AN INDEPENDENT online bookseller serving literature enthusiasts across Swindon and Wiltshire has been shortlisted for an industry award.
Alex Call of Bert’s Books is shortlisted for the Romantic Bookseller of the Year category for the annual Romantic Novelists Association awards.
Alex Call has been a bookseller in various forms since leaving school, first with a few book sales in the field, then as a marketing manager for a national chain.
He launched Bert’s Books in 2019 to prove that an online bookstore can still offer personalized service. Plans for a physical bookstore remain a priority, but the website continues to grow in the meantime.
He saw an increase in sales when the first foreclosure started and is delighted to have been recognized by the awards body.
Alex said: “I am both surprised and proud [to be shortlisted]. One of my goals with Bert’s Books was to try to break down some walls around the types of books that people think are for them – and those that aren’t – so being recognized by the RNA sounds like a huge deal. justification that I am working the right way.
“The pandemic has turned out to be a very strong selling period for me. Bert’s was a relatively small business when the foreclosure hit and then sales quadrupled overnight and really helped the business flourish. A rare success story despite the challenges of containment. ”
The awards include four new categories for this year and celebrate the hard work and talent of any individual, group or organization that has championed the broad genre of romantic fiction in a positive way.
The awards have been awarded over the past seven years. Shortlisted booksellers are nominated by the full and associate members of the Association of Romantic Novelists.
RNA Industry Awards host Laura James said: “Despite the bottlenecks, isolation and hard times we have endured over the past eighteen months, romantic fiction has continued to entertain, bring solace and providing an escape to our readers, and a substantial part of this is due to the dedication and caliber of the nominees in the industry award categories.
The winners of the 10 awards will be announced at the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Winter Party and Industry Awards, to be held at the Leonardo Royal Hotel in London on October 28.