Harrogate indie makes Independent Bookshop of the year award final

A Harrogate bookshop is in the running for a prestigious award as the Independent Bookshop of the year.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 18th February 2022, 3:03 pm
Updated Friday, 18th February 2022, 3:43 pm
Flashback to 2019  when Georgia Duffy of Imagined Things bookshop welcomed  children to take part in her reading books scheme. Here she is pictured with New Park Primary Academy pupil Maisy Tiffany. (Picture Gerard Binks)
Flashback to 2019 when Georgia Duffy of Imagined Things bookshop welcomed children to take part in her reading books scheme. Here she is pictured with New Park Primary Academy pupil Maisy Tiffany. (Picture Gerard Binks)

As announced in www.thebookseller.com, Imagined Things is now a regional finalist for the North of England to win the title of the British Book Awards Independent Bookshop of the year.

Located in Westminster Arcade on Parliament Street, since it first opened in 2017 the shop has attracted a set of loyal customers

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Also among the bookshops named in nine regional and country shortlists for the Gardners-sponsored Independent Bookshop of the Year Award 2022 at the British Book Awards is The Little Ripon Bookshop.

Imagined Things owner Georgia Duffy said: "Last year was a year of huge change for us. As well as the challenges of the pandemic our owner Georgia went on maternity leave.

"This was a big shift in the dynamics (and wage bill!) for the shop, as previously there was just Georgia, and Debbie.

"Debbie was promoted to manager and her, along with our new booksellers Meg and Hayley have held the fort amazingly whilst Georgia was off.

"Our customers have said that the shop has been in great hands, and we couldn’t be prouder of our bookselling team.

"We have a very active social media presence, which has been essential to us - especially since our shop-saving viral tweet in 2018.

"The booksellers pioneered monthly wrap ups - each sharing their favourite books of the month.

"We support authors/illustrators enthusiastically - we celebrated Poetry Day with local Rob Cowen and had a Trick or Treat children’s Halloween event with Hannah Foley, as well as others."

The North England award nominations in full are:

Forum Books (Corbridge)

Imagined Things (Harrogate)

Read. Holmfirth (Holmfirth)

Sam Read Bookseller (Grasmere)

The Book Case (Hebden Bridge)

The Book Corner (Halifax)

The Grove Bookshop (Ilkley)

The Little Ripon Bookshop (Ripon)

Wave of Nostalgia (Haworth)

White Rose BookCafé (Thirsk)

The award celebrates shops that have continued to support local communities throughout the past turbulent two years, and this year welcomes both previously shortlisted indies and newcomers.

The shops will compete to win their region first, before vying for the overall prize, which will be announced at the British Book Awards on May 23.

The overall Independent Bookshop of the Year winner will also compete to be crowned Book Retailer of the Year.

Georgia Duffy said her shop prided itself on an imaginative and fun approach to book selling with an emphasis on families.

She said: "We do a lot of work with local schools, and during the lockdown we helped with their book purchasing, giving bigger discounts to them, as one of our really important goals is to encourage younger readers.

"We supplied books for the NHS throughout the year, assisting our local hospital’s charity in their goal of giving warm, mindful and caring books to their staff.

"Another highlight has been our baby bookseller has even become a highlight, showing that we really are a family business."

But Imagined Things has also had to face its challenges.

Georgia said: "We are also in a challenging location, as we don’t have a window/shop front on a street, we’re tucked away inside Harrogate’s last Victorian arcade.

"Sadly, during the pandemic shops inside it were forced to close their doors.

"So we created large displays in the empty units to attract more footfall and custom back into the arcade, for us and other businesses."

More information at www.imaginedthings.co.uk/shop/