Bookstore that places women centre stage shortlisted for award

A bookstore which places great emphasis on the advancement of women is among stores shortlisted for the Bookstore of the Year, part of the London Book Fair’s International Excellence Awards.

Dukagjini Bookstore in Kosovo, Albania, was opened in 2000 in what the store describes as “a completely new era for Kosovan citizens who had not only acquired their freedom after the war, but now had the freedom to buy and read books in their own language after decades of occupation”.

 Kosovo is known for its large number of young people and is a multi-ethnic and democratic country.  The bookstore has staff of all ages, from those who have followed the bookstore from the beginning to the youngest. The store says: “In the Dukagjini bookstore, great importance is devoted to the advancement of the position of women. Not by a chance, women are holding management positions in the bookstore, and most of the employees in the bookstore are women”.

The shop also prides itself on “providing space for work and promotion of their activities to many of the marginal groups in the country, such as ethnic communities, LGBTI+ groups, young women, and others”.  The store joins Minoa in Istanbul, Turkey, and Strandläufer in Stralsund, Germany on the shortlist, while Rovingheights in Lagos, Nigeria gets a Special Commendation.

The full shortlists of The London Book Fair International Excellence Awards are as follows:

The Audiobook Publisher of the Year

  •     Macmillan Audio (USA)
  •     Princeton University Press (USA)
  •     Pushkin Industries (USA)
  •     Readyland LLC (USA) – Special Commendation

The Bookstore of the Year Award

  •     Dukagjini Bookstore (Kosovo)
  •     MINOA (Turkey)
  •     STRANDLÄUFER Verlagsbuchhandlung (Germany)
  •     Rovingheights (Nigeria) – Special Commendation

The Sustainability Initiative Award

  •     Bloomsbury Publishing (UK)
  •     New Society Publishers (Canada)
  •     Penguin Random House UK

Inclusivity in Publishing Award (eligible for entries from the UK only)

  •     Bloomsbury Publishing
  •     Bonnier Books
  •     Springer Nature

Gareth Rapley, director of The London Book Fair, said: “Excellence in publishing lies at the heart of everything The London Book Fair champions, and 2023’s International Excellence Awards shortlist is a timely reminder of the many inspirational companies working hard to make publishing a more inclusive and accessible place.

“The LBF is especially proud to welcome the new Sustainability category, in recognition of its growing importance within the industry. We congratulate our shortlistees, and look forward to uniting, and spotlighting, our global colleagues at The London Book Fair 2023.”

The winners of the International Excellence Awards, alongside the recipient of the London Book Fair Lifetime Achievement Award, will be celebrated at a public ceremony at Olympia London on Wednesday 19 April.