One of the oldest book retailers in Estonia, Rahva Raamat in Tallinn, was named the Bookstore of the Year at the London Book Fair, an annual event held in the capital of the United Kingdom.
In addition to the winner, the nominees were La Mistral in Spain and Norli Universitetsgata in Norway.
“We are very glad that the refurbishment of the bookstore in Viru Center, which lasted almost a year and a half, was so successful that it was noticed by the worldwide community and we won such a prestigious award,” Viljar Ots, the chairman of the board of Rahva Raamat, said in a statement.
When choosing the winner of the Bookstore of the Year, the London Book Fair’s International Excellence Award panel judges the overall atmosphere and style, innovation, creativity, level of customer service and sales expertise, as well as the ability to combine a physical bookstore with digital opportunities, Rahva Raamat said.
The challenge in redesigning the floor plan of the store and the customer shopping journey was to create a cozy atmosphere between five kilometers (three miles) of shelves and 48,000 books, thousands of games, movies, music and gifts.
“The aim was to make both adults and children feel that the shop has a truly pleasant and calm atmosphere ideal for taking some time off, staying in the store longer and finding books they’re into. A café and several quiet seating areas have been incorporated between the bookshelves to support the general mood, too. In addition, the store includes a stage suitable for organising book premieres and other events,” the bookstore said.
Rahva Raamat will receive the award on 7 April at the London Book Fair.
The Rahva Raamat (the name stands for “people’s book” in Estonian) brand was founded in 1912, when Estonian publisher Gustav Pihlakas opened his bookstore in 10 Pärnu Road, a newly designed house in Tallinn by respected Finnish American architect, Eliel Saarinen. Since then, there has always been a bookstore in the same premises.