A LAKE District store is among a list of 77 independent bookshops selected as finalists in The British Book Awards 2024.

Sam Read Bookseller in Grasmere has been named among 10 shops in the north of England running for Independent Bookshop of the Year.

Established in Grasmere in 1887, the bookshop is 137 years old and owned by Will Smith and his partner Polly Atkin. It sells books for children and adults with a particular focus on contemporary fiction, non-fiction related to the great outdoors, local interest and poetry.

The bookshop is known for tracking down specific books customers have been unable to find elsewhere and hosts monthly online events.

Sam Read’s is a hub for local community and culture, boasting a strong relationship with Grasmere Primary School and local groups.

The award celebrates stores across nine different regions and countries that are at the centre of local communities and bring passion and knowledge to the shop floor.

Sam Read’s will need to win the regional competition before contending for the prize of overall Independent Bookshop of the Year, which will be announced on Monday May 13.

Will Smith said: "We're delighted to be recognised alongside some of the North of England's finest booksellers. It's a massive boost for the team at Sam Read's and acknowledges all the hard work of the past year. We're so lucky to have such great support from our customers, especially in the ongoing cost of living crisis. Every sale of a book or even a postcard makes such a difference and helps us keep a selection of the latest titles in the shop window."

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. 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.”