U.S. Book Show to Host Ceremony Naming 2021 Bookstore of the Year and Sales Rep of the Year

Annual Awards Cap an Uncertain Year for Booksellers and Sales Reps

NEW YORK—March 31, 2021—The U.S. Book Show, the new virtual book fair launched by Publishers Weekly, will host the annual ceremony naming the Publishers Weekly Bookstore of the Year and Sales Representative of the Year awards for 2021. Jim Milliot, editorial director of Publishers Weekly, will announce the winners at the live-streaming event.

“The 2021 shortlist of bookstores and sales representatives represent the very best of the bookselling industry,” said Milliot. “These awards are all the more important following an extremely difficult year for independent stores caused by the pandemic. The way booksellers were able to adopt their business models was an impressive accomplishment and highlighted the importance of bookstores to the publishing ecosystem.”

If booksellers struggled to keep sales afloat during pandemic lockdowns, they played a key role during the protests following the George Floyd killing on May 25, 2020 in Minneapolis.

“Bookstores provide intellectual safe haven for communities, not unlike libraries,” said Ed Nawotka, bookselling and international editor for Publishers Weekly. “During the protests, bookstores opened their doors to protesters and allies, offering everything from first aid to antiracist reading lists.”

The five shortlisted bookstores exceled at these challenges and exceeded all expectations during the last year. Up for the 2021 Bookstore of the Year honor are Charis Books and More (Decatur, Ga.); Eso Won Books (Los Angeles); MahoganyBooks (Washington, D.C.); Seminary Co-op Bookstores (which includes Seminary Co-op and 57th St. Books, Chicago); and Word Up Community Bookshop/Librería Comunitaria (New York City).

Sales representatives, who often work behind the scenes unbeknownst to consumer book buyers, faced their own challenges during the pandemic year. With travel limited, in-person book shows canceled and book publications delayed, the five shortlisted sales representatives acted as creative change agents despite it all. They are Toi Crockett (Simon & Schuster), Richard McNeace (Faherty & Associates), Jason Rice (Ingram Content Group), Gail Whitten (Como Sales) and Marsha Wood (Ingram Content Group).

Each year, Publishers Weekly puts out a call for nominations for bookstores and for sales representatives. From the pool of nominations, Publishers Weekly editors select the finalists. The annual bookstore awards were founded in 1992. The sales rep awards were added in 1998.

The live-streaming awards ceremony will take place on Tuesday, May 25, 2021, 4:30 – 5:00 p.m. EDT. The U.S. Book Show, which runs May 25 – 27, 2021, is targeted to booksellers, librarians, media, members of the book publishing industry and allied professionals.

Also on Tuesday, in addition to the awards ceremony, a pair of panels will take a closeup look at the state of post-pandemic bookselling. One panel addresses various strategies and models to sell more books to customers as they return to shopping in stores. A second panel looks at online bookselling tactics—what’s working, what to avoid, how to get started and what opportunities should not be overlooked.

There is information about panels, speakers, registration, media passes, group sales, exhibiting and more at https://www.usbookshow.com (#USBookShow).

For more information, contact Christi Cassidy, +1-917-217-4269, ccassidy@publishersweekly.com.

About Publishers Weekly

Publishers Weekly is the international news platform of the book publishing industry. Founded in 1872 and published weekly since then, the magazine boasts 1.23 million social media followers; publishes 10 e-newsletters, BookLife (a website and semimonthly supplement), Publishers Weekly en Español (in partnership with Lantia), two blogs, podcasts, a mobile edition, digital editions, and apps; and features a thriving website that reaches 14 million unique visitors annually. In conjunction with the Sharjah Book Fair, the magazine is also published in an Arabic edition.

In the last 10 years, Publishers Weekly has launched several events for the international publishing community, including New York Rights Fair, which was held in conjunction with BookExpo in New York; PubTechConnect, a series of high-level conversations about the convergence of technology and publishing, cosponsored by NYU School of Professional Studies Center for Publishing; and Global Kids Connect, an occasional conference held with BolognaFiere.

In 2020, in response to the pandemic restrictions on in-person events, Publishers Weekly launched Books on Tap, a sponsored networking event with authors; Library Lounge LIVE, a regular panel discussion on library topics; and the U.S. Selfies, an awards program for self-published authors, produced in conjunction with BookBrunch and based on the U.K. Selfies awards. PW Star Watch, an annual event to promote up-and-coming talent in the publishing industry, celebrated its sixth year with a virtual event in September 2020.