Published: 12:58, 14 May 2021
| Updated: 13:06, 14 May 2021
Sevenoaks Bookshop has been honoured as the best independent bookseller in the whole of the UK and Ireland.
The shop in Sevenoaks High Street has demonstrated its adaptability during the pandemic by selling online for the first time and delivering 9,000 books by post to readers as a result.
Despite the economic threats caused by the coronavirus crisis, owner Fleur Sinclair even decided to expand the store - which employees 10 full and part-time staff - into a vacant unit next door in September.
Now, after being named the best independent bookshop in south east of England at the 2021 British Book Awards, it has scooped the top prize.
Reacting to the latest win, Ms Sinclair said: "For our whole team, the award and recognition of all the immense hard work over the past year is the most incredible magical boost.
"The expansion is a dream, really - I still can’t quite believe we pulled that one off. But nothing could've been achieved without the support of our amazing customers, and the encouragement, comradeship, advice and solidarity from all our fellow independent bookshop friends and the Booksellers Association - we owe you all a huge debt of gratitude."
Established in 1990, the British Book Awards - informally known as the Nibbies - is the leading awards for the book trade and is run by trade publication The Bookseller.
Children’s specialist Moon Lane, which has a base in Ramsgate, has been named the 2021 Book Retailer of the Year
Tom Tivnan, The Bookseller’s managing editor, said: "The past year was obviously one of the most difficult periods for the British book trade in decades.
"All the more impressive, then, was the ingenuity with which all of the shortlistees dealt with the challenges of the pandemic.
"Both the impressive independent bookshop winner Sevenoaks and Moon Lane with its historic children’s bookseller and retailer of the year double award prove that serving local communities lies at the heart of all great bookselling."