The Bookseller 100
29.11.11 | Tom Tivnan and Bookseller Staff
If there is one thing we can count on in The Bookseller 100, it is change. This is our third annual list of the top movers and shakers in the book trade, and for the second year in a row there are a number of new faces—37 in 2011 (and four re-entries), up from 36 new names in 2010.
It is a difficult process because we have so many to choose from. In the selection meetings we came up with approximately 300 people within (and without) the trade who have an influence on the book industry who would have a legitimate shot at getting onto our list. Yes, we do have our “evergreens”—45 people have been in all three editions of The Bookseller 100, most of whom go through on the nod (there was not much debate on Tim Hely Hutchinson or Gail Rebuck). This does, however, make the remaining choices ever more difficult.
Suzy Astbury, as m.d. of leading recruiting firm Inspired Selection, knows a thing or two about what it takes to get a top job in the book trade. She says: “This list really shows the dynamism and depth of talent in the UK book trade. Really, we are spoiled for choice.”
One of our main criteria is that this is a UK list, with entrants having to be based in Britain for most of the year. So we exclude some players—particularly in the digital sphere—who arguably have a significant impact on the UK industry, including Amazon's Jeff Bezos and Kobo's Mike Tamblyn.
There is a one person per entry rule. This does mean we have to pick one part of the industry's many double- and triple-acts. So Clare Conville appears without partner Patrick Walsh (she is first alphabetically), while Seni Glaister flies the flag for The Book Depository (and Ted Smart).
Deciding whether someone has influence is not an exact science, so we balanced a number of criteria. Size of the company does matter; longevity helps, but we are more concerned about 2011's performance, and what may happen in 2012. Influence can also mean a crusading voice, new innovations which spread throughout the trade, or entrepreneurs who are building new business models. Thus we can have the likes of Marjorie Scardino, head of the world's biggest publisher, sitting next to author and library campaigner Alan Gibbons.
There are 34 women—not exactly equality, but our highest ever total (29 in 2010, 27 in 2009)—eight agents, five authors and 17 booksellers—three of whom are independents (though Jane Streeter gets the go ahead as BA president). Forty-seven are publishers (11 from academics, up from six last year), reflecting both the strength of the sector and how they are incorporating digital into their business. In fact, we see a maturation of digital in this year's list. We have 14 entries who could be classed as strict digitalists, such as Apple's Georgina Atwell and Penguin's Anna Rafferty. But the vast majority of the list spend a lot of their days dealing with digital—for example, a good deal of Francesca Dow and Philippa Dickinson's business and marketing is migrating online. Digital is not something to look askance at; it has just become part of the business.
Macmillan Education, c.e.o.
The well-respected Allen is a travelling man: he's worked for Mosby in the US, and in the UK his various Europe, Middle East, Asia and Africa roles for Prentice Hall, Pearson and McGraw Hill have earned him plenty of air miles. He moved to Macmillan in February, and his remit includes all of the publisher's education business outside of North America.
John Wiley, senior v.p. global, professional and trade
Essentially the overall Wiley boss in Britain, under Allin's stewardship Wiley UK—and the professional and trade division in particular—has focused on digital and branding, with the Frommer's travel guides gaining a bigger UK toehold and the For Dummies series going from strength to strength.
Faber & Faber, sales and marketing director
There's a lot cooking at Faber, and well-connected sales boss Atkinson is in charge of many of the ingredients. He continues to oversee the well-established Indie Alliance and Faber Factory, the digital infrastructure service for independent publishers launched last year. In March 2012 that will be expanded to Faber Factory Plus, a “mini Indie Alliance” sales force.
Apple, UK iBookStore manager
While Atwell's boss Pete Alcorn oversees Apple's entire European iBookStore business, it is the former DK and Rough Guides digitalist who UK publishers speak to on a day-to-day basis. With more e-book competition—Kindle Fire, Kobo, a possible Waterstone's own brand reader—it will be an interesting 12 months for Atwell.
Edinburgh International Book Festival, director
Now in his second year in charge, Barley is putting his own stamp on the festival that Catherine Lockerbie ran so successfully for 10 years. Some bold programming choices have continued to make the world's biggest book festival unmissable.
HarperCollins c.e.o. and publisher
The UK's fourth largest publisher, after a couple of shaky years, has steadied the ship with sales up 3.2% for 2011's third quarter through Nielsen BookScan, against an overall market decline of around 7%. And HC's market share of physical books has risen to almost 8% in 2011, after falling to 7.1% in 2010. The Children's division has done particularly well, with stellar years from David Walliams and Derek Landy, although losing Darren Shan to S&S is a blow.
Of course print only tells part of the story and HC's digital business is up a massive 600%. Digital now makes up around 11% of the company's overall revenue, and 14% of fiction. Barnsley has shuffled the decks this year, with new faces in the management team after John Bond left. Simon Johnson stepped up to m.d. of HC from commercial m.d and Tom Fussell moved into the role of commercial director.
In an era of deep government cuts, Bird and Booktrust continue to thrive. The literacy charity manages four ambitious book gifting to kids schemes: Bookstart, Booktime, Booked Up and The Letterbox Club. It currently administers 11 major prizes, including the Orange Prize and BBC National Short Story Award. Booktrust's many campaigns include the Waterstone's Children's Laureate, DipNet and Story. And it provides literacy resources for schools and teachers. And it—well, you get the idea; its work is multifarious and essential.
Tesco, senior buying manager for books
That Blackman was hired by the UK's biggest supermarket as a book buyer rather than a non-food “category manager” does signal some intent about how important it views its books business. The loss-leading deep discounting still rankles many—Tesco, for example, sold the latest Terry Prachett for £5—but it remains an 800-pound gorilla that must be reckoned with.
The Blair Partnership, founder
J K Rowling's break with Christopher Little (to follow her agent Blair when he set up his new agency) caught many by surprise—not least Little himself. With the creation of Rowling's Pottermore, Blair has established a template of how a “360-degree” agency will deal with clients who can be successful on a number of different platforms and media, and how big-name authors will interact with their fans in the future.
Cambridge University Press, c.e.o.
Ho hum: another year, another double-digit growth in books revenue for Bourne and CUP. Britain's oldest publisher (est. 1534) remains one of the most cutting edge; in October 2011 it launched its large-scale project University Publishing Online, a digital content platform for CUP and other academic publishers.
Reed Exhibitions, director of publishing and books
London Book Fair boss Burtenshaw was promoted by LBF owners Reed after yet another successful year at Earls Court. Burtenshaw will continue to be the man in charge at LBF, but his remit now encompasses Reed's many book fairs and conferences across the globe, including Book Expo America.
Last spring, the nation's broadcaster might as well have been renamed the ByngBC, as the Canongate boss was on the box promoting—and at times defending—World Book Night, a scheme his considerable energy brought to fruition. Canongate's profits were down, albeit to a respectable £1.06m (revenue was £13.36m). Meanwhile, audiobook publisher CSA Word was acquired, and Aussie publisher Text sold. The Julian Assange affair—releasing the Wikileaks founder's memoir over the author's objection—was arguably inspired, and certainly headline-grabbing, publishing.
Sainsbury's, buying manager
Controversially—but deservedly—Sainsbury's won the top “General or Chain Bookselling Company of the Year” at The Bookseller Industry Awards last year. Whatever one's feelings of a supermarket taking the prize, it is incontrovertible that Carroll and his crack buying team have ramped up the books range; in its last full-year results, value sales climbed 37% to over £35m and volume sales were up 17% to nine million units.
While most of the top 10 British publishers have struggled in a declining market, Chapman-led S&S has been flying—sales through BookScan for the first half of 2011 were up 11.6% year on year, led by Philippa Gregory, Lynda LaPlante and a surging Children's department.
Bloomsbury, executive chairman
Hired to help boss Nigel Newton use some of that Harry Potter money in 2007, it is interesting to look at what Bloomsbury has achieved post-Potter. Rather than splurging on, say, another trade publisher, it has invested in high margin, digital-savvy publishers and projects with global appeal or potential such as Berg, Wisden and Continuum.
Conville & Walsh, founder
Before co-founding Conville & Walsh in 2000 with Patrick Walsh, Conville worked as an editor at Random House. With the agency itself representing authors as diverse as 2011 Booker shortlistee Stephen Kelman, satirist Charlie Brooker and artist David Shrigley, Conville's clients have won or been nominated for nearly every major literary prize going.
HarperVoyager, editorial director
SFF has suddenly broken out of its nerd ghetto. Along with competitors Gollancz, Harper Voyager, the trans-Atlantic imprint jointly run by Coode and Diana Gill in the US, is leading the SFF charge—helped by the burly figure of George R R Martin. Martin, author of the HBO/Sky Atlantic-boosted “Game of Thrones”, has sold almost £6m through BookScan in 2011, after selling just £286,000 in 2010.
Daunt has arguably done more at Waterstone's since taking over in May than his predecessors did in the previous decade. he has announced plans for a "Nook-ish" own brand e-reader, rejigged the buying structure, begun to implement a flat-rate discount for publishers, thrown a lifeline to the hardback and ditched the three-for-two promotion.
Yet, more than anything, Daunt assuming the top job had an almost palliative effect on skittish publishers who welcomed a “books person” in charge: a marked contrast from the retail generalists of the HMV era. That honeymoon may be over—particularly as margin negotiations are under way—and Daunt has some hard choices to make in the coming year. Yet, at this early stage it does seem that initial publisher optimism in his appointment is well placed.
Santiago de la Mora
Google, director of print content partnerships, EMEA
Google's London-based books frontman de la Mora was finally able to celebrate the launch of the long-awaited Google e-books platform in October this year. Whether the platform will be a success without a device, or if indie bookshops—who can embed Google e-books in their websites—will feel any benefit remains to be seen.
Random House, creative director
Getting name checked by Julian Barnes in his Booker speech for the design of The Sense of an Ending must have been gratifying. Yet Dean's distinctive body of work—including the 50th anniversary edition of To Kill a Mockingbird and the “all colours of the rainbow” Vintage 21s series—already speaks loudly for itself.
Random House Children's Books, chair
RHCB has stars like Jacqueline Wilson, Philip Pullman and Malorie Blackman, and this past year it has had success with tie-ins for feline film “Puss in Boots” and a novelisation of the Stephen Spielberg “Tintin” film. The year is ending with a bang: Christopher Paolini's Inheritance shifted over 76,000 in its first week of sales, the second best opening week of 2011.
Donaldson—along with frequent illustrator Axel Scheffler—essentially has revived a picture books market that was, if not a terminal case, at least in intensive care. Her most famous creation, of course, is The Gruffalo, and she has sold a whopping 10m books through the TCM 2010, and £53.8m since records began in 2008.
Yet it is her work as the Waterstone's Children's laureate which ahs truly impressed. Since taking over from Anthony Browne in June, she has thrown herself into the role, ramping up her already busy schools visits, but also has become a tireless campaigner against library closures.
Penguin Children's Books, m.d.
Dow became head of Penguin Children's—the UK's biggest children's publishers and Penguin's second largest division—this year, after serving eight years as the m.d of Puffin. The five imprints—Puffin, Frederick Warne, BBC Children's Books, Ladybird and Razorbill—boast an enviable combination of licensed characters and authors, from Roald Dahl to Jeff Kinney and Peppa the Pig.
Reed Elsevier, c.e.o.
Engstrom, who has been at Elsevier since 2004, took over the world's second biggest publisher after his predecessor Ian Smith lasted a mere eight months. Publishing pro Engstrom—whose previous roles include c.o.o. at Random House and c.e.o. at Bantam Doubleday Dell—was originally passed over in the succession of Sir Crispin Davies for Smith, a man who previously headed up a property company, a decision which had many scratching their heads. But Engstrom has proved his worth with a successful restructure of LexisNexis, and revenues of £6.07bn in his first year in charge.
Pearson International Education, c.e.o.
At Pearson since 1997, and the boss of Pearson's massive education division outside of North America since 2003 (Pearson's second largest group), Fallon shows no sign of slowing down. The division saw growth of 19% year on year in 2010, the seventh consecutive year of double-digit growth, with revenue in 2010 up by £38m from 2009.
A Transworld lifer (he started in 1983), Finlay has been the boss of the Random House division for a decade. Along with deputy Bill Scott-Kerr, Finlay oversees a group of publishing's biggest brands, including Lee Child, Dan Brown, Sophie Kinsella and Jilly Cooper. A surprise hit this year was Kate McCann's Madeleine, which has shifted £2.5m through the TCM.
Hay Festival, director
It may not be the UK's biggest festival, but since launching Hay in 1988, Florence has built it into arguably the world's biggest festival brand. As well as expanding the Hay international businesses, Florence has kept the main event thriving—with ticket sales for 2011 up by 15% year on year.
Anthony Forbes Watson
Pan Macmillan, m.d.
Pan Mac is prospering even in the teeth of the recession—up around 15% for the year to date through BookScan. It has one of the sharpest digital teams under Sara Lloyd, and there have been new launches with Maria Rejt's Mantle imprint and Bello, an e-book venture with Curtis Brown. Kate Morton, Emma Donoghue, Julia Donaldson and Wilbur Smith have had hits, and while Alan Hollinghurst missed out on the Booker, his The Stranger's Child was one of the literary events of the year.
Rights House, co-c.e.o
Foster and partner Matthew Freud's MF Management took over Peters Fraser & Dunlop in 2010 to create the Rights House, the very model of a modern major media agency, combining the literary (headed by PFD's high-profile Caroline Michel), and showbiz (Foster's clients include Chris Evans and Billie Piper).
Profile Books, publisher and managing director
Few indie publishers have a list that could include both Alain de Botton and a business book by rapper 50 Cent. But that sort of eclectic publishing has defined Profile since Franklin set it up in 1996 (a mould which Serpent's Tail, acquired in 2007, fits comfortably in). It's been an excellent year, with Alan Bennett's Smut, a tie-in boost for Lionel Shriver's We Need to Talk About Kevin, and its first Booker-shortlisted title, Esi Edugyan's Half Blood Blues.
Jonathan Cape, publishing director
Franklin has edited the last two Booker winners (Julian Barnes and Howard Jacobson—although he was at Bloomsbury for the latter's winning book), and is simply one of the business' most respected literary editors.
William Morris Entertainment, head of books
Part of the WME team for close to 15 years, Furniss was made head of books at the agency in 2007, following Caroline Michel's departure to PFD. Alongside Cathryn Summerhayes, Furniss looks after a wide range of clients, from Piers Morgan and Russell Brand to Judy Blume. Working closely with their US colleagues, the pair punch above their weight, selling British rights to big-name US authors and jointly handling home-grown talent.
Curtis Brown, m.d. books division
It has been a particularly good year for A-list agent Geller, who helped David Nicholls become the star of 2011. Joining Curtis Brown as an assistant before becoming an agent in 1995, Geller represents some of publishing's bestselling authors, from John le Carré to Adele Parks.
Author and library campaigner
Hell's Underground author Gibbons has been a forceful campaigner for libraries since he launched his Campaign for the Book three years ago. The straight-talking northerner has ramped up his support for libraries in the past year in an attempt to stave off cuts, and is a driving force behind National Libraries Day, which will launch in February 2012.
The Book People, c.e.o.
It has been a busy year at TBP, the direct seller launched in 1988 by Glaister and chairman Ted Smart. The company recruited six newcomers, including former Waterstone's children's range buyer Claudia Mody as a buyer for Red House, TBP Children's consumer-facing book club. Despite a decline in profits in 2010, Glaister has forecasted that 2011 will be a “year of growth” for the company.
Booksellers Association, c.e.o
The voice of UK booksellers since the 1970s, last year was a busy one for Godfray and his team, overseeing the launch of IndieBound, the independent bookselling movement. This year has been equally busy, with Godfray opposing Amazon's Book Depository takeover, urging the government to protect bookshops and demanding a change in business rates for charity shops.
World Book Day, director
Grant—previously marketing and campaigns director at Puffin, and responsible for some of its biggest promotions, such as the Puffin 70th and Very Hungry Caterpillar 40th anniversaries—was appointed director of WBD in August. At the time, she promised to make arguably the UK trade's most successful celebration of reading “bigger and even more exciting than ever before”.
John Smith, chairman and c.e.o
The received wisdom—and some of the hard data—says that academic booksellers in the digital age are an endangered species. Yet John Smith, under Gray's deft leadership, has nimbly adapted to the current climate. Sales are up, and profits (yes, profits) have risen by 5.4% over the previous year.
Tim Hely Hutchinson
Hachette UK c.e.o.
The staff at Hachette sing the praises of Hely Hutchinson so often that you might think that the boss of the UK's biggest publishing group has had the Kool Aid in the Hachette break rooms spiked. But the respect is hard-on—he has been a top-level publisher since launching Headline 25 years ago, and he is not afraid to stick his neck out on the big industry issues like agency pricing.
The group does have a Stephenie Meyer-sized hole in its revenues—it was down 16% for the first half of 2011 through BookScan, the group's worst half-year result since 2003. Yet those figures do not tell the digital story, and Hely Hutchinson indicated that total digital group revenue would be 10% by the end of this year. Of course, David Nicholls' One Day (Hodder) has been the bestselling book of the year, Martina Cole has done the business with The Family (Headline), while Sarah Winman's When God Was a Rabbit has been this year's One Day-ish word-of-mouth hit.
Heyday Films, founder
Heyman is the man responsible for turning the story of J K Rowling's boy wizard into the most successful film adaptation series of all time (over $7bn worldwide box office gross for the Harry Potter films and counting). His next project is Mark Haddon's The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, and there are rumours that he will adapt Erin Morgenstern's The Night Circus.
Hodder Headline, c.e.o.
Hodder-Williams has comfortably slotted into the overall top spot of the combined group, aided by Headline m.d. Jane Morpeth. Since Hodder-Williams took over, there have been the launches of imprints (Two Roads, the trans-Atlantic Mulholland Drive, the relaunch of Cornonet), John Grisham (whose YA books Hodder publishes) jumped ship from Random House, and the company has had notable successes, including Pierre Dukan's diet books and Jean Auel's Land of Painted Caves—although it is fair to say that Jeffery Deaver's take on the James Bond franchise, Carte Blanche, did not meet expectations. And, of course, there is One Day, still near the top of the charts some three years after publication.
Taylor & Francis Group, c.e.o.
Academic behemoth T&F, whom Horton has led since 1998, could be the poster child of the digital revolution; its Che Guevara, if you will. Parent company Informa's (to whom T&F contributes about a quarter of its $1.2bn revenue) growth plan is based on digitisation, with 74% of its 2010 publishing revenue coming from digital.
Random House, deputy c.e.o.
The shrewd and brainy number two at the UK's second largest publisher, Hudson ably juggles its digital, operations, strategy and commercial teams. He is a bullish defender of the publisher in the digital age. For publishers to survive, says Hudson, they must throw caution to the wind and continue to innovate.
Husain has been the calm hand on the tiller at Foyles for so long that its former reputation as a quirky but infuriating bookshop is a distant memory. New branches at Westfield Stratford City and Bristol are its biggest moves in 2011, although it did exit from its One New Change branch when an opportunity arose. Future plans include moving the flagship Charing Cross Road branch down the road to a larger, more modern premises.
Colman Getty, founder and c.e.o.
The Man Booker Prize was more high-profile than usual this year, with columnists and book clubbers alike chewing over the judges' decisions—and Irving and her PR agency were at the centre of it all, managing the storm. Representing Pan Macmillan, World Book Day and Jeffrey Archer for starters, CG seems to remain unflappable.
Gardners Books, commercial director
Jackson has been the leading man in Gardners' leap into direct-to-consumer bookselling this year with Hive, an internet site selling books which also gives independent retailers who are members a renumeration on the products sold. Hive also became the first platform in the UK to sell Google e-books, and the company has partnered with Baker & Taylor to use Blio, a free reading e-books application.
Hachette Children's, m.d.
The Children's market has been arguably the flagship success story of 2011, outperforming the rest of the market in the first half of the year. Johnson remains a shrewd and dynamic leader, supporting reading by linking up with Tesco this year to give away book packs to schools, moving strongly on digital and continuing to build brands such as Charlie and Lola and the Vampire Diaries.
Cengage Learning, c.e.o. EMEA
The education powerhouse formerly known as Thomson Learning (the name, it may not surprise you, is of American origin) has expanded its reach in Jones' territory with nearly double-digit organic growth since she took over in 2008. Major acquisitions in the last three years include Marshall Cavendish's ELT business in 2009 and Nelson Thornes' nursing and health list this year.
W H Smith high street, head of non-fiction and digital books,
Keir has been spearheading WHS' digital initiatives, which includes partnering with O2 to bring customers a free app allowing them to buy a WHS “pick-of-the-week” book for half-price. But the big WHS digital announcement has been the link-up with Kobo to sell its e-reader through its shops, giving customers access to Kobo's 2.2 million-strong e-books database through the WHS website.
United Agents, director
One of the founders of UA, Kirby has had a stonking 2011 thanks to his burgeoning client list, which includes celebrity clients such as Dawn French, Ricky Gervais and Rob Brydon, alongside authors Anthony Horowitz and Joe Abercrombie. The Bookseller Industry Awards Agent of the Year has also embraced the challenges of the new digital age, and successfully helped monetise the YouTube sensation “Simon's Cat”, created by client Simon Tofield.
Sheil Land, c.e.o.
This year, Land has been on the front-line of digital rights and royalties battles, having struck one of the first blows in March by signing a deal directly with Amazon to release Catherine Cookson's e-books. In May, Random House cut out Land in a deal to publish the digital backlist of Tom Sharpe, who Sheil Land has represented for over 30 years. At the time, Land's statement called for publishers to “share more equitably in the profits from e-books”. Watch this space.
Part of the new breed of traditionally and self-published authors, which in the UK also includes the writing team of Louise Voss and Mark Edwards. Last year Leather, whose traditionally published books have sold over £4.1m through BookScan, took two titles turned down by his regular publisher Hodder and self-published them on the Amazon Kindle programme, topping the Amazon e-book chart and at one point selling over 2,000 e-books a day.
Little, Brown, c.e.o. and publisher
There has been a year on year decline for L,B as it feels the loss of Stephenie Meyer. But the publisher is still barrelling along, with hits from Patricia Cornwell, Gregg Hurwitz and Mark Billingham. New PA president Mackenzie herself acquired arguably L,B's book of the year, Walter Isaacson's Steve Jobs biography.
Penguin Group, chairman and c.e.o.
The eminently unflappable Makinson goes from strength to strength as the head of Penguin Group. It is harder than ever in a recession for a large business in a mature market to grow, so Makinson should be lauded for making Penguin the only publisher among the Big Four to have sales growth in the first half of this year.
He is refreshingly straight-talking for a corporate boss, telling the Frankfurt Book Fair this year that buying books from a bricks-and-mortar shop was "economically irrational", but stressing his confidence in publisher's ability to offer an enticing product. Yet he still has faith in the independent bookshop he owns with his brother in Holt, Norfolk. Things can't be all bad.
The secretive billionaire (is there any other kind?) benefactor behind Waterstone's once traded books in the former Soviet Union's grey market. While his courting of Waterstone's once HMV made it available was well-known, he surprised the trade by installing James Daunt at the helm of the company. He seems a far more enthusiastic owner of the chain than the HMV Group was; in a rare interview he said Waterstone's was “important for UK society”.
The Reading Agency, c.e.o.
The energetic and passionate McKearney has a big task on her hands as she seeks to keep reader development programmes flourishing in public libraries despite the heavy staffing cutbacks seen in some local authorities. But 780,000 children took part in the TRA's flagship Summer Reading Challenge this year—an increase of 20,000 on last year's figure.
Publishers Association, c.e.o.
Mollet has been a solid and insistent voice in support of copyright over the past year, collating the publishing world's evidence for the ongoing Hargreaves Review and, most recently, testifying in Parliament, maintaining the importance of copyright as a driver for growth.
Morpeth led the celebrations to mark Headline's 25th birthday earlier this year, having been with the publisher for almost all of that time, and is now in her second year as m.d. As well as the anniversary, other highlights of 2011 included début When God Was a Rabbit, plus bestsellers from core Headliners Andrea Levy, Daisy Goodwin and Martina Cole, who has now joined the elite group of authors whose books have sold more than £50m worth.
The novelist and Orange Prize co-founder has been one of the many authors who this year found a new role as an eloquent public advocate for the library service. She is included here for her sterling service in the media, and there are a roster of other names—Alan Bennett, Joanna Trollope, Patrick Ness and Julian Barnes to name just a few—who deserve similar plaudits.
Hilary Murray Hill
Scholastic Children's Books, m.d.
Former sales boss Murray Hill took over the reigns at Scholastic in 2009 in a difficult time, with the company facing redundancies and record losses. That has turned around under Murray Hill, helped by the likes of Julia Donaldson and new YA blood Maggie Stiefvater, plus a revamped and revitalised Scholastic Book Club.
Twenty-five years after its launch, Bloomsbury is settling nicely into post-Potter life (although Rowling still accounted for almost 15% of its TCM revenue this year). E-book sales rose 564% in the first half of the year to £2.5m, and in May it launched e-book imprint Bloomsbury Reader. The acquisition programme continues apace; this summer Bloomsbury shelled out £20m to buy academic group Continuum.
It is, of course, difficult to overstate Amazon's influence on the trade. In Britain it controls perhaps a quarter of the overall books market, 75% of online book sales and maybe 80% (or more?) of the e-book market. Amazon is crucial on pricing, and its moves into publishing and self-publishing may change the very fabric of the book trade.
In 2012, North and Amazon will have more competition, particularly on the device front, with the W H Smith/Kobo link, a likely Waterstone's e-reader and perhaps even the UK launch of the Nook. Yet with the Kindle Fire tablet launching this month, and The Book Depository acquisition seemingly going through, Amazon looks certain to maintain its enviable market share.
Nielsen Book, president
It has been a busy year for Nowell and his Nielsen number crunchers: its “BookScan for libraries” service LibScan continues to grow and new territories have been added, including BookScan India. But Nowell's main goal may be providing the UK with a much anticipated e-book chart, following the arrival of the US Nielsen/Wall Street Journal American bestseller list this autumn.
Faber & Faber, c.e.o. and publisher
After record revenues in 2010, Page continues Faber's transformation into a cutting-edge modern publisher. Faber Digital produces award-winning (and profitable!) apps; its digital services for indies Faber Factory has expanded; and the Faber Academy writing courses have provided new revenue streams. Backlist remains key: Faber's two bestselling titles this year by value are Kazuo Ishiguro's tie-in boosted Never Let Me Go and William Golding's Lord of the Flies.
Oxford University Press, c.e.o.
Lured back to the UK from Pearson US a couple of years ago to his “dream job” as OUP boss, Portwood has certainly been delivering the goods, with record turnover (£646.8m) and profit (a jaw-dropping, albeit largely tax-free, £113.9m) in 2010/11. Portwood has instituted a new management structure, including installing Pam Sutherland as head of OUP's digital businesses.
When promoted to the top spot by boss Toby Blackwell in May, the well-respected Prescott said he wanted to bring Blackwell back to profitability within two years. A tough ask, but Blackwell is at least on the right track, this year halving its previous year losses to £5.6m. Prescott is already looking for new ways of generating income, including the 2011 launch of a textbook rental programme.
Random House, group sales and marketing director
Under the savvy Prior, Random House Group UK strengthened its sales team with a series of promotions, most of which aimed to ensure RH's stake in the digital sphere. Deputy group sales director Ed Christie will now be leading the online sales team for physical and digital books, and Transworld UK's Martin Higgins was promoted to Ebury sales and development director.
Dark Materials author Pullman turned serious library campaigner this year. At an event against the closure of libraries in Oxfordshire, he gave a speech that soon went viral and helped give a unified voice to the fight to save libraries. He passionately declared that government should “leave the libraries alone . . . they are too precious to destroy”.
Penguin Digital, m.d.
In March, Penguin said it was going to treble its investment in digital content in 2011 and its digital team, led by Rafferty, has since been very busy indeed. Next month will see the launch of a digital series of exclusive short works called Penguin Shorts and a new app, Me Books, which enables parents to personalise picture books.
Random House, chairman and c.e.o.
Dame Gail celebrates her 20th year at the top of Random in a corporate climate where the average c.e.o.'s time in charge is roughly equivalent to a Premier League football manager's. You could say, therefore, Rebuck is publishing's answer to Sir Alex Ferguson. A solid year at the RH group—thanks to James Patterson, John Grisham, Kate Atkinson and Kate McCann's Madeleine—was topped by two autumn cherries: Christopher Paolini's blockbuster Inheritance and Julian Barnes' Booker-winner The Sense of An Ending.
Like most of the big trade groups, e-books are claiming a bigger slice of the revenue. In RH's half-year results, Rebuck said that 10% of revenues come from digital, and that the company had lifetime sales of three million e-books, along with a catalogue of 7,000 digital titles.
In November, former HarperCollins digital boss Redmayne took on what may be the most exciting role in digital publishing. As head of Pottermore, he will help re-imagine the magic of Harry Potter for the e-book world. Still in beta, the Pottermore site—part social media site, part J K Rowling fan club, part digital book content platform—will go fully live in early 2012.
Hachette UK, deputy group c.e.o./Orion c.e.o.
Head honcho at Orion since 2004, Roche was one of the publisher's founding members. Estimating in February that Orion's e-book sales would grow substantially in 2011, Hachette UK's number two also suggested that e-books were “welcome”, but cautioned that they will put “more of a strain on bricks-and-mortar shops”.
Cactus TV, m.d.
Richard and Judy who? The woman behind the Noughties' biggest TV book club has barely slowed down since parting from the chat show couple. Ross is the force driving the Galaxy National Book Awards, the Specsavers Crime Thriller Awards and “The TV Book Club”. Next year seems to be even busier, with a children's book show in the pipeline.
HarperCollins, group digital director and publisher
With a publishing background that includes an editing role at Scribner and a position at literary agency International Creative Management, Roth-Ey was named group digital director and publisher for HarperCollins UK in 2010. App successes include the SAS Survival Guide and Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall.
W H Smith, business unit director for books
Russell's books division had one of the trade's biggest promotions of the year, with the return of the Richard & Judy book club, exclusive to WHS. Titles on the spring edition of the club churned out £4.6m through BookScan during the length of the promotion. In October, WHS announced its partnership with Kobo to launch the UK's first wi-fi touch-screen e-reader; with over 1,000 stores to promote the devices in, it could challenge the Kindle.
Led by Sandon, Random House division Cornerstone has had a big year in 2011. James Patterson had another grand year—six books in the top 150 bestsellers by value—though John Grisham's decision to follow editor Oliver Johnson to Hodder has been a blow. In e-books, Cornerstone released its first direct-to-digital fiction title, a short work by bestseller Karin Slaughter, and Sandon herself got her own back for publishers, signing Tom Sharpe up to publish his backlist digitally, circumventing agent Sonia Land.
Texas-born Dame Marjorie has been a City darling, astutely keeping Pearson at its number one position in the top of the publishing world for yet another year. It's also been a year of digital change; in September, Pearson announced that it was adopting an open-source approach to digital content, making its proprietary content available to third-party digital developers.
Independent Publishers Guild, executive director
Next year will be the IPG's 50th. It boasts 520 publisher members, with collective turnover of about £500m. Shine, who has been leading the IPG since 2004, has continued to champion the cause of indies, and was a key voice in the opposition against Amazon's acquisition of The Book Depository.
Waterstone's, campaigns manager
It's been a period of dramatic change for the staff of Waterstone's and Skipper, previously children's buyer, now leads the new titles team, which is responsible for buying all of the chain's new titles. The team has four buyers: Chris White and Mark Burgess (responsible for fiction), Richard Humphreys (non-fiction), and Melissa Cox (children's).
It's been an interesting year for the publishing home of the Stieg. Quercus saw an inevitable slowdown in sales in 2011 of the Larsson phenomenon, but still managed to increase profit and grow digital sales seven-fold as well as launching two new imprints: Heron Books and Jo Fletcher Books.
You can forgive Bounce the exclamation point—it is, after all, a firm specialising in children's books. Still, the name does convey the energy Snuggs has brought to the trade since he founded his specialist sales and marketing service in 2002. Bounce represents 30 publishers (15 exclusively), and his team has an unparalleled knack of getting books onto shelves.
Society of Authors, general secretary
Taking over from Mark le Fanu, who retired in March, former lawyer Solomon is already proving a staunch defender for authors, speaking out on royalty rates, agents acting as publishers and the Amazon/The Book Depository merger.
Asda, books buyer
Asda's books policy, as it is for the rest of its products, is price-driven. Whatever you think of that, it works; price promotions helped increase volume for last year by over one million units year on year.
The Bookcase, Lowdham, owner/Booksellers Association, president
Streeter has forcefully used her BA bully pulpit to call for greater support from publishers and distributors to fight the growing pressures on indies. She has lobbied publishers to see booksellers as “real partners” in selling e-books, and helped to set up a new cross-industry shadowing programme for booksellers and publishers.
Oxford University Press, chief information officer
Former Oxford Journals operations director Sutherland was made OUP's first ever c.i.o. last year, a role with responsibility for all of the publisher's IT strategy, coordinating cross-divisional digital initiatives, and developing in-house technological skills. It is perhaps the widest digital remit in the business, encompassing journals platforms, consumer-facing apps, and the OED Online.
Ingram Content Group, senior vice-president, content acquisition international/Lightning Source, group managing director
One of Taylor's first jobs in the book trade was mowing then-boss Toby Blackwell's lawn. He has come a long way since, now building publisher relations for Ingram and heading Lightning Source's burgeoning print-on-demand, digital file creation and—look away if you want to avoid the buzz words—publishing solutions business.
As boss of Macmillan's trade, academic and education groups outside of the US, Thomas controls an empire of that spans five continents and generates roughly €850m (£729,) a year (German parent Von Holtzbrinck does not strip out Macmillan from its annual results). The whole UK Macmillan family will soon be coming together; in November, Thomas announced the decision to bring Macmillan, Nature Group, Pan Mac and Palgrave Macmillan into one central London campus.
Topping & Company, owner
Every bookseller who has had to set up a centrally ordered BOGOF or three-for-two display probably dreams of becoming Robert Topping. Infamously sacked from running Deansgate Manchester in 2000 for refusing to follow head office buying dictums, he successfully stuck up two fingers to the man and opened two cracking indpendents in Ely and Bath.
Man Booker prize, literary director
This year's Booker judges certainly got up the nose of the literary chattering classes, who collectively seemed to think that Alan Hollinghurst and Edward St Aubyn had a divine right to be shortlisted for the award. The ensuing brouhaha—the "dumbing down" accusations, judges chair Stella Rimington's "deal with it" attitude—merely stoked the flames. Booker boss Trewin handled the whole rumpus with aplomb. It helps that he has seen it all: as literary director since 2006, a Booker judge when literary editor of the Times and editor of a Booker winner (Thomas Keneally) when at Orion.
Just after the award, Trewin wrapped up another decade's worth of funding commitment from the Man group. This will allow him to continue the stellar work on digital developments, increased marketing, careful brand extensions (International Man Booker, Lost Man Booker Prize etc), and ensure that the Booker will continue to be the most talked-about British (and perhaps global) literary prize for some time to come.
Underhill joined Bertrams in 1975, managing a number of depots before moving to its head office in 1997, and was appointed to the top job in July by parent Smiths News. It's been a hectic time for the new m.d.—one of his immediate jobs is integrating academic library supply business Dawson Books, which Smiths bought for £20m in June.
Usborne Books, founder
Usborne's company has been on a remarkable upward trajectory of profits and turnover in every year since he founded the company in 1975. It continues apace; revenue through BookScan has been up 28% in the first half of 2011. Internationally, its co-edition business is thriving and inroads have been made in territories like Brazil and Russia.
Ed Victor Ltd, founder
Not one to rest on his literary laurels, Victor, an agenting legend with one of the most impressive client and estate lists in the game (Eoin Colfer, Nigella Lawson, Raymond Chandler among others), stirred the publishing pot this May and controversially launched his own e-book and print-on-demand venture, Bedford Square Books. Focusing initially on putting back into circulation out-of-print books, or those on which the rights have reverted, BSB has been partnering with Open Road in the US.
All of this, alongside the new revenue stream coming from the eponymous Speakers Bureau (launched earlier this year and run by Charlie Campbell, with the aim of securing speaking engagements for clients), ensures that Ed Victor Ltd is poised to continue to thrive in the industry's new age.
Hachette UK, head of digital
Promoted to head of digital in 2009, Walkley has developed a strong team—including digital operations director Sarah Lambert, digital development director Matthew Cashmore and digital promotion manager Kate Adams—to help bolster Hachette's digital strategy. So far, so good: the group has quadrupled its e-book sales in the first quarter of 2011.
Penguin UK, c.e.o.
Jamie Oliver was king of 2010, and his 30-Minute Meals is still the biggest selling book of 2011 in value terms. Oliver is one of an incredibly diverse portfolio of successful authors thriving under Weldon's watch. Dubbed the “student prince” when he was appointed John Makinson's understudy two years ago, Weldon has presided over record results since becoming overall Penguin UK chief in January. Yet Penguin is not standing still—expect more investment in the recession-proof children's market in the year ahead, as well as digital developments.
Midas PR, c.e.o. and co-founder
The triple-headed Midas—Williams, co-founder and chairman Tony Mulliken and c.e.o. Jack Thomas—continues win friends and influence people for their varied books client base, including the BA, London Book Fair and Reed Exhibitions, Sharjah Book Fair, the Galaxy Book Awards, Mills & Boon, Severn House, plus authors like Peter James.
Amazon, European director at Kindle
Amazon and the Kindle has multiplied its empire in 2011, particularly in Europe: entering the German market with 650,000 Kindle titles in April; the Spanish market in September with books promised for the end of the year; and the French market in October with 825,000 e-books. While its third quarter results showed an uncharacteristic 73% profit slump, this was attributed to investment in the new Kindle Fire and Touch.
Amazon, senior manager for Kindle
Another of Amazon's high-powered UK Kindle team. Worth, previously Amazon's head of books, was promoted to lead its UK Kindle department in a reshuffle across the books team designed to focus more on expanding the e-tailer's share of the UK digital market.
W H Smith Travel, books trading controller
WHS Travel broke company records by increasing operating profit by 8% in 2011 (to August), while total sales in a tough bookselling climate rose by 1%. WHS Travel continues to expand internationally, opening 60 outlets this year in areas such as Australia, India and the Middle East.
BBC, creative director
Yentob was the main driver for Books on the BBC, the massive cross-media promotion which famously included the World Book Night coverage; adaptations of The Crimson Petal and the White and Women in Love on TV and Wuthering Heights and The Moonstone on radio; and a welter of book-related documentaries. This will continue in 2012, particularly with the year-long celebration of Dickens' 200th anniversary.