ROCKLAND — The small Rockland bookstore Hello Hello Books is on the Publishers Weekly shortlist for the bookstore of the year honors. Finalists were announced Thursday at the American Booksellers Association conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Hello Hello Books, which opened in the summer of 2011, is one of five national finalists. The award recognizes outstanding contributors to the bookselling industry. This year’s winner will be announced in March. The awards will be presented at BookExpo in New York City in June.

Hello Hello’s owner, Lacy Simons, is attending the conference. In a statement, she said: “We’re inexpressibly proud to be singled out this way, especially because of our small size and relative remoteness. Those of us doing business year-round in Maine have challenges that often feel insurmountable, especially with the ever-growing threat of online competitors who provide zero financial contribution to the state. We wouldn’t be here, able to enjoy this honor, if it weren’t for the loyalty and love our customers show us by choosing to shop with us, and by supporting our creative growth. This nomination is confirmation, too, that what is special about us is also special about Rockland.”

The bookstore is located behind Rock City Cafe in downtown Rockland. Its motto is “small but powerful.”

Simons and her three employees feature new and used books. Simons is active in national book circles. She serves on the American Booksellers Association’s Bookseller Advisory Council and frequently participates in panel discussions about bookshops and small business practices.

The other bookstores on the shortlist are: A Likely Story in Sykesville, Maryland; Classic Lines Bookstore in Pittsburgh; Literati Bookstore in Ann Arbor, Michigan; and Watermark Books & Café in Wichita, Kansas.

Bob Keyes can be contacted at 791-6457 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: pphbkeyes

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