

More information on The Book Seller website


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