Three North London stores at the heart of their communities are battling it out to be named Independent Bookshop of the Year.

The Children's Bookshop in Muswell Hill, Bookbar in Blackstock Road, Islington, and Burley Fisher Books in Haggerston are among 77 shops UK-wide vying for the title at The British Book Awards.

The Brick Lane Bookshop, and The Common Press in Bethnal Green are also among the 10 shortlisted stores in London with the regional winner announced on March 12.

Hackney Gazette: The Children's Bookshop in Fortis Green is among 10 shortlisted stores in LondonThe Children's Bookshop in Fortis Green is among 10 shortlisted stores in London (Image: Children's Bookshop)

They will go forward for the overall prize, which will be awarded at a ceremony on May 13 at Grosvenor House - and will also be in the running to be crowned Book Retailer of the Year.

Sanchita Basu De Sarkar who runs the Children's Bookshop - which celebrates its 50th birthday this year - said: "What wonderful news to learn we've been shortlisted for Independent Bookshop of the Year, and in such lovely company.

"We're celebrating our 50th anniversary this year, and  we're proud to be the oldest children's bookshop in the country. We're a tiny bookshop with a tremendous amount of love for the community. Everyday that we inspire a child into a life of reading, we count as a win."

The Bookseller which run the awards - known as 'The Nibbies' -  say the strong field proves that independent bookshops are continuing to thrive with creative, specialist, and community focused activities boosting sales in the face of the cost-of-living crisis.

They are judged by industry experts, authors, journalists and celebrities with the indie award celebrating stores at the heart of local communities, bringing passion and knowledge to the shop floor.

Hackney Gazette: Bookbar in Islington is also on the shortlist for best independent bookstore in LondonBookbar in Islington is also on the shortlist for best independent bookstore in London (Image: Bookbar)

The Bookseller managing editor Tom Tivnan said: “One of the things that is driven home by the selection process for this award is how lucky book buyers in the UK and Ireland are as we are truly in an independent bookshop renaissance.

"This year’s cohort is one of the strongest I have seen in my 15 years judging this award. Indies have come out of the pandemic and into a cost-of-living and business rates crises, yet still through innovation and creativity thrive as never before."

Hackney Gazette: The Children's Bookshop celebrates its 50th anniversary this yearThe Children's Bookshop celebrates its 50th anniversary this year (Image: The Children's Bookshop)

He added: "They are lynchpins for our high street, bringing jobs, footfall and communities together. They encompass general booksellers and those who sell into niches; or new shops which have bravely opened in the shadow of the pandemic to businesses that have been trading for centuries. Their collective knowledge and passion shine through and prove once again how much better shop floor expertise is than an algorithm."

Ruth Gardner, of Gardners’ who are sponsoring the Independent Bookseller of the Year award said: "Each year throws up new challenges and it great to see so many bookshops adapt and change to meet these challenges. We know it hasn’t been easy for many, but it ’s amazing to see so many thriving. The year’s list is a tough one again with every entry being a worthy winner."