Griffin swoops to take Independent Bookshop of the Year Award

Dear readers behind success as Penarth store named best in UK and Ireland

by webmaster, 3rd July 2023

Dear readers behind success as Penarth store named best in UK and Ireland

Griffin Books, in the Welsh coastal town of Penarth, has fought off competition from 59 other finalists to scoop the coveted Independent Bookshop of the Year Award for 2023.

The announcement was made at the recent British Book Awards ceremony at Grosvenor House in London, where the field had been whittled down to nine regional and country winners who were all gathered to hear the results.

“It’s just mind-blowing,” says Mel Griffin, pictured above with author and Gavin and Stacey actor Ruth Jones at a Griffin Books launch event. “I honestly wasn’t expecting it. I know we’ve built a fantastic business over nine years, but without our customers and their loyalty, it wouldn’t have happened.”

Established in 2014, the community focused bookstore has quickly become renowned for its author events, book signings, weekly toddler story-time sessions and book clubs. But it was its response to the many challenges facing businesses today, including Brexit, the pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis, that clinched the title for the self-confessed “new kid on the block”.

“Griffin Books caught the judging panel’s eye by going above and beyond,” says Tom Tivnan, managing editor of The Bookseller and chair of the Independent Bookshop of the Year judges. “It is one of the smallest shops to ever win this award, but its unceasing innovation means its footprint far exceeds its square footage.

“From its knock-out events stream (including its own literary festival) to subscription services and its online arm, Griffin has consistently demonstrated that its impact stretches far beyond its four walls. Above all, Griffin’s local ties - such as its work with schools, charities and even sponsoring a football club - show just how important a bookshop can be to a community.”

Griffin’s rapid online home-delivery service certainly cemented closer ties to the local community, but its something that’s been conducted with broad smiles on the faces of all involved.

“There’s a huge team and ecosystem behind this,” says Mel Griffin, “but at the end of the day we’re all doing something we love and that’s what really counts.”

As well as the prestige of winning the title, Griffin Books was presented with a £5,000 cash prize from award sponsors Gardeners.

“We are proud to be sponsoring this award of which we have been doing for well over a decade,” says Ruth Gardner, UK sales manager for the book wholesaler. “The cash prize we offer is to show our ongoing commitment to indie books sellers throughout the UK.

“We congratulate Griffin Books for winning this most coveted award and hope they can use the money to enhance their offer to their customers even more.”

For more information about Griffin Books, visit

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