RWA Steffie Walker Bookseller of the Year
The RWA Steffie Walker Bookseller of the Year award is given annually to one special bookseller who provides outstanding service to romance readers and demonstrates notable support of romance authors and the romance genre.
2015 RWA Steffie Walker Bookseller of the Year
Tom Luce, New Book Buyer, Powell's Books
Once upon a time, Tom Luce was a practicing pharmacist. After having seven jobs in ten years, Tom decided that he needed to do something else and that something else was to be working in a bookstore. In 1990, after just having moved to Portland, Oregon, he answered an ad in the Sunday newspaper for a receiving clerk at Powell’s Books. When called for the interview, he was able to convince them that they really needed a pharmacist opening boxes of books in the back room for $5.50/hour. From there, he moved into Section work and worked for several years in the Journalism and Mystery sections.
In 1998, Tom returned to his home state of Michigan to help look after and enjoy spending time with his aging parents. He got hired into corporate offices at Borders Books and eventually fast-talked his way into their buying department, where he found himself buying Romance. Romance?? Yes, Romance. Which turned into the greatest job he’d ever had.
In 2005, Tom returned to Portland and got himself hired back into Powell’s. He made his way into their revamped buying department and begged, wheedled, whined, and cajoled his colleagues into giving him Romance for one of his subject areas. Where he hopes to stay until he retires.
Historical note: This award was established in 1995 as RWA's Bookseller of the Year Award to honor Booksellers who go above and beyond in their support of the Romance genre, Romance authors, and Romance readers. In 1999 the name was changed to the Steffie Walker Bookseller of the Year Award in honor of the late Steffie Walker, a former recipient of the Bookseller of the Year Award.