An Aberystwyth bookshop owner has thanked the public for nominating her business venture for an award.

Bookshop by the Sea has been shortlisted for The British Book Awards 2024 Independent Bookshop of the Year award.

Owner Freya Blyth said it means so much to be nominated for awards like these because “it shows the independent high street is alive and thriving and that people do want to support local and buy books”.

Two independent bookshops in Ceredigion have been chosen as finalists for the award. Gwisgo Ltd in Aberaeron joins Bookshop by the Sea, alongside fellow Welsh finalists The Bookshop Mold, Book-ish in Crickhowell and Cover to Cover in Swansea.

Bookshop by the Sea owner Freya Blyth
Bookshop by the Sea owner Freya Blyth (Picture supplied)

In the largest cohort yet, there are 77 independent bookshops listed across nine different regions and countries, including ten in London, North England, Scotland, South-East England and South-West England respectively, eight in East England and Midlands, six in Ireland and five in Wales.

The British Book Awards 2024 Independent Bookshop of the Year Award, sponsored by book wholesaler Gardners, celebrates stores that are at the centre of local communities, bringing passion and knowledge to the shop floor.

Tom Tivnan, The Bookseller managing editor, said: “One of the things that is driven home by the selection process for this award is how lucky book buyers in the UK and Ireland are as we are truly in an independent bookshop renaissance.

“This year’s cohort is one of the strongest I have seen in my 15 years judging this award.

“Indies have come out of the pandemic and into a cost-of-living and business rates crises, yet still through innovation and creativity thrive as never before. They are lynchpins for our high street, bringing jobs, footfall and communities together.

“You can’t really pin these indies down as they encompass general booksellers and those who sell into niches; or new shops which have bravely opened in the shadow of the pandemic to businesses that have literally been trading for centuries.

Gwisgo Bookworm Aberaeron
Gwisgo Bookworm in Aberaeron (British Book Awards)

“But if there is a through-line it is that their collective knowledge and passion shine through and prove once again how much better shop floor expertise is than an algorithm.”

The shops will vie to win their region first before contending for the overall prize, which will be announced when The British Book Awards ceremony returns to Grosvenor House London on Monday, 13 May. The overall Independent Bookshop of the Year winner will also be in the running to be crowned Book Retailer of the Year.

The Regional and Country Winners of the Independent Bookshop of the Year award will be announced on Tuesday, 12 March.

Hear more Freya in the video above.