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Darling Reads in West Yorkshire and Maldon Books in Essex have been announced as the joint winners of the National Book Tokens Newcomer of the Year 2021, now in its second year. This award is given to new bookshops based on how they've welcomed National Book Tokens customers – whether those choosing new books to buy with their National Book Tokens or those looking to buy National Book Tokens for their favourite readers – to their bookshop during their first year of trading.
Darling Reads opened its doors in July 2020, and Maldon Books in December 2019. After an incredibly tough year, the number of people opening new bookshops has increased, which speaks volumes about their appeal and importance to the book industry and the local high street. This year we found it impossible to pick just one winner. Even for established bookshops, just being open last year was a challenge. For a new business to find new customers and establish itself in the heart of its community in 2020 is an incredible feat.
The bookshops have each won a hamper to share among their teams and a trophy – congratulations!
The Portobello Bookshop is located in a seaside suburb of Edinburgh and opened in July 2019. The bookshop won the inaugural National Book Tokens Newcomer of the Year award.
"We're really thrilled to have won this award from National Book Tokens. As a new bookshop we couldn't be happier with the response we've had from our local community, and from the industry in general, and this award is really encouraging. We've been extremely pleased to see so many readers visiting the shop to spend [National Book Tokens] they received for Christmas." – Jack Clark, founder of The Portobello Bookshop