Changing Hands Named PW's Bookseller of the Year

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HarperCollins' Kate McCune Honored as Rep of the Year

Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe, Arizona, has been named the recipient of the 15th annual Bookseller of the Year Award from Publishers Weekly. The bookstore, which celebrates its 33rd anniversary this year, is co-owned by Gayle Shanks, her husband, Bob Sommer, and Susie Brazil. PW reported that the store was nominated by Random House's district sales manager, Ron Smith, who said, "The enthusiasm, energy and creativity of the people of Changing Hands Bookstore is what makes me look forward to each visit."

"I'm ecstatic, and I'm so happy for the staff," Shanks told BTW. "I've been nominated before, but I have to say I really didn't have any hopes of winning -- there are so many great bookstores in this country. The idea that community bookselling is important in the culture and recognized as being important both by colleagues and the publishing world, as well as by staff and our community, just makes winning really remarkable to me and extremely emotional."

Gayle Shanks

Shanks, who is ABA's vice president and a board member of the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, and Sommer had been celebrating Sommer's birthday when they were informed that the store had won the Bookseller of the Year Award. They already had birthday cake on hand and a visiting rep went out and bought some bottles of bubbly to mark the occasion. "The staff was celebrating in the back room with Bobby's chocolate cake and champagne," Shanks said.

It is the staff to whom Shanks gives credit for the award. When she was too busy to complete the lengthy award application, "Cindy Dach and Brandon Stout took it on themselves," Shanks said. "I really feel they won the award, along with the rest of the store. The fact that the young staff is so energized by bookselling ... really touched my heart.

'"I've been in this business for the past 33 years, and I've worried for the past 10 whether there will be booksellers who will be following me. To find staff that is so excited about bookselling makes me feel the possibility exists for independent booksellers being around for another 100 years. I hope winning an award like this keeps everybody enthusiastic.... They... pour their hearts and souls into the store, the readership, and the community, that's what makes me the happiest. They do that every single day, and I just love them for it."

PW gave its Rep of the Year Award to Kate McCune, who works out of Ann Arbor, Michigan, for HarperCollins. "Kate is smart, thoughtful, passionate and extremely knowledgeable," said Jen Reynolds, director of publisher relations and events at Joseph-Beth in Cincinnati, Ohio, as reported in PW. "She seeks every opportunity to match the perfect book with the perfect promotion, bookseller, author lunch or display. And she's always on the money."

The awards will be presented at this year's BookExpo America. --Karen Schechner