City Lights Named PW's Bookseller of the Year

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San Francisco's City Lights Bookstore, founded by Lawrence Ferlinghetti, has been chosen as Publishers Weekly's Bookseller of the Year for 2010.

"We've gotten quite an outpouring of good wishes (not to mention some delicious pastries) from our colleagues in the industry, which has been very nice," said store manager Andy Bellows. "To be recognized by your colleagues and peers in an industry of such smart, thoughtful people really is an honor." 

The championing of literature has been part of City Lights' mission from its beginning in 1953. The intention was to create a "literary meeting place," a gathering place for intellectuals. City Lights Publishers, founded two years after the bookstore, furthers its philosophy of supporting cutting-edge literature and books on important social and political issues. The world-famous bookstore was named a San Francisco Cultural Landmark in 2001. 

Bellows said that the bookstore's history serves as an inspiration for staff. "It was a pleasant surprise to find out that we did indeed win, knowing that there were other deserving booksellers in the running. But, I have to say, it was when we completed the application that we were all reminded of the celebrated history of City Lights and why we are so dedicated to working here."

Bellows also credited the reps and publishers who have worked with City Lights over the years. "Because they are as good as they are at what they do, it allows us to be good at what we do."

City Lights will celebrate its latest honor on April 7, when it will host a roast to mark buyer Paul Yamazaki's 40th anniversary at the bookstore.

Ron Koltnow, Random House's New England rep, was named Rep of the Year. As reported in PW, in nominating Koltnow, Hilary Emerson Lay of The Spirit of '76 Bookstore & Card Shop in Marblehead, Massachusetts, called him "one of the most well-read and truly bibliophilic reps I have ever known." --Karen Schechner