CHEPSTOW Bookshop has been named among four regional finalists for Wales in the British Book Awards.

The shop on Mary Street in Chepstow town centre will compete against Book-ish in Crickhowell, Cover to Cover in Swansea and Griffin Books in Penarth for a place at the national finals in London on Monday, May 18.

A record of 49 bookshops from nine regions are competing for a place in the finals and to be named the ‘Best Indie Retailer for Books’ at Grosvenor House Hotel.

After finding out the news that his shop had made it to the final four in Wales, owner Matthew Taylor praised his staff.

“We weren’t expecting it as such, but we were hopeful because we’ve had a great year,” he said.

“It’s a testament to the hard work that has been put in to get some brilliant events on.”

Some of the store’s standout moments over the last year include welcoming Wales rugby icons Warren Gatland and Sam Warburton, as well as organising events with Harry Potter star Chris Rankin and Penguin Book of the Year winner Jamie Littler.

“We try and put events on not only for the store but also to bring people to the town,” Mr Taylor said.

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Bookshops are judged on their store as well as community engagement, which Chepstow Bookshop has in abundance.

“We try and do events for all different demographics, and we’ve managed to do lots of school events too,” Mr Taylor added.

“It’s important to get the children engaged with reading and educating themselves, and enjoying themselves while they are doing it.”

The winners of each region will be announced on Friday, March 20.

Tom Tivnan, The Bookseller’s managing editor, said: “There has been a resurgence in the last few years for the indie books sector with a growing number of stores and an increased market share.

“You can see why people are looking more towards indies by the brilliant shops on our regional shortlists.

“The High Street in general may be struggling but indie bookshops are thriving in this challenging environment because of the expertise of staff — which can beat an Amazon algorithm any day — but also that they are true hubs of their communities.”