The phone was ringing off the hook Tuesday at , as well-wishers called to congratulate the business and its employees on being named Bookstore of the Year.
The store learned that several people nominated it for the honor, said Kris Nugent, the Naperville store’s manager. It is the only honor of its kind, she said.
“It’s like the ‘Oscars’ of books,” Nugent said.
Once nominated, the store began to gather all of the necessary materials to support and document why it should be granted the honor, Nugent said.
Being named Bookstore of the Year isn’t just about selling books, she said. Beyond that, Nugent said the store needed to show its connection with the community, the events it has held and the relationships it has built.
The factors that played a role in the store winning the award are also what has helped it remain successful over the years. The store regularly hosts book signings and author events; it works with schools to bring authors to students; it has built strong relationships with authors and publishers; and it has a strong fan base in the form of customers.
Becky Anderson and her siblings are the fifth generation to run the family's businesses, which include Anderson’s Bookshop locations in Naperville and , and . Becky and brother Tres run the bookshop, with their brother Pete managing the store’s warehouse.
According to a story on the Publishers Weekly website, Becky Anderson will accept the award during the ceremony at the Book Expo America in May.
Nugent said all of the employees are excited about the honor and cannot wait to display the banner announcing the award and the actual award in the store.
At a time when local shops are competing with e-books and online retailers, business at Anderson’s has remained strong. Nugent attributed the business' success to a number of factors.
While readers can order books online or buy e-books, she said there is still that desire to connect that an online or e-book experience won’t fill. In the store, readers can attend books clubs or meet authors—things that will stay with them and only add to the experience.
“You can get books from so many places, but there are things people want that we can give them,” she said. “We can give them that connection.”