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Darling Reads and Maldon Books

Congratulations to Darling Reads & Maldon Books!

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! 


"We're absolutely over the moon to have won this award from National Book Tokens. We've worked really hard over the past few months to establish ourselves in our local community and, despite everything, continue to supply our wonderful customers with books. This feels like real validation of that, and the team at National Book Tokens (and the Booksellers Association) have been so supportive and helpful while we have been finding our feet in this industry." – Asher Woolford and Laura Iveson from Darling Reads






"We're over the moon to be sharing this award with Darling Reads. Opening a bookshop in such a difficult and uncertain year has had its challenges, but our customers and the local community have continually kept us going, and for that we will always be grateful. The support we have received has been phenomenal, and we're so thankful to everyone who has shown us such kindness from the very beginning and throughout the ups and downs of 2020. National Book Tokens are such a wonderful gift for book lovers, and it's been a pleasure to help our customers choose a book to purchase with theirs. We can't wait to see them and open our doors again." – Olivia Rosenthall, owner of Maldon Books

Last year's winner


National Book Tokens Newcomer of the Year 2020

The Portobello Bookshop

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


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