Carys Bray: Interview
A brief synopsis of a novel...
Porter Anderson meets Jacks Thomas
Not unlike walking onto the...
Joanna Rakoff: Interview
“We need to talk abou...
Agents' key titles for LBF: Part Two
Johnson & Alcock brings...
Porter Anderson meets Dougal Thomson
In a recent blog post on Fu...
The Bookseller 100
30.11.12 | Bookseller News Team
The Bookseller 100
In association with:
In the numerous meetings and strategy sessions needed to compile The Bookseller 100 this year—our annual list of the leaders, influencers and movers and shakers in the industry—one unassailable fact came up again and again: there is a lot of talent in the trade. Almost too much to whittle down to 100.
But needs must, and after robust debate we present our 2012 ton. What defines our 100? It is not an exact science, of course—it is an almost alchemical combination of size of business, entrepreneurship, crusading voice or pivotal role in the industry. It is a list based on this year’s performance, but it also looks ahead to 2013. One steadfast rule, though: it is a British-based list; entries have to be headquartered or do the bulk of their business here. So though many outsiders have a role to play in Britain (Jeff Bezos and Kobo’s Mike Serbinis to name two), they are excluded.
An interesting trend—and one that also occurred on The Bookseller’s “up and comer” list Rising Stars, published in September—is that people from other walks of life see books as a growth industry. From former Goldman Sachs man Simon Johnson to ex-BBC staffer Max Whitby, outsiders are piling in with fresh ideas and business models.
Suzy Astbury, m.d. of recruiting firm Inspired Selection, says that this certainly chimes with her company’s experience. “As we have seen from the recent talks of mergers, publishing leaders are looking to consolidate to become stronger and more targeted in what they are delivering, and how they deliver it. With news of these mergers going global, we see that publishing is fast becoming more attractive to talent from outside the industry.”
As to the make-up of The Bookseller 100 in 2012, there are 35 women; nothing approaching equality, but our highest number yet (reached, it should be underscored, by a process that had nothing to do with quotas and everything to do with merit). Thirty-one new entries hit the list (another record), there are eight re-entries and 31 “evergreens”, people who have featured on all four of The Bookseller 100 lists to date.
Just over half (52) are publishers: eight of whom come from the academic and education sector; a record nine are from children’s; and the rest are loosely from the adult trade side—although many of those trade entries include board-level positions with responsibilities that spill over into these other areas (Nigel Newton and Tim Hely Hutchinson are prominent examples). There are 15 retailers, and it is heartening to see, after the past few years of decline in the number of routes to market, new entrants Fin Casey and Patrick Rouvillois establishing their businesses in the UK.
For the first time, we have included The Bookseller 101st—a person whom we believe put their stamp on the industry in the past year, and deserves special mention. To find out who it is, turn to page 29.
List compiled by a Bookseller team led by Tom Tivnan and Felicity Wood.
Pan Macmillan, art and design director
Since moving to Pan Mac from HarperCollins in 2010, Annal has sharpened a top-notch design team into one of the trade’s best. Recent highlights include London Unfurled, an accordion-style panorama of the capital, The School of Life series branding, and rejacketing for Edward St Aubyn and Don DeLillo.
Faber, sales and marketing director
The éminence grise of the Faber-led Independent Alliance and Faber Factory, the digital distribution service for indies which has grown from 18 publishers at launch in 2010 to over 100, and this year launched a direct-to-consumer arm. Atkinson is taking the lead on the publisher’s rebrand strategy which will be rolled out in 2013.
Edinburgh International Book Festival, director
Barley continues to ramp up the UK’s biggest book fest (a record 225,000 punters attended in 2012). This year’s varied line-up (including Hilary Mantel, Julia Donaldson and Nobel-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz) was augmented by the launch of the British Council-partnered symposium Edinburgh World Writers’ Conference, a programme set to roll out to other festivals.
Overall, it has been a stonking year for Barnsley and HarperCollins, the reigning Bookseller Industry Awards Publisher of the Year. Hilary Mantel won the Booker for a second time, David Walliams continues his rise to children’s book superstardom, and Barnsley said the bottom line has been “strong” (HC does not break out UK performance).
Digital has been particularly robust, with e-book sales rising 250% year on year. A slew of apps were launched to tie in with “The Hobbit” film next month, and HC even won a BIC award for the industry’s best metadata.
Meanwhile, a shake-up to the executive team saw Belinda Budge leave after two decades with HC, and former gaming entrepreneur Nick Perrett joining as group strategy and digital director. It has not been all rosy; problems with the Glasgow distribution centre have rumbled on throughout 2012, though they have largely been ironed out.
What 2013 will bring is a huge question mark. At the time of writing, HC/Simon & Schuster merger talks are in the air, but a merger or acquisition would seem to be inevitable if HC is to continue to compete with the Penguin Random House supergroup.
SAGE, international president
It has been a busy year for the three-hatted Barr (international president, UK m.d. and global sales director). He has helped lead the social sciences publisher to a record year in turnover, while it has added over 30 journals to its 650-strong portfolio, launched an e-book store and acquired publisher Adam Matthew.
BBC, commissioning editor, arts
Though the Beeb is reeling post-Savile, it should not detract from Bell’s department’s excellent cultural schedule, and the boost various programmes have on book sales. Highlights this year include “Birdsong”, a Dickens bicentenary strand, the Cultural Olympiad and the resuscitation of little-known classics such as Ford Madox Ford’s Parade’s End.
The Blair Partnership, founder
Not many agents have “theme parks” as part of their portfolio. Besides J K Rowling, one struggles to see any other TBP clients getting their own adventure playground, but this is just one example of the forward-thinking, 360° vision that has been the hallmark of TBP since its inception in 2010.
Cornerstone, director of publicity and media relations
E L James did not just hatch fully formed upon the trade like a gimp-suited Botticelli Venus. Yes, there was pre-publicity from the US, but no guarantee that the trilogy would work here. Enter Bush and Century publicity director Natalie Higgins who expertly, err, whipped up a frenzied excitement prior to publication and, more importantly, kept the momentum going during James’ record-breaking 2012.
It has not been the most scintillating year for Canongate’s fortunes, primarily due to the hit it had to take as Julian Assange reneged on his book deal. Still there was Byng-led publishing brio (David Byrne’s How Music Works, a Scarlett Thomas backlist revamp, Jeremy Dyson’s The Haunted Book) and, as World Book Night’s spirit guide, Byng remains the trade’s cheerleader-in-chief.
Sainsbury’s, buying manager
Another year, another year-on-year rise in book sales for Sainsbury’s, thanks to a commitment from above and astute buying from Carroll and his team. A big backlist investment (backlist range expanded from 70 to 700 titles in the past year) paid dividends, exclusive deals were signed with Joan Collins and “Great British Bake-Off” winner Jo Wheatley, and the company launched its own-brand children’s range.
LS Travel Retail UK & Ireland, m.d.
At a time when physical bookshops are disappearing, former W H Smith man Casey is leading LS’ expansion into the UK. In 2012, the French-owned subsidiary increased its foothold into airport shops, partnered with Lonely Planet to open a Manchester Airport store, and opened a Watermark shop in King’s Cross station—the first of what it says will be 70 outlets throughout the British Isles.
Simon & Schuster, m.d.
In his tenure at the top, Chapman has steadily moved S&S from being an outpost of its US parent to a British powerhouse: indeed, last year’s revenue topped £50m for the first time. A ramped-up sport list has worked a charm in this Olympic year, while children’s has become a particular focus: high-profile scalps include bringing Darren Shan and Cassandra Clare into the fold.
Bloomsbury, executive director
It is five years since Nigel Newton brought Charkin to Bloomsbury to spearhead growth through “acquisitions, new publishing areas and international expansion”. He has certainly done that: a key acquisition in the past year was the £19.2m purchase of Continuum, which has boosted the accelerating academic division (it accounts for around 25% of Bloomsbury’s annual revenue).
Head of Zeus, founder
After a wrenching split with Atlantic (following a similar bust-up with Quercus), many thought Cheetham might hang up his spurs. But the legendary publisher has burst back onto the scene with the biggest start-up this year, signing up Robert K Massie, Fay Weldon and US crime author Dana Stabenow for its 2012 launch, with an estimated 40 books coming in 2013.
W H Smith, head of high street
The WHS c.e.o.-in-waiting, Clarke will take over the top spot when Kate Swann steps down next June. It will be a daunting task; Swann raised profits by cutting costs (much to the delight of the City), yet group turnover has not risen since 2008. What Clarke does with the high-street division—it generates less profit from greater sales when compared to Travel, despite having six times the shelf space—will be key.
The Guardian, online books editor
It is tough times in newspaper lit-land with declining readership and loss of advertising making the books pages at best a declining force, at worst an irrelevance. Online, however, literature is arguably stronger than ever, with millions of readers keen to give their two cents—most notably on the Guardian’s buzzy books pages, astutely helmed by Crown.
After 18 months in the Waterstones trenches, Daunt is finding his range. The Kindle deal was a genuine shock for many in the business, but Daunt’s singular ambition to deliver what his customers want within a bookish environment is slowly taking hold, making sense and, most importantly, convincing customers to shop in stores nationwide.
In a recent interview with The Bookseller Daunt was bullish about Christmas. The economic environment was better, he said, and he reserved praise for publishers’ terrific lists, tailor-made for the chain.
The refurbished stores are also performing well, surprising even Daunt. “I am extremely motivated to keep the shops open and keep booksellers employed,” he has said. Not everyone in the publishing business is convinced Daunt can pull off this trick, but many people share his motivation.
Random House Children’s Books, m.d.
A busy year at RHCB saw Vintage Classics’ new children’s list and continued sales success for stalwarts such as Jacqueline Wilson and the Stardoll franchise. A successful strand has been converting RH group adult authors (Andy McNab, Kathy Reichs) into children’s authors, as well as getting some outside-the-box writers (boy band McFly, Radio 2 DJ Simon Mayo).
Author and Children’s Laureate
To coin a phrase, behind every great monster is a great woman. The Gruffalo’s Donaldson (with a little help from regular partner Axel Scheffler) is the queen of the picture-book market, selling an amazing 2.5 million books through the TCM last year, and £65.1m since records began. Her tireless crusading for libraries and literacy as the Waterstones Children’s Laureate deserves the highest praise.
Penguin Children’s, m.d.
Poaching Michele Paver and acquiring Emma Thompson’s Peter Rabbit titles were coups in 2012, but under Dow the UK’s largest children’s publisher is putting much of its innovation and weight behind digital and licensing, leveraging its enviable list of new (Peppa Pig, Moshi Monsters) and heritage (Spot the Dog, Roald Dahl, Moomin) brands. The RH/Penguin merger will mean Dow, fellow 100-ite Dickinson, and their teams will have an interesting 2013.
CourseSmart, m.d., international
The former Random House digital boss (a role for which she was previously on this list) is driving the US-based e-textbook rental services business in Britain and Europe. Since its UK soft launch in March, CourseSmart has signed up 12 major textbook publishers, partnered with Blackwell’s and expanded to the Middle East and Africa.
Orion, deputy c.e.o. and group publisher
The brainy fixer behind the scenes at Orion since 1998, Edwards and his company are enjoying an excellent 2012 buoyed by The Hairy Bikers, Kate Mosse’s Citadel and Vina Jackson erotica. Edwards cut his teeth as an SFF editor, so it is no surprise that he has been one of driving forces behind imprint Gollancz’s SF e-book hub SF Gateway.
BBC, commissioning editor Radio 4
As the woman who decides what goes on Radio 4’s “Book of the Week”, Ellison’s imprimatur has arguably a greater effect week in, week out on book sales than any other person in the media. A selection of recent titles which used the coveted spot as a springboard to the charts include Mark Forsyth’s The Etymologicon (Icon), Ben Macintyre’s Double Cross (Bloomsbury) and Simon Garfield’s On the Map (Profile).
In three years in charge, Engstrom has steadied the Elsevier ship, ignoring calls from some investors to break up parts of the world’s second-largest publisher, delivering underlying growth in profits and revenue. The ongoing Open Access debate and the high cost of Elsevier journals—in January over 2,000 academics called for a boycott of Elsevier products because of the issue—remains a problem.
Pearson, c.e.o. international education
Fallon assumes the throne of the world’s biggest publisher on 1st January, taking over from Marjorie Scardino after her 16 years at the top. Fallon’s ascension (rather than John Makinson) perhaps signalled the intention of the Pearson board even before it sold off 53% of Penguin: education is where its priorities are.
As boss of international education—everything outside North America—Fallon certainly did the business. The division had revenues of around £322m when he took over, rising to £1.6bn last year. That growth has been partly due to astute acquisitions, and partly due to expansion into burgeoning new markets that are hungry for education materials.
There are structural decisions to be made, not least for the Financial Times, which Scardino famously said she would sell “over my dead body”. Fallon has indicated he would stick by the FT, but analysts estimate the newspaper group is worth £750m, and it now seems an odder fit for Pearson than Penguin ever did.
It was a big year for some of Transworld’s venerable brands, including Terry Pratchett (a Discworld series rejacket, two new hardbacks) and Joanna Trollope (number ones in both paperback and hardback), but it was new boy S J Watson, with over 350,000 copies sold of Before I go to Sleep, who continues to impress. Next year looks set to be a Lee Child-fest on the back of the Tom Cruise’s “Jack Reacher”, released at the end of 2012.
Hay Festival, director
It may not be Britain’s biggest book festival, but Hay is often the newsiest. At this year’s edition, Ian Rankin announced the return of Rebus, a Hay-on-Wye bookseller kicked up a ruckus (calling for a ban on e-readers), and Florence himself stirred up controversy by decrying the poor quality of publishers’ print books.
Anthony Forbes Watson
Pan Macmillan, m.d.
In the past few years Forbes Watson has led the UK’s fifth-biggest publisher on a steady upward trajectory. A major senior team reshuffle—including installing Jeremy Trevathan as head of all adult publishing, an expanded role for Sara Lloyd and Geoff Duffield assuming the new role of creative director—is aimed at “refocusing” Pan Mac for the changing market.
Furniss Lawton, m.d.
The former William Morris boss, and one of the most respected dealmakers in the business, launched her titular agency in March with ex-PFD agent Rowan Lawton, backed by the massive media and sport management firm James Grant Group. Long-time clients The Hairy Bikers have had a Jamie Oliver-esque year, while a cookery star in the making is 26-year-old Polpetto chef Florence Knight, for whom Furniss recently engineered a two-book deal with Hodder.
Cheltenham Festivals, literary festival director
The new boss for Britain’s oldest book festival did not do too shabbily in her first outing: record ticket sales, an appearance from former UN secretary general Kofi Annan, a strand which saw actors who play literary characters (David Suchet, Benedict Cumberbatch) talk about books, and nabbing one of only three UK public appearances by J K Rowling to promote The Casual Vacancy.
Curtis Brown, joint c.e.o. and m.d., books
The Bookseller Industry Awards’ reigning agent of the year has, of course, a stellar client list including John le Carré, Howard Jacobson and Tracy Chevalier. Yet it is he and chairman Jonathan Lloyd’s stretching the boundaries of what being an agent means—the Curtis Brown Creative writing courses, a “come and pitch to us” Creativity Day at Foyles, the Pan Mac-partnered backlist e-book list Bello—which ensures that the company is on agenting’s cutting edge.
The Book People, c.e.o.
It astonishes that Glaister and founder Ted Smart’s company still remains a bit sub rosa given that it is one of the country’s biggest booksellers: last year it shifted roughly 22 million units for £85m, with like-for-like sales rising 7%. In August, TBP became the first British book retailer to ink a sponsorship deal with a Premier League club. Bangor City FC in the Welsh Premier League, that is.
The Booksellers Association, c.e.o.
In his fourth decade in the BA, Godfray shows no signs of downsizing his campaigning for the organisation’s members. He has rounded on the government for its lack of bookseller involvement in its e-lending review, supported Kobo, Hive and other non-Amazon e-tailers’ “roadshows” for indie shops, and the BA’s flagship promotion, Independent Booksellers Week, had its highest-ever number of participants.
Carlton Books, chairman and founder
Goodman celebrated his company’s 20th year by betting heavily on the Olympics and, like Team GB, winning big. In retrospect it seems a sure thing, but getting 35 official licences—from cheap and cheerful kids’ titles to lavish coffee-table books—was a gutsy gamble, and one that paid dividends.
World Book Day, director
Grant has been in the WBD top job for just over a year, joining from Penguin in August 2011. Under Grant, WBD reverted back to the single-book format, a decision that paid off with sales of £1 WBD titles zooming up by 40%.
The Folio Society, publishing director
Hayden and his team at Folio are part of the growing “books for life” trend, publishers who produce durable, beautiful editions with top-notch design that will sit on shelves centuries after the Kindle has been consigned to the scrapheap. Customers are responding; Folio—formerly an exclusively subscription book club but now open to single purchases—had revenues of nearly £24m last year.
Tim Hely Hutchinson
Hachette UK, c.e.o.
The past 12 months may not have been the best in Hachette UK’s relatively brief history, or in Hely Hutchinson’s long career. This summer the group ceded its BookScan top spot as the UK’s biggest publisher, rolled over by the E L James bulldozer which enabled Random House to claim pole position. When the RH/Penguin merger is completed in 2013, Hachette will permanently lose its number one spot, barring any mergers of its own. Rumours, of course, abound that Hachette is on the acquisitions hunt—and it should be remembered that Hely Hutchinson knows a thing or two about mergers and acquisitions—he assembled the current Hachette group through a series of canny deals.
Though outside of The Hairy Bikers there were no real early 2012 breakouts, and the first half-year revenues were down (-8% year on year, though Hachette was still ahead of budget). Yet things are ramping up with J K Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy (Little, Brown), Ian Rankin’s The Impossible Dead (Orion) and Miranda Hart’s Is it Just Me? (Hodder) leading the Christmas charge.
Headline and Hodder, c.e.o.
The boss of the combined Hodder and Headline business since 2010, his company has enjoyed hits from old faithfuls (Martina Cole, Victoria Hislop, John Grisham) and young-ish guns (Miranda Hart, Pierre Dukan). The Consumer Education business was added to Hodder-Williams’ remit after Hachette sold its Health Sciences and Higher Education to Taylor & Francis in August.
Taylor & Francis, c.e.o.
Horton has been calling the shots at Taylor & Francis since 1995, a time in which he has presided over impressive growth, both organically and through acquisitions. Recent highlights include deals for EarthScan and Hodder’s HE business, and a link-up with Bilbary to put 26,000 T&F e-books for sale and short-term rent on the site.
Random House, deputy c.e.o.
The Random House number two has had a standout year, as has the company, which has been catapulted by the success of Fifty Shades back into prime position in the UK. With the merger between Random House and Penguin, Hudson’s job just got bigger-—he will continue to marshal digital, operations, and strategy, all the while ensuring the mega-merger does not hit any glitches in Brussels.
Foyles might be celebrating its 110th birthday next year, but under Husain it is certainly looking spry. Alongside its newest branches in Westfield Stratford City and Bristol, the mini-chain’s next big adventure will be its 2014 move of the flagship branch to more modern premises further down the Charing Cross Road.
Four Colman Getty, founder and c.e.o.
This year brought with it a name change for Colman Getty—the PR powerhouse became Four Colman Getty in February when Four Communications bought a 60% stake. C.e.o. Irving and m.d. Liz Sich are still very much in charge, however, handling high-profile events such as the Man Booker Prize and World Book Day with trademark efficiency and aplomb.
Gardners, commercial director
The UK’s largest books distributor has continued its heads-on engagement with the digital age in 2012, much of which has been driven by the shrewd Jackson. The Hive, its consumer-facing website for indie booksellers, continues to punch above its weight, while in September Gardners previewed the GoTab, its colour e-reader.
E L James
How on earth did London TV exec Erika Leonard go from writing Twilight fan fiction as “Snowqueens Icedragon” to donning the James pseudonym and surpassing J K Rowling, Dan Brown and Stephenie Meyer to have the biggest year of sales ever for any author (and generating almost as many double entendres in the process)?
Undoubtedly there was some sharp publishing, led by Sonny Mehta at Knopf in the US and RH UK’s four horsewomen of the pornocalypse (see The Bookseller 100 entries for Rebuck, Sandon, Walker and Bush), yet a lot of it was that word-of-mouth phenomenon that caught the public’s imagination. Indeed, Fifty Shades of Grey became the bestselling book in not only the repressed Anglophone world but in sophisticated France. France!
The Fifty Shades trilogy’s eye-popping sales (10.4 million units, £46.4m through BookScan) has led to a boom in me-too publishing (one hopes Sylvia Day, “Vina Jackson” et al have sent James a thank you note, or even 15% of net receipts), and a spike in traditional publishers picking up self-published writers. It has also made erotica (of the tastefully packaged sort) mainstream.
Bonnier UK, c.e.o.
Swedish publishing giant Bonnier has been easing into the UK since 1999, but is now going ahead full steam under Johnson. In 2011, he hired Bloomsbury’s Sarah Odedina to head Hot Key Books, one of the most ambitious children’s start-ups in decades, while 2012 saw licensing deals signed with mega-brands Barbie and Angelina Ballerina, an Indian venture launched with New Delhi’s Research Press, and Mike McGrath’s switch from Quercus to head Templar.
HarperCollins, group managing director
Johnson has had as varied a remit—he’s responsible for HC’s overall strategy for the adult and children’s divisions, its business development, commercial finance, sales and rights—as he has had careers, which included a stint at Goldman Sachs to running a theatre production company. This autumn is proving fruitful with a Mantel Booker boost, Cheryl Cole’s memoir and a David Walliams-led children’s bonanza.
United Agents, director
One of the new breed of modern agencies, it’s been quite a year for Kirby and the UA team—acquiring AP Watt is the cherry on top of a good 12 months. Kirby himself saw success with Anthony Horowitz—his Sherlock Holmes novel House of Silk has had over £1.5m in sales—and Simon’s Cat, the YouTube sensation he successfully helped monetise, which will launch 200 products this fourth quarter.
John Wiley, vice-president for international development
Essentially the Wiley UK boss (though the company works on divisional, not geographic lines), the sauve Kisray’s remit now includes investigating areas for expansion, particularly in the developing world. A 2012 success was the opening in May of Wiley Brasil Editora LTDA, the company’s first permanent outpost in the booming Brazilian market.
Pan Macmillan, digital and communications director
Lloyd is back in the list this year after adding marketing, publicity and external communications to her digital role. With the relaunch of the Pan Mac websites, initiatives such as Bello, and a range of 20p e-bestsellers on its hands, Pan Macmillan is punching above its weight digitally, largely thanks to Lloyd’s years spent in the digital trenches.
Publishing Technology, c.e.o.
Publishing Technology is a software company you need never have heard of, Lossius told a conference recently, though its systems underpin many publishers’ activities. Part Norwegian, Lossius admits he is a slow reader in English, though he is an astute observer of the publishing scene.
Walker Books, group m.d.
After over a decade as president and publisher of Walker’s Boston, MA-based sister company Candlewick Press, American Lotz took on the role of sole m.d. for the group last year (bringing her family across the pond in the process). In her first year, the company has celebrated Where’s Wally?’s 25th anniversary with a slew of publishing, and Jon Klassen’s I Want My Hat Back looks set to become a children’s classic.
Little, Brown, c.e.o. and publisher
Like parent Hachette, LB had a slow start to 2012, but things have picked up a gear this autumn with the likes of J K Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy, and there should be a final Twilight push as the last of the films hits the theatres. Mackenzie has also been a robust PA president, stoutly defending publishing’s corner on e-lending while decrying the 20p e-book.
Simon & Schuster, executive director
It has been MacRae’s commercial nous—and the good people that he brought over with him from Headline—that is part of the reason for S&S’ continued rise. Sport has been a particular growth area in the MacRae years; recent acquisitions have been an Andy Murray biography, a memoir from Irish Olympic gold medal-winning boxer Katie Taylor, while Paul Kimmage’s rugby-themed Engage won the 2012 British Sport Book Awards Book of the Year.
Penguin, chairman and chief executive
A difficult year for Makinson could yet sow the seeds for triumph. Penguin was at the centre of the Department of Justice lawsuit over the transition to the agency model in the US, but Makinson won the backing of his parent Pearson to fight this case, and resist pressure from the European Commission to capitulate over here.
Passed over for the top job at Pearson, Makinson has somehow managed to engineer an equally juicy role, chairman of the combined Penguin Random House. With a court case pending and merger talks with regulators on both sides of the pond expected, Makinson is in for a challenging nine months. Yet, if anything, the difficulties faced in the past 12 months, and Makinson’s robust response to them, has seen his stock rise.
As the 601st-richest person in the world according to Forbes (net worth: $2.1bn), Mamut can afford opening a (presumably) loss-making Russian-language bookshop in Waterstones’ Piccadilly flagship store. More seriously, the oligarch’s investment—or lack thereof—in the physical and digital estate will determine whether the Daunt years are boom or bust.
The Reading Agency, c.e.o.
It’s been a very happy birthday for the Reading Agency, which started in McKearney’s kitchen 10 years ago. From the continued success of its Summer Reading Challenge—which helped 55,000 children sign up to libraries last year—to the recent launch of Reading Groups for Everyone, McKearney’s impassioned work has expanded the reach of this charity year on year.
Egmont, senior vice-president English Language and Central Europe
The popularity of Michael Morpurgo’s War Horse has helped Egmont gallop ahead of the competition, with the publisher up by 8% in the first half of 2012. Not resting on its print book laurels, however, Egmont has focused on securing creative partnerships with children’s entertainment companies and signing its first co-development deal with DHX Media in September. Their first joint project will be Shipwrecked, billed as “Gossip Girl meets Lost”.
Mitchinson has been all around publishing. First at Waterstones, then at Harvill, Cassell, and Orion before running off to television to create “QI”. Never short of an opinion, Mitchinson has now recast publishing with Unbound, a proper publisher that happens to be funded by the crowd. He is revelling in the newly created exposure.
The Publishers Association, c.e.o.
Recently appointed as chairman of the Alliance Against Intellectual Property Theft, Mollet has been a been a crusading voice for publishers on a variety of matters ranging from piracy, libel and the sanctity of territoriality to copyright reform.
Morpeth has been in the top job at Headline for nearly five years, and what a year 2012 has been for her busy team. As well as big books from Martina Cole and Victoria Hislop, the publisher launched a new digital business, Eternal Romance, in September. Headline will also be beefing up is literary fiction list with the launch of imprint Tinder Press in 2013, which has the new Maggie O’Farrell novel as one of its lead titles.
Mosse’s force of will, and chunky contacts book, means the award formerly known as the Orange Prize survives into 2013. When no headline sponsor came forward after Orange ended its 17-year backing, Mosse and the prize’s board secured funding from a number of well-heeled donors, including Cherie Blair and Joanna Trollope. Oh, and Mosse does a little writing on the side; Citadel, the last in her hugely popular Languedoc series, has just hit the shops.
Hilary Murray Hill
Scholastic Children’s Books, m.d.
Along with Fifty Shades, 2012 will be remembered for the success of The Hunger Games trilogy from Scholastic. Murray Hill ensured the publisher acted quickly to capitalise on the series’ popularity, and with the next Hunger Games film slated for 2013, there should be more sales to come. New co-managing director Catherine Bell joined in September, and her appointment can be seen as a sign Murray Hill and her team will be driving for future growth.
HarperCollins Children’s Books, publisher
Murtagh stepped into the role of HarperCollins children’s publisher 18 months ago, with highlights including a fresh multi-book deal with the bestselling David Walliams, ensuring the covetable comedian stays with HCCB until 2016, and three nominations for artist and illustrator Oliver Jeffers on CILIP’s Kate Greenaway Medal longlist.
Jaffé & Neale, co-owner Booksellers Association, president
It is just a couple of months into Neale’s two-year tenure as the Booksellers Association president, and already he is proving an adept tub-thumper for the industry’s cause.
Neale has appealed to publishers to consider new financial models for their relationship with booksellers, such as extending credit terms and using different marketing models, as is currently being considered in the US.
He has also said booksellers themselves need to embrace e-book sales, while urging publishers and authors to work with booksellers to ensure library e-lending does not damage the industry.
Neale runs the much-praised indie Jaffé & Neale Books & Café with partner Polly Jaffé in Chipping Norton, which the local MP, a certain David Cameron, has been known to frequent.
What an international year it has been for Bloomsbury: at the start of 2012 it launched Wisden India, its global e-book sales were up 70% year on year in the first quarter, and in September the publisher launched Bloomsbury India. All this activity was supplemented by big books from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Ben Macintyre and Heston Blumenthal.
North has been UK head of Amazon for two years. A publishing man with an economics degree, North is publishers’ worst enemy, or perhaps their greatest asset within an organisation that can often lack a human face. Amazon continues to out-think its competitors, as the Waterstones’ Kindle deal showed.
Faber and Faber, c.e.o. and publisher
Page, one of publishing’s heavyweights, is continuing to reshape venerable Faber to the demands of direct-to-consumer 21st-century publishing. Faber’s digital business, both on the creative and distribution side, continues to grow, while a recent restructure saw Lee Brackstone take on a greater role in Faber Social—the events and business development arm—and Matt Haslum was brought in as consumer marketing director.
Public Lending Right, registrar
The PLR is the lifeblood for many a writer, and can often be the determining factor if an author continues to write. Parker’s pared-down, efficient team runs the programme superbly; yet it is astonishingly under threat from the government. The trade, and anyone interested in the literary well-being of the country, should rally behind PLR in 2013.
Fourth Estate, publishing director
It has been a remarkable run in both kudos and sales for Pearson’s Fourth Estate. Hilary Mantel has won the Booker in two out of the past three years for the HarperCollins imprint (and Fourth Estate had three books on this year’s longlist), American Chad Harbach had arguably the début of the year with The Art of Fielding, while Nikki Gemmell’s erotica stormed the charts.
Cambridge University Press, c.e.o.
Former BBC high-roller Phillips joined CUP as chief operating officer in 2010, and has slid nimbly into the top job after Stephen Bourne retired this year. In Phillips’ first year in charge, CUP has delivered 11% sales growth (to £237.3m), while digital sales rose 70%, and now account for 25% of the press’ revenue.
Oxford University Press, c.e.o.
Former Pearson and Penguin man (and, lest we forget, Cambridge graduate) Portwood continues to sharpen the centuries-old university press into a very modern publisher. OUP’s annual turnover rose to just under the £700m mark in 2012, though profit slid to “only” £106m.
Blackwell’s might not yet be back to profitability, but Prescott and his team seem to be heading in the right direction. From the appointment of ex-Hachette UK’s Matthew Cashmore as digital director to partnerships with Nook and CourseSmart, huge growth in its bursary sales and the launch of an “M-Commerce” site which gives students the ability to download e-books onto mobiles—the academic retailer has been very busy indeed.
Penguin General, m.d.
Former communications chief Prior, the chair of this year’s WBD, heads four of Penguin’s key imprints: Penguin, Hamish Hamilton, Viking and Fig Tree. It’s been a stellar year for her: Kathryn Stockett’s The Help is still selling well, Zadie Smith returned with NW and Alain de Botton’s Religion for Atheists was a success.
Penguin Digital, m.d.
Rafferty successfully manages an enthusiasm for published content with an awareness of how to develop that digitally—and differently. Rafferty has had a busy 12 months, relaunching the Peter Rabbit website to coincide with the bunny’s 110th anniversary, along with apps such as the Ladybird I’m Ready for Phonics (shortlisted for a FutureBook Innovation award).
Random House Group UK, c.e.o.
If this list were compiled a few weeks ago, Dame Gail’s entry would perhaps have dwelt almost exclusively on Fifty Shades and RH vaulting over Hachette to become the UK’s market leader. James’ contribution to the RH cause cannot be understated. Out of RH’s £118.5m generated through BookScan thus far in 2012, James’ trilogy has contributed 39%; of RH’s £85.2m in adult fiction, she has generated a jaw-dropping 54%.
Yet the Randy Penguin merger, and the months-long wait until completion, does throw up questions. Before the merger, Rebuck said that RH’s priorities going forward would be digital development, more direct-to-consumer engagement and new businesses (an example of this was the launch of the Random House Speakers’ Bureau in January). Undoubtedly they will also be among the priorities of the new group; but what the structure will be, and how this strategy will be implemented, remains to be seen.
It’s been a year since Redmayne left HarperCollins to join Pottermore, the online home for Harry Potter. Redmayne’s wizardry has seen the site’s fanbase grow to 40 million users and its shop now sells DRM-free e-books, compatible with any device, straight to consumers in multiple languages. Following on from the recent launch of the augmented reality product the Book of Spells, Redmayne’s plans for next year include rolling out the Pottermore browser experience to other platforms.
Constable & Robinson, chairman
The mantle in C&R’s Bloomsbury office must be heaving—the publisher has won that many awards this year, from The Bookseller Industry Award for Independent Publisher of the Year to scooping a hat-trick of awards at the IPG ceremony. Why? Well, it grew its sales by nearly a fifth over 2011, thanks in part to Jennifer Egan’s A Visit from the Goon Squad, and it also enjoyed a massive rise in e-book sales.
Barnes & Noble, v.p. and m.d., international
If there is a unified Christmas wish for most publishers, it would probably be for someone to take a few lumps of the e-book market share away from Amazon. Rouvillois, B&N’s Nook point man abroad, is hoping to do just that. Deals with Blackwell’s, John Lewis, Currys and PC World mean the Nook is available in 1,600 UK outlets, though most publishers would probably have hoped for a link-up with Waterstones.
J K Rowling
There aren’t many authors who could sell almost £3m with a book and still have critics suggesting it has been unsuccessful, but then there are not many authors like J K Rowling. This year saw the publication of her first adult novel, The Casual Vacancy, but as ever, the biggest buzz surrounds the publication of her next children’s book—which she has teasingly indicated is in the pipeline.
W H Smith, business unit director for books
In August W H Smith announced that it expected its full-year results to be “at the top end of market expectations” thanks to the E L James. There is more good news for the chain as well, Russell’s books division has continued to have success with its Richard & Judy Book Clubs, its opening programme for its travel stores is “on track”, and it is also expanding a new travel store front, the London News Company.
There can be no disagreement that is has been Conerstone’s year. Led by Sandon, the Random House division’s publication of E L James’ Fifty Shades trilogy set publishing alight, with the erotica writer bringing in a whopping £46m through BookScan. Sandon’s other big coup in 2012 was acquiring world rights in the autobiography of comedy great John Cleese.
Little, Brown Book Group, publisher
The muggle picked out by J K Rowling to be the editor for her first adult novel, Shelley has had his time in the spotlight recently. The Casual Vacancy has now sold almost £3m through the tills in the UK—add to this the success of Shelley’s other authors such as Val McDermid and Dennis Lehane, and it has been a good year indeed. With Rowling’s next book set to be for children, it could be even better times ahead.
Independent Publishers Guild,executive director
This year’s IPG conference was extra special, it being the trade body’s 50th annual get-together. Shine herself has been at the helm of the IPG since 2004, doing a sterling job promoting, supporting and defending its 560 members.
Smart became chief executive of the Osprey Group at the end of 2011 after expanding that company through acquisitions and refinancing the business as m.d. Osprey doubled in size by snapping up cookery, health and MBS specialist Duncan Baird in July, with group turnover hovering around the £12m mark. The Duncan Baird acquisition follows the group’s strategy of buying niche publishers including Shire Books (2007), Angry Robot (2011) and Old House Books & Maps (2011).
As Osprey has spread its wings, so has Smart, leading a digital-ready business based on traditional publishing skills, and one willing to experiment, either by dropping DRM, or trying out e-book bundling. Last December she won the FutureBook Most Inspiring Digital Person Award, and she has not looked back.
Society of Authors, general secretary
Solomon has been tireless in her efforts this year to press culture minister Ed Vaizey to clarify his stance on Public Lending Right and volunteer-run libraries. A former lawyer, Solomon has once again proved herself to be a worthy campaigner for authors across the board.
Igloo Books, c.e.o.
How does a profit growth of £2m in a recession sound? It’s been a pretty good year for children’s publisher Igloo Books. It has almost doubled in size over the past few years, achieving sales of £19.8m for the year ending March 2012, up by £3m from 2011.
Ingram, senior vice-president, content acquisition international, group managing director, Lightning Source
Taylor (for the fourth straight year the winner of The Bookseller 100’s unofficial longest job title award) and Ingram/Lightning Source are becoming even more crucial as print runs shorten and delivery of digital files need to be both global and local. A case in point is Ingram’s recent link-up with Foyles to increase the bookseller’s US title range, while international expansion continues apace, with a recent Ingram operation opening in Brazil.
A restructure earlier this year by parent von Holtzbrinck moved Macmillan global businesses along divisional, not geographic lines (to better hive off Pan Macmillan? Discuss). Thomas now heads up the company’s Global Science and Education division, essentially the company’s worldwide academic and education publishers, which includes the Nature and Macmillan Education groups.
Midas PR, c.e.o.
Not one to rest on its book client laurels, PR company Midas—jointly run by Thomas, co-founder and chairman Tony Mulliken and c.e.o. and co-founder Stephen Williams—launched its own speakers’ bureau Signature Speakers this year, with authors including Peter James and Helen Rappaport on its books. Business continues as usual for its enviable roster of clients including the BA, London Book Fair and Reed Exhibitions, Sharjah Book Fair, the Galaxy Book Awards and Harlequin Mills & Boon.
Man Booker Prize, literary director
The Booker made headlines last month (more sedately than in past years) when Hilary Mantel became the first woman to win twice with the first triumphant sequel. Under Trewin’s savvy leadership, Mantel’s win was not the only thing causing waves; this year the prize teamed up with Picturehouse Entertainment to broadcast an evening of readings by the shortlisted authors in cinemas around the UK, part of Trewin’s successful work extending the UK’s (and world’s?) premier literary award even further.
Usborne Books, founder
Usborne set up his eponymous company in 1973, and is the only top 20 UK publisher to enjoy year-on-year rises in volume sales through BookScan in every single year since records began in 1998. They have done this, the iconoclast (and Private Eye co-founder) Usborne likes to say, in “a deeply unfashionable way”.
Though they publish Fiona Watt, the 32nd bestselling author since records began, Usborne’s model is about steady backlist, a good portion of which comes from sticker books and board books, much of it done in-house. Indeed, you have to look all the way down to position 413 to find Usborne’s bestselling title so far this year, Watt’s Sticker Dolly Dressing Weddings. Usborne has, however, ramped up its digital activities in the past year or so, and other new moves include a growing young adult list and continued international expansion.
WME UK, head of literary
In June Trewin left United Agents—where he had been a founding agent and director—to become the boss of WME’s UK literary division. His established roster includes Andrew Miller, Danny Wallace and Andrew Motion, and he recently brokered a three-book deal with HarperCollins for début crime author Luke Delany and a two-book deal with Ebury for literary thriller writer Phil Viner.
It has been a transformational year for Underhill’s Norwich-based Bertrams, with the distributor impressively growing profits 84% (to £6.4m on £174.3m in sales), mostly by expansion internationally. Yet it even grew UK revenues 2.5%—in an overall market which declined by 7%. Yet Bertrams also partnered on a new venture, a consumer-facing online retailer Wordery, a nod to future ambitions in the consumer space.
Ed Victor Ltd, founder
It has been another busy year for agenting stalwart Victor; in February he struck a deal with Tesco to sell the mass-market edition of Louise Fennel’s Dead Rich, his own e-book and print-on-demand venture Bedford Square Books’ first title, exclusively for four months. Add to this his eponymous Speakers’ Bureau, run by agent Charlie Campbell, and his impressive client list—which includes Nigella Lawson, Rupert Everett and Eoin Colfer—and it seems that this septuagenarian shows no signs of slowing down.
Cornerstone and Arrow, publisher
Walker’s acquisition of Fifty Shades is already the stuff of publishing legend: tipped off by boss Susan Sandon via Knopf in the US, Walker read it overnight and ended up doorstepping E L James’ agent Valerie Hoskins at her London office a couple of days later. Before leaving Transworld for Century last year, Walker bought S J Watson’s Before I Go to Sleep, and is thus responsible for four of the top eight bestselling books of 2012.
Hachette UK, head of digital
Walkley manages Hachette’s group digital strategy as well as making sure all the engineering that goes into digital delivery of content works: an ongoing and expanding job. An ambitious redesign of all of Hachette’s websites has also been rolled out, with the group winning silver for “best use of digital in a change or rebrand situation” at the 2012 Digital Impact Awards.
Penguin UK, c.e.o.
Penguin’s Weldon Years have seen the venerable publisher notch record turnover and profit levels, although the first half of 2012 saw it lose out to the Fifty Shades/Hunger Games juggernauts. This autumn is different, with Jamie Oliver returning, Sylvia Day riding the erotica boom, a new Wimpy Kid proving muscular, and national treasure Clare Balding a pleasant surprise. Pippa Middleton’s book has also been a middling success—especially with journalists eager to put the boot in.
Touch Press, c.e.o.
Everybody from Faber’s Henry Volans to Stephen Fry is queuing up to work with Whitby and Touch Press, the most innovative developer in town. From The Elements to The Waste Land (partnering with Faber) to Shakespeare’s Sonnets (a Faber/Arden Shakespeare collaboration which has luvvies including Fry, David Tennant and Patrick Stewart doing readings), Touch’s apps are pioneering, interactive, visually rich and selling substantially—this summer Touch Press cracked the 500,000 sales barrier for its 12 products.
Amazon Media Group Europe, director
After a couple of years as UK books director, former eBay man Willoughby has been implementing the Kindle business across Europe since 2010, and he’s made a pretty good fist of it. Now Luxembourg-based—you may have heard it has rather congenial tax arrangements for corporations—he is responsible for rolling out the e-tailer’s Groupon-like AmazonLocal business.
Amazon, head of content acquisition, Kindle UK
Worth has spent over a decade in Slough (presumably reciting John Betjeman) at the Amazon HQ in a variety of roles, including head of book buying and head of vendor management, before moving over to the crucial Kindle team last year.
The Bookseller 101st
So what do you do after you announce your retirement? Take your foot off the gas, have a lot of long lunches and count the days until the leaving do when you can finally tell colleagues what you really think of them? Many might do that, but not Marjorie Scardino.
The Pearson boss capped her 16 years in charge of the world’s biggest publisher by arguably making her most audacious deal: engineering the merger of Penguin with Random House to create the world’s largest trade publishing group. What the move means to British, and global, publishing will be discovered long after Arizona-born former rodeo rider Scardino hangs up her spurs on 31st December.
At first glance on a boardroom/investor level, it looks pretty good for Pearson. It still retains a 47% stake in Penguin, and crucially still gets to use Penguin content in the Pearson education business. After three years, if Bertelsmann declines a Pearson offer to sell its entire shareholding, Pearson may require a recapitalisation by which Penguin Random House raises debt of up to 3.5x EBITDA. After five years, either partner may force an IPO; a condition that seems to favour publicly-traded Pearson rather than privately-owned Bertelsmann.
The reason Pearson hived off part of Penguin is that in her tenure Scardino has built Pearson into a streamlined largely education-focused powerhouse. She took a varied group that owned, among other things, a piece of Thames Television, the investment bank Lazard and Madame Tussauds, and sold off most of the non-essential silverware. In doing so, she tripled Pearson’s revenue to nearly £6bn, and profits were at a record high of £942m in the last full-year results. For comparison to other global groups, Pearson’s profit is larger than the revenue of all but 17 publishers.
Under Scardino, Pearson has always been forward looking. Long before the e-book was even a glimmer in many a trade publisher’s eye, Pearson (like many of its education and academic competitors) was ahead of the game, investing in online platforms and in-classroom technology, while preparing for a post-print textbook future. This has led to lucrative ancillary businesses such as its examination board Edexcel. It has boomed internationally (one of the main reasons why international education boss John Fallon is succeeding Scardino), particularly in developing territories hungry for Anglophone education content.
Scardino’s influence has gone beyond publishing, not least in a trailblazing, glass-ceiling shattering way—she was the first woman c.e.o. of a FTSE 100 company. Serving on the board of several arts and cultural organisations, she will undoubtedly still be part of British cultural life, yet publishing will be poorer for her absence.
1947 Born in Arizona
• 1969 B.A. in French and Psychology, Baylor University, Texas
• 1975 JD in legal studies, University of San Francisco
• 1976–92 Works as a lawyer, then in newspapers and for The Economist
• 1993 Becomes c.e.o. of the Economist Group, moves to London
• 1997 Becomes Pearson c.e.o.
• 2002 Becomes a British citizen
• 2003 Made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire