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BookPeople Bookseller of the Year - Shortlists


Text Publishing Bookseller of the Year shortlist

Allya Bella, Berkelouw Books Paddington

Allya is known to be an enthusiastic, passionate bookseller, whose bright, friendly energy

makes her the first port of call for customers in our store looking for book recommendations. Allya is able to recommend across a wide range of genres and has a particular interest in increasing awareness and sales of BIPOC and LGBTQI+ authors and stories. One of Allya's passions is helping customers start their reading journeys again and is constantly using social media platforms such as BookTok to stay up to date with popular titles in all genres.

All of this is particularly amazing given that Allya was deemed illiterate as a young person, having been put into ESL Reading classes. The first book they ever read was when they turned 14. Their desire to share their love of reading and the world that books can open up is truly admirable.

Ross Dillon, Dillons Norwood Bookshop

Ross opened the bookshop with his wife Sue, first as an Angus & Robertson franchise in 1985, then transitioning to Dillons Norwood Bookshop in 2010. After 38 years and overseeing the business through 6 separate expansions, growing from 60 square meters to 700 square meters, Ross has decided to retire. Ross has been an active supporter of the local community as the official bookseller for Adelaide Writers Week, supporter of the Adelaide Festival, local schools, libraries, charities, sporting clubs, kindergartens and amongst the Dillons community.

Dillons’ success would not be possible without their brilliant and loyal staff, many with over 10 and some 20 years’ experience which is a testament to Ross.

"Bravo to Ross Dillon … a careful, benign businessman and bookman who is improving the world." - Peter Goers, The Advertiser

Bronwyn Druce, Red Kangaroo Books

For the past decade, Bronwyn Druce has brought her energy and passion for all things books and reading to the remote heart of Australia, Mparntwe/Alice Springs. The media and political spotlight shone on Alice Springs has highlighted our challenges but throughout the past year, the heart of our town has been the Red Kangaroo bookshop that has sustained readers and writers alike. Red Kangaroo is the only bricks-and-mortar independent bookshop still standing in Australia between Port Augusta, Darwin, Broome, and Broken Hill and locals appreciate the haven she has built and the nourishment it provides us.

As a bookseller at Red Kangaroo, I consistently hear visitors commenting with surprise on the great selection of books we have in store: they were not expecting to find such a range in such a remote place. The space is not large but Bronwyn curates the range beautifully, ensuring there is always something new or a classic to purchase.

She is supportive of the bookselling team, consistently encouraging us to share and implement ideas we may have for the shop. In April 2023, Louise Omer, an author and bookseller curated a weekly series of in store conversations: ‘gather together’ spanning Arrernte women discussing their poetry, a local historian, queer collaborations and a discussion on racial equality. These conversations provide opportunities for local people to hear writers and performers in their lunch time.

Of the many testimonials we received for Bronwyn from colleagues, customers, friends and local writers, all consistently mentioned her enthusiasm for local authors. She recently oversaw the production of short videos to promote NT authors and travelled almost 1500 km to Darwin to ensure authors from the Top End region were included. Her commitment to Indigenous authors, stocking one of the widest bricks-and-mortar ranges in the country. Her ability to create value to the local and visiting writing community through author events, social media support and in-store displays. Bronwyn is also recognised for her support of the wider industry through the NT Writers Festival, sharing the bookshop space for gatherings, bookselling and promoting the festival and her desire to include and connect with people living even more remotely than Alice Springs.

Molly Murn, Matilda Bookshop

In her ten years as a bookseller at Matilda Bookshop, with the last four years as manager, Molly has helped to achieve a huge growth in the bookshop's core business of selling books, and has either initiated or is responsible for the smooth and efficient management of many of the additional activities that go toward cementing our place as a respected member of the Adelaide reading community.

Molly takes two of the store’s six book club sessions and ensures the other sessions are well run by engaged and helpful booksellers. She has managed, single-handedly, one of our newest initiatives, the Deep Creek Writing Fellowship, where we give the opportunity for writing time and subsequent mentorship to a South Australian writer. In addition to helping the smooth running of events, from inception to completion, Molly often performs the role of in-conversation host, and she always approaches this role with rigour and dedication.

As this bookshop's manager, there's no ongoing activity that Molly isn't aware of. A million tiny tasks comprise any given day and she goes about them with calm, quiet efficiency. From generating marketing emails, to updating websites, running our monthly charity days, doing daily restock orders, handling social media or managing the roster, Molly is the friendly glue that holds the shop together. She's an invaluable conduit between the staff who all value her experience and knowledge, and the owners.

Most importantly, she is a wonderful reader and loves talking to customers about their next book. She always happy to spend that extra minute with customers and our Adelaide Hills community seek her out for further recommendations.

Mark Rubbo, Readings

Mark Rubbo is the ultimate bookseller; he is a giant in the industry. 2023 marks his last year as Managing Director of Readings and the industry won't be the same. His career is impressive: founding chair of Melbourne Writers Festival, past president of the Australian Booksellers Association (ABA), former board member of The Wheeler Centre (TWC), the Indigenous Literacy Foundation (ILF) and, first and foremost a bookseller.

Mark is the creative spark behind Readings. He is passionate about Australian literature, the book industry, and seeking out and raising up debut authors. He has made it his life’s work to elevate and promote these books and authors, getting them into the hands of as many readers as possible.

He is forward-thinking and shrewd, with an uncanny sense for what is needed; he fills the gap without missing a beat. Circa 1983, after a trip to Brisbane where he learned UQP held author talks, Mark launched the events program at Readings. Today we run well over 250 events a year. The idea grew, with what Mark would say is luck, into MWF, launching with a slim line-up in 1986. The next year, guests included A.S. Byatt, Angela Carter, Vikram Seth and Margaret Atwood – in Mark’s words, ‘That was pretty good.’

But the thing about Mark is, it's not luck, it’s hard work and commitment. It’s working on the shop floor every Saturday talking to customers, it’s packing orders late into the night, it’s writing multiple reviews for the Readings Monthly and reading many more new releases. It’s nterviewing authors for events, podcasts, and festivals. It’s staying in touch, interested, and connected with community, the industry, and the world. All done with his trademark modesty.

If you know Mark, you know if you see a sparkle in his eye and hear him say, ‘Hey, I was thinking,’ a big idea is coming, and generally a good one, such as: The Readings Foundation, which sees Readings donate 10% of its profits to grassroots organisations that support development of literacy, community integration, and the arts. In 2023, the foundation gave $229,898 to 12 organisations (this amount was not just from profits).

The Readings Prize was started when Mark felt that he and Readings had forgotten their core mission of selling and promoting Australian authors. An unusual prize in that it supports early career Australian authors through its dedication to debut and second Australian novels.

Melbourne City Reads (MCR), another initiative born of his concern for his community and industry. In 2021, Melbourne was recovering from lockdowns, the city was struggling. Mark brought together all the city bookshops to create MCR, a citywide book club that was supported in its first year by the City of Melbourne, TWC and the ABC. Again, the focus was on local, and often debut, authors.

The testimonials supplied to support Mark’s nomination come from publishers, authors, festival directors, bookselling colleagues and staff. All speak of his commitment to and support of all facets of the local book industry and his generosity of spirit that knows no bounds.

“No other bookseller has understood the needs of our readers and writers as Mark has. No other Australian bookseller has taught us the true nature of the bookshop that we all, readers and writers, dream of. Mark Rubbo has lifted bookselling in this country to an art that few can match.” - Alex Miller, author


Penguin Random House Young Bookseller of the Year shortlist

Emma Chan, The Book Cow Kingston

As manager at The Book Cow, Emma is a dedicated and devoted bookseller and writer who works hard at curating a diverse range of books for both children and adults, actively promotes storytimes and events for the shop and continues to pride herself in raising awareness for writers of colour. Emma actively seeks out local authors and is also a contributor at HerCanberra magazine where she writes about bookselling and local authors. Emma is a highly skilled manager who always guides the team at The Book Cow with confidence, compassion and an admirable sense of community who recognise the hard work the team puts into the bookshop.

In her role as key creative director at the bookshop, she is excellent at designing original and innovative displays and organising bookshelves. She makes sure that The Book Cow always looks fresh and ensures that we have the best new releases on display ever month. She has helped build our presence in the local community through collaborations with authors and our local bookstagrammers.

Lexie Eatock, Better Read Than Dead

Lexie has come into a challenging work environment from a non-book background and has absolutely flourished. Her passion and enthusiasm are unparalleled, and in particular her support and promotion of Indigenous and LGBTQ writers and writing is incredible. She has quickly become an asset to the business, and a key independent bookselling voice in Sydney.

Matt Farrell, Burns Bay Bookery

Matt became a full-time employee a few years ago, has embraced the increased responsibilities and has decided to make bookselling a career. He's a good bookseller and customers love him. He is unfailingly polite, knowledgeable, widely read and utterly obliging. Nothing is too much trouble. He has managed small events, worked at school book fairs and has charmed everyone along the way. Matt has become a valuable member of our team.

Emily Westmoreland, Avenue Bookstore

Emily is a knowledgeable and friendly bookseller, beloved by staff members and customers alike. Emily runs our socials, coordinates our small supplier ordering, and took the lead with ordering for our Avenue Bookstore Hub at the Sorrento Writers Festival.

Outside of the bookshop, Emily is the Program Director for Willy (Williamstown) Lit Fest and is perhaps, the youngest literary festival director in Australia. She is the founder of Dinner Party Press, who produce bi-monthly literary salons in unexpected places and is the publisher of PENinsula. Her writing appears in Books+Publishing and The Big Issue.

“Booksellers like Emily are the reason we go into bookstores. She provides an invaluable service to the local community, where anyone can walk in and after a couple of questions, she can recommend them a book that will intrigue them or that might even change their life” – Pip Finkemeyer, author.


Hardie Grant Children’s Publishing Children’s Bookseller of the Year shortlist 

Mia Florance, Harry Hartog Tuggeranong

Mia has spearheaded regular storytimes, utilising many local childrens authors who are now keen to do in-store events. Mia is studying primary education and this unique perspective helps her to give the best experience possible to all our customers and community members. Mia is a dedicated and patient staff member and truly excels in her position, with regulars frequently coming in to see her.

Fran Hancox, Escape Hatch Books

At Escape Hatch, Fran has curated a children's offering like no other bookstore, and for years she has been recommending hit after hit for my 3 young children. When our family moved regionally I continued to look to Fran's Instagram for inspiration of books that would be just right for my 6, 8 and 10 year old. She has such a special knack for finding gorgeous stories that resonate with the kids.

Fran has also been exceptionally generous with her time and advice in the lead up to us opening our own bookstore in Barwon Heads. I'm eternally grateful for her support and comradery.

Katherine Matthews, Mary Martin Bookshop

Kat is a committed and dedicated bookseller with enormous flair and a passion for instilling a love for reading in our junior customers. She has increased our core business to include childrens books to approximately 50% of our stock at the Port Melbourne shop and about 40% at Southgate. Kat initiated and has maintained a weekly pre-school storytime which has extended to author-reading sessions, picture book launches and children’s illustrator workshops. Kat has built a dedicated community of young ‘story-listeners’ in Port Melbourne, many of whom have developed a strong affinity with the bookshop even as they have outgrown story telling time. She creates an ambience within our stores with her displays and settings which is appealing, safe and thoroughly attractive to our families.

Kat has also forged strong and creative ties with our local kindergarten and schoolcommunities benefiting both the bookshop and the schools. One of her local initiatives has been to create a birthday book-box for a kindergarten where we supply books to the kindy, allowing parents to buy a book for their birthday child which is read in class and then donated to the library. Outside of the bookshop, Kat is a repeat guest at KidLitVic, the industry forum aimed at empowering authors (and illustrators) writing for children.

“Kat is invaluable in our community as she encourages the little ones to develop a love for reading. This is done through her engagement with them and her efforts in organising activities they can participate in. This way, the children are creating positive associations with books and reading.” - Jennifer Harlim, customer and mother of 3 children

Rachel Robson, Gleebooks

As manager of children’s books, Rachel is consummately effective in buying, marketing, merchandising and managing across every aspect of her role. That requires a complete skill set: excellent book knowledge and a rich understanding of how to match book and author to customer. Add patience, care and a genuine belief that good bookselling is a rewarding vocation when you are as committed as she is, and you have a complete children's bookseller.

Rachel is inventive, energetic and committed to promotion of Australian writers and illustrators, both within and without the shop. She initiates, drives, and pulls off an astonishing range of launches, events and performances. As well as weekly rhyme time, reading time, and book group for primary and high school kids, on a rotating schedule. Her ongoing commitment to the Kids’ Reading Guide is further evidence of her selfless commitment to children's bookselling.

“Rachel is the most incredible advocate for the ‘kidlit’ community and a huge supporter of kids' book creators, teachers, librarians, her community and, most importantly, the kids. From unbridled enthusiasm for the books she loves, to amazing book events and book clubs fuelled on passion and popcorn, Rachel NEVER does anything to do with books by halves. – Nat Amoore, author

Australian Book Industry Awards 2023 – BookPeople member ticket discount code

Celebrate the joy of books at the Australian Book Industry Awards (ABIAs), taking place at Doltone House, Darling Island in Sydney.

The event will take place 6:30 PM – 11:00 PM, Thursday 25 May 2023.

Tickets are now on sale for the Awards Ceremony, as the ABIAs present a formal gala dinner, drinks, music and mingling and the winner announcements.

BookPeople bookseller members click here to access the special discount code to purchase tickets.

New BookPeople Gift Cards launchs March 31st

We are super excited to announce the launch of the new BookPeople Gift Cards!

The new gift cards are the culmination of several years’ work and an important step for your Association in modernising a key activity. Driving people to your bookshops is the focus of the program, and the more liquidity we can inject into our market the more we all benefit. Through BookPeople’s ongoing promotional program we will continue to build the profile of our industry and the cultural importance of books and reading. 

Please visit the booksellers information page for instructions, the bookshop manual, training video and FAQs.


Riverbend Booksellers Attend Bologna Children’s Book Fair

Bologna Children’s Book Fair has been held annually over four days since 1963. It was our great pleasure to attend this year’s 60th anniversary on behalf of Riverbend Books. The BCBF is the international meeting place for many professionals involved in the industry of children’s publishing and attracts publishers, authors, illustrators, academics, and sometimes book sellers. The main purpose of the Fair is the buying and selling of rights, for translations and for extended products such as television, movies, animation and merchandising. At this event a number of major awards for children’s literature are distributed. It was an incredible opportunity and experience to see an overview of children’s illustrations and trends from around the world.

Australian Booksellers Association rebrands to become BookPeople

The Australian Booksellers Association recently undertook work around positioning ourselves to be a successful and future-facing organisation. After extensive workshopping and discussion, we determined that our direction was to be the place where Bookselling Business meets Bookselling Culture

From this, we wanted to embrace Generosity – to be supportive and assured as sustainable and strategic retail partners for our members.

This was further articulated with sentiments like Nurturing a Prosperous Future, Better Bookselling, Trusted Industry Voice, and Strategic Bookselling, ultimately sitting with the statement that Bookshops are Transformational.

The process took us through to naming, and another extensive whittling process until we arrived at the trading name BookPeople.

What does the name change mean for the association?

It is important to note that nothing has changed within the organisation, but in name, we will be BookPeople. We will work on the day-to-day and specific projects as always and remain your Association, but with a contemporary consumer-facing brand. With its connotations of personal and professional, BookPeople represents booksellers’ uniqueness, individuality, and expertise. 

What is going to change?

  • The first change you may notice will be our website and social media pages 
  • Our new website URL –
  • Our conference website URL -
  • Our email addresses will change – if you email it will be re-directed to our new email addresses 
  • You will start to see our new name on our newsletters and other collateral
  • The Booksellers Choice name will be replaced by BookPeople
  • We are taking a gradual approach, and you may still see the name ABA while we transition

What isn’t changing?

Our legal name and ABN aren’t changing so we remain Australian Booksellers Association ABN 56 365 379 358

Unions and right to entry fact sheet

Recent action by the Retail and Fast Food Workers Union (a non-registered Union) in book retailing has prompted inquiries by a number of members and led the BookPeople Board to determine that a fact-sheet would help with any questions or anxiety members may have about this.

Workers and business owners have certain rights and obligations and these differ between registered and non-registered unions. Hopefully, this fact sheet helps with that differentiation. Log in below to access the pdf.

BookPeople Buying Group update

You can view the latest guide on the Reading Guide website

See the latest newsletters here.

All ABA-produced marketing material seeks the involvement and contribution of BookPeople Buying Group booksellers in the curation of titles. Books promoted in the guides and newsletters are available to purchase at extra terms for Buying Group members and supported via the BookPeople and Kids’ Reading Guide social media channels.

More information and FAQs are available on the Buying Group page

If you have any questions, contact Galina by email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., P: 0414 166 203.