Recognition for book sellers

By Tara Whitsed

Collins Booksellers in Shepparton took out two awards at this year’s national Collins conference, including the inaugural award for community engagement.
Owners Helen and Joe Sofra were awarded the Community Involvement Award as well as the perpetual Excellence in Marketing Award.
Mrs Sofra said it was the first time a franchise had won the community involvement award.
‘‘They decided to do that award because of how important it is to be a part of the community,’’ she said.
The award was won alongside the the marketing trophy which features Malcolm Gladwell’s book The Tipping Point.
It was not the first time the pair had taken out an award at the national conference, which was held in Melbourne recently.
The Sofras were awarded Franchise of the Year in 2008 and 2012.
Mrs Sofra said the national conference was also a chance to immerse themselves in the book industry for two days.
‘‘We received half a dozen author addresses,’’ she said.
Mrs Sofra said Rosalie Ham, Tim Fischer and Dave Hughes were among the authors they heard from.
Hughesy was the conference’s surprise guest after publishing picture story book Excuse Me at the start of last year, and Mrs Sofra said it was fantastic hearing from the comedian.