Tim Walker is expecting queues outside his family’s bookshops in Oakham and Stamford on Thursday. Other booksellers up and down the country will be hoping for a similar rush of eager readers as 315 of the most eagerly awaited hardback titles of the year hit the shelves.The day has been dubbed “super Thursday” and titles by Andrew Motion, John Cleese and Heston Blumenthal will go on sale in the race for the Christmas bestseller lists. Bookshops hope to cash in as they try to fight back against cut-throat internet competition.Walker, who is also president of the Booksellers Association which represents both independent and chain bookshops, admits to feeling almost heartbroken when he catches sight of people scanning the barcodes of books in his shops with their mobile phones, intending to buy them more cheaply online. He hopes “super Thursday” will give independent bookshops a big boost. “The huge number of new, and highly-anticipated, new titles creates an awful lot of news and gets people into bookshops, which are the best places to discover other books.”Despite the continued rise of Amazon and other internet retailers, Walker said the mood among members of the Booksellers Association was the best for years. “We just had our annual conference and it was the most upbeat I can remember,” he said. “Times are tough but there’s a confidence that what booksellers do is valuable and important.” The decline in book sales – down £98m or 6.5% last year – is slowing, he said, and sales this year are expected to be roughly the same as in 2013.