Carmichael's Bookstore in Louisville, Kentucky, has been named the recipient of this year's Publishers Weekly Bookseller of the Year Award. Co-owners Carol Besse and Michael Boggs were stunned, said Besse. "We're really gratified to have been nominated, and we just didn't have any expectation at all that we would win." PW cited the bookstore's close relationship with its customers, as well as its tripling profits over the past decade.
Besse attributes the store's success and the PW honor to three people -- Boggs, her husband; Kelly Estep, her niece; and Diane Estep, her sister. "It's a family operation in the truest sense of the word," she told BTW. "And our daughter Miranda is coming up through the ranks and is developing into a fabulous bookseller. We have dreams of her taking over for us."
Besse and Boggs founded Carmichael's in 1978. Their bookstore operates out of two locations in Louisville: the original, 1,000-square-foot store is on Bardstown Road, and the 1,500-square-foot-store, opened in 1999, on Frankfort Avenue. Just a few miles apart, both stores are in historic buildings in the first residential neighborhood northeast of the downtown. (Learn more from BTW's archives.)
The owners already have a plan in place to celebrate. "We're going to come to BEA," said Besse. "To be honest, we were going to skip BEA this year because I was going to take Michael to the French Open for his 60th birthday. We're still going, but we'll probably take a flight right back from Paris to New York to be at the Celebration of Bookselling."
Tom Benton, a rep for almost 25 years and currently with Penguin, has taken the award as PW's Rep of the Year. Both Carmichael's and Benton will receive their awards at this year's BookExpo America. --Karen Schechner