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The Bookseller Industry Awa...
The Bookseller Industry Awards 2010
01.01.70 | Katie Allen
Publishing Technology Publisher of the Year
Faber & Faber
Venerable firm with a forward-thinking approach
In its 80th anniversary year Faber looked remarkably young with the creation of a digital branch of the business—headed by Henry Volans—with more than 1,000 backlist titles digitised, including the entire poetry list.
Volans has also helped integrate the frontlist e-book conversion into Faber's workflow so that e-book editions of new publications launch simultaneously to print editions.
Faber's most notable début was Guardian First Book award winner Petina Gappah's collection of short stories, An Elegy for Easterly. Another début hit was Loops, a new biannual journal full of writing and artwork by writers and musicians.
Not just Stephenie Meyer
True, Stephenie Meyer's £30m in sales helped Little, Brown to a record year. Yet other highlights included Marilynne Robinson's Home winning the Orange Prize for Fiction and two other LB titles being shortlisted for the Man Booker prize. Débuts by Christopher Ransom, Poppy Adams and Angus MacDonald exceeded expectations and market share in literary fiction grew for imprints Abacus and Virago.
The publisher also undertook the biggest third-party stock transfer when it moved its warehouse, transferring more than 3.5 million books from Colchester to Worthing. Digitally, over 700 titles were made available as e-books or apps.
Orion Publishing Group
Bestselling books and innovation for established house
Not a bad year at the top of the charts: 10 Orion titles reached the number one spot on the Sunday Times bestseller lists. The key, Orion says, is developing new writers into established bestselling ones. For example, Ian Rankin, who has just celebrated the publication of his 14th novel, and Francesca Kay, author of An Equal Stillness, who won the Orange Prize for New Writers in 2009.
The publisher continued to innovate in the promotion, design and marketing of books across formats. For the Weidenfeld & Nicolson 60th anniversary Orion produced special editions of 10 key novels and organised a competition with advertising agency Fallon to find the best designs. The publisher is also proud of the success of the cross-platform campaign for Charlaine Harris' True Blood series, which had 1.5 million sales in 2009.
Simon & Schuster
In 2009, Simon & Schuster achieved significant sales growth, especially in fiction, with standout Philippa Gregory hitting number one on Nielsen BookScan with The White Queen. A strong year for S&S Children's, including Waterstone's Children's Book Prize winner Katie Davies' The Great Hamster Massacre. In non-fiction, big successes included Patrick Swayze's The Time of My Life, and Sean Smith's Cheryl, which has sold over 110,000 copies in hardcover.
Cost reductions and a man named Stieg
Quercus says it underperformed during the Christmas period of 2008 so 2009 started with a "sober attitude". Long-term ambitions were put aside and the publishing programme was maximised to ensure Quercus' survival. Cost reductions were an essential part.
Staff were consulted over redundancies and opted to take a 10% cut—which was repaid in December—and regular staff meetings were held to identify further cost savings and to report on progress. By renegotiating the majority of supplier terms, Quercus delivered ignificant cost savings.
It also helped that the company had its best year at the tills on record with Stieg Larsson's Millennium trilogy going from simple bestseller to phenomenon. The non-fiction list was led by Duncan Hamilton's Harold Larwood, which won William Hill's Sports Book of the Year award and sold over 30,000 hardbacks.
More than symbolic
In 2009 Transworld published a staggering 18 of the bestselling top 100 adult paperbacks of the year, with new titles by Danielle Steel, Kate Atkinson, Joanna Trollope and Simon Kernick at the top of the charts. Of course, the biggest success was Dan Brown's latest blockbuster novel, by some measure the publishing event of last year. The Lost Symbol is now the biggest-selling adult hardback of all time.
The company also led the market for backlist bestsellers by popular authors such as Sophie Kinsella, Terry Pratchett, Lee Child, Tess Gerritsen and Dan Brown.
The non-fiction offering was also very strong in 2009, with both front- and backlist performing well.
LIGHTNING SOURCE INDEPENDENT PUBLISHER OF THE YEAR
Recipes for success
Kyle Cathie was established 20 years ago, during a recession, and was therefore confident about how it would deal with the most recent one. That confidence was not unfounded: 2009 beat 2008 sales figures and returns fell. Cookery is key to the brand and the two big new titles on the list were Darina Allen's Forgotten Skills of Cooking
and Katie Caldesi's Italian Cookery Course. Début author Paul A Young won a World Gourmand award and another title, Fish Tales, became the first book endorsed by the Marine Stewardship Council, which champions sustainable fisheries. Cupcakes from the Primrose Bakery has been reprinted 11 times since its publication in September 2009.
Operationally it has been a year of growth: Kyle Cathie opened a US office in March, developed its own production workflow software, set up a digital committee and promoted overseas sales through the new role of export sales director.
MBS specialist sees healthy development
Opening its London offices in 2003 with a team of just four people, Hay House UK is a standalone business with no financial investment from its sister company in the US. Seven years on, the company has 29 employees and has expanded from its rock-solid mind, body, spirit publishing to a stream of conferences built around the books. Last year's flagship conference, entitled You Can Do It!, sold out three months before the event, and more than 600 people attended.
Hay also launched a new electronic consumer relations management software in October. Some 30,000 consumers are collated in the database and the ECRM helps Hay track online sales, write newsletters, manage authors and create customer groups. This year, the company will publish over 35 books, but is buoyed by its backlist, including founder Louise Hay's You Can Heal Your Life.
Masters of its (arts and) craft
In 2010 Search Press will celebrate 40 years of independent publishing. Started by Charlotte de la Bedoyere in 1970, the publisher has a mission to find and print the finest art and craft books. It is still owned by the de la Bedoyere family and has been managed by Charlotte's son Martin and his wife Caroline (left) since 1997. Search has never departed from the traditional publishing model of having editorial, production, sales and marketing, customer service and distribution on one site—the same site it has occupied since the late 1970s. The last decade has seen enormous growth, with Search publishing more than 100 titles a year. It has the largest share of the UK art and craft publishing market.
Constable & Robinson
Long-standing indie gets commercially minded
Constable & Robinson has been incorporated 10 years, but its pedigree goes back to 1795 when Arthur Constable began publishing books from his Edinburgh bookshop. Two centuries later, the company has been reinvigorated since Nick Robinson merged his eponymous company with Constable in 1999. Over the past year, Constable has added a new fiction imprint, Corsair, as part of a strategy to shift to more commercially successful frontlist titles. Quentin Letts' 50 People Who Buggered Up Britain was the biggest-selling title for 2009/10, selling over 35,000 hardback and 45,000 paperback copies through BookScan. The sales were driven by a five-day serialisation in the Daily Mail, widespread retail support over Christmas and a range of author events by an energetic Letts.
Jade, Jacko and generous sales
With six titles hitting last year's Nielsen BookScan non-fiction top 10, three adapted for the big screen, a number one sports book, a top 10 business book and 1.3 million copies in book sales, John Blake Publishing did pretty well last year, thank you very much. There has been criticism in some quarters of the trade, but Blake—founded by former Fleet Street journo John Blake (above)—knows what it is about: a focus on celebrity and current affairs-driven fast-turnaround titles. The re-release of Jade Goody's early autobiography around the time of her death met with some criticism but it shot to the top of the charts when it was released in March 2009, and the profits were given to Goody's sons. Michael Jackson: King of Pop was commissioned on the day the pop legend died and was turned around in less than three weeks.
Shooting ahead of the game
Country pursuits specialist Quiller started off just under 10 years ago with its acquisition of two underperforming lists, Quiller Press and Swan Hill Press, and later acquired the Sportsman's Press and Kenilworth Press. Now, under the management of co-owner Andrew Johnston (above) it is the foremost UK specialist publisher in this field.
Publishing about 35 new titles a year, Quiller has managed to diversify without losing focus, and grow mail order and online sales via its website www.countrybooksdirect.com. This year, the authorised Help for Heroes books sold over 50,000 copies after being produced in just five months. A cricketing memoir by ex-BBC producer Peter Baxter entered the Top 50 in the Nielsen hardback non-fiction charts and was nominated for the Cricket Society and MCC Book of the Year award.
NIELSEN MARKETING CAMPAIGN OF THE YEAR
Fang-tastic TV tie-in
Up to March 2009, Charlaine Harris was little known in the UK, her True Blood series shifting just 34,000 copies that year. One year later, the series has sold 1.6m copies in the home and export markets. This rise in fortune can be put down in large part to Orion's marketing campaign, using Twitter, Facebook, TV and online communities to stir up attention for the books. Orion first partnered with TV channel FX, which was broadcasting the series of "True Blood". Orion sponsored a True Blood launch party, ran competitions on the FX website, tagged the books in an FX newsletter and cross-referenced all activities on both FX and Orion websites.
Classic graphic novel's multimedia revival
The Watchmen graphic novel was published in 1987 so to tie in with the 2009 film, Titan Books reprinted the book with a new cover and created a deluxe hardback edition. The primary objective was to promote awareness for the Watchmen brand overall and on the back of cross-promotion—such as DVD giveaways with GQ and USB stick giveaways with the Independent—Watchmen-related titles accounted for just under £1.08m of Titan's £3.3m for value sales last year. Retail partners Borders arranged a national campaign for all five titles, with key stores featuring window displays, the website hosting exclusive content, and events with illustrator Dave Gibbons.
Stieg Larsson's Millennium Trilogy
Tough case succeeds across the board
With Stieg Larsson dominating the charts, it is easy to forget that at the beginning, his books were not an easy sell—they were in translation and Larsson had died before publication. The situation was not ideal for promotion. Selling his Millennium trilogy meant re-writing the titles to create a unified series with the now familiar The Girl . . . titles: Men Who Hate Women, for example, became The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Left-field promotions were the crux of the campaign with the c.e.o. of Quercus handing out free copies in Bloomsbury Square and staff leaving copies with taxi drivers to give to passengers. A tie-in with the Evening Standard gave away 50,000 copies. Thirty bespoke adverts for online communities targeted sales outside of London, with the books nicknamed "the thinking person's alternative" to Dan Brown.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar 40th Anniversary
A celebration of a children's evergreen
The Very Hungry Caterpillar has never left the Nielsen BookScan charts since records began 13 years ago. Puffin's 40th anniversary campaign was designed to raise sales across all formats and aimed to encourage readers to think of the book as "theirs". Like-for-like sales, comparing 2008 and 2009, rose across the backlist. Most of the campaign budget was spent on retail space and p.o.s. material but a large chunk went to a "springwatch" wall chart, which was distributed to 30,000 nurseries and featured a competition to win a class trip to the Natural History Museum.
Epic marketing campaign for The Lost Symbol
The launch for Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol was designed to be "unmissable". It covered everything from high street to supermarkets, independents to e-tailers, cinema screens and TV, roadside ad space and the web. The result is publishing history, breaking BookScan records for hardback adult fiction sales. There was a nationwide roadside campaign of 48-sheet ads, and superside bus adverts in London and Dublin with links to the website. The last five seconds of Sony's TV adverts for the film of "Angels & Demons" were given over to the newest book, which was also advertised within DVD & Blu-ray packaging.
Hodder & Stoughton
Under the Dome
Innovative online campaign
For Stephen King's Under the Dome, the Hodder marketing department organised what could have been publishing's biggest game of hide-and-seek ever. The entire novel was broken into 5,000 pieces and hidden on- and off-line, sometimes on USB sticks left on park benches and at Underground stations, on social media and in magazines. Fans had to collect the extracts and reassemble them at www.stephenking.com to win prizes. The end
of the "game" culminated in a big "gigapan" photo taken of fans holding up phrases all along the Millennium Bridge in London.
Times Recommended Read
Partnership reaps results
W H Smith would readily admit that literary fiction is a small part of the 60 million books it sells each year. To help rectify that, it partnered with the Times, the newspaper WHS felt was the most authoritative voice in literary fiction. Times readers enjoyed an exclusive market-leading price on certain titles. The campaign stretched from shop-fronts to the internet and was flagged up in a "high-impulse" buy area of the store—the periodicals section, which created an incremental spend rather than a substitute buy. During the campaign, three titles got to BookScan's overall number one and 28 featured in the top 20.
PPC AND MIDAS PUBLIC RELATIONS PUBLICITY CAMPAIGN OF THE YEAR
Anna Robinson, Simon & Schuster, For Lion Man by Ian McGeechan
First tour for publicist and author reaps rewards
Former Scotland rugby player and coach Ian McGeechan's autobiography had its challenges. It had very little marketing budget, it was competing against major sport books by Freddie Flintoff and Andre Agassi, and the author himself had run the risk of upsetting his core customers with some controversial comments about the Scottish Rugby Union. Yet Anna Robinson, in her first major book tour, was able to meet those challenges, launching the title to the press on the back of a British and Irish Lions tour. As well as national press coverage, the campaign also generated word-of-mouth buzz across British and Irish rugby clubs, with the author offering coaching sessions to clubs and schools as part of the tour. A serialisation in the Mail on Sunday and positive reviews in the Scottish press helped to boost sales through BookScan, which peaked during the two-week book tour.
Joe Pickering, Penguin, For Legend of a Suicide by David Vann
Platform established for début literary author
Legend of a Suicide was published in December 2008 in the US and was one of the New York Times's Notable Books of the Year. It was a challenge for Penguin to print a début from an unknown American author and it was a hard book to categorise—more a collection of short stories than a novel. Pickering used skills from his experience as a bookseller to create a buzz around the book. He blogged about it on the Penguin site and went to the Penguin sales meeting to persuade reps to handsell it to booksellers. He spoke directly to booksellers and distributed proofs alongside publicity work for other authors. Literary editors, features editors and radio producers were fed pre-publication quotes. One particular coup was via a literary critic who was going out with the singer Florence Welch. She had read his copy and raved about it on BBC 6 Music around the time her album hit number one and was shortlisted for the Mercury prize.
Transworld For Unseen Academicals by Terry Pratchett
Discworld author still charms fans
During his long career at the top of the sci-fi market, Terry Pratchett has built a loyal fanbase on a consistently good body of work. His time is precious, and has become even more limited after Pratchett was diagnosed with Alzheimer's; for his newest book, interviews were limited to one day of the campaign and only conducted with members of the press who knew Pratchett's work. No book signings were scheduled. The campaign was geared more towards his fans than the press. The main event was a football match, which tied in to the subject of the book. It was supported by Pratchett fans and held in Wincanton, Somerset, where two streets have been named after places in Discworld. Fans were given limited-edition football jerseys, tied in to teams and colours featured in the book. The hard graft worked: Unseen Academicals was the second biggest hardback fiction title in 2009.
Reetu Kabra, Puffin For DOT Robot by Jason Bradbury
Gadgets expert wows the crowds
Not only is Jason Bradbury the author of his "Famous Five meets Tom Clancy" techno-thrillers for kids, he is a presenter on Channel Five's "The Gadget Show", and arguably better informed than many writers about Web 2.0. Publicity for DOT Robot book was built on these strengths. The launch event was hosted by the Apple Store using £2,000 worth of props from Wowwee Robotics and Bradbury found a designer to create a life-sized model of Punk, one of the characters in the book. The author and Reetu Kabra went on to create the DOT Robot roadshow, which appeared at literary festivals and schools. Audiences averaged between 100 and 200 people and nearly every event sold out. Bradbury attracted more than 40,000 followers on Twitter, making him one of the Top 20 most influential tweeters according to a Brand Republic survey.
Mari Yamazaki, Penguin Press For The Sartorialist by Scott Schuman
Street style on the book charts
Scott Schuman, a.k.a. the Sartorialist, is a rising star in fashion publishing after the success of his blog-to-book photo collection. Serial rights were sold to three titles—Stella magazine at the Sunday Telegraph, Vogue (Spain) and Red magazine (the Netherlands). The author toured America and Australia and the book was launched in the fashion capitals via pop-up shops, during each city's fashion week. In Paris, the Collette store hosted a signing, in New York it was renowned department store Barney's, Milan's signing took place in Giorgio Armani and in London it was at Liberty's. The book had print coverage in 31 countries, including 11 international editions of Vogue.
FUTUREBOOK DIGITAL INNOVATION OF THE YEAR
Harlequin Mills & Boon
Falling in love with digital publishing
Mills & Boon has been publishing romantic fiction for over 100 years and yet it was the first UK publishing house to simultaneously produce all frontlist titles in print and digital formats. HMB has a comprehensive digital strategy: developing e-books and online sales and using mobile and social media campaigns to promote its titles. Its website, Millsandboon.co.uk, was redeveloped to feature a fully-integrated e-book store with all titles offered in print and online formats at a single sales point. On the marketing side, its promotional site everybodysreading.com offered customers the chance to download 10 e-books free, generating 120,000 downloads in its first three months. HMB's Twitter feed has 1,300 followers and the Facebook page has 1,100 fans.
Virtual slush pile reaps rewards
Authonomy.com, HarperCollins's literary talent-spotting web community, has dramatically improved the way HC deals with manuscripts and is now being used as a key source of new talent—not just by HC editors but by agents and other editors in the industry. Site users select their top five manuscripts every month then HC editors read feedback about them directly on to the site. The community has grown every month since its inception and has an international collective of over monthly 100,000 users. The four début authors published from the site thus far by HC have sold more than 200,000 copies combined. A sister site, Inkpop.com, will be developed on the same platform for young adult fiction, and will handle short stores, essays, poetry and lyrics.
Souped-up apps for the next generation
Developer Enhanced Editions, which produces digital book apps for the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad, says it started by thinking that the attitude of many developers is to make the e-book as good as a paperback—but "as good" was not enough in the marketplace. Enhanced Editions' apps enable customers to tailor their reading experience—you can now watch, listen, read, or do all three.
The first product was launched in September 2009—Nick Cave's novel, The Death of Bunny Munro, produced in association with Canongate. The e-book included an unabridged audio reading by Cave with music composed exclusively for the product by the author and his bandmate Warren Ellis, and 13 videos of Cave reading. In-app analytics fed user data back to Enhanced Editions and Canongate so they could optimise their products.
Accent Press – xcitebooks.com
Harnessing the power of erotic e-books
Accent Press launched its "women-friendly" erotic imprint Xcite books in 2006. Its website, Xcitebooks.com, went live in July 2009 with the aim of creating a site that would offer customers a safe buying environment with different format options, as well as generating revenue through associated products and dating sites.
One key part of the site is an affiliate programme enabling authors and other website owners to promote and develop the site in return for 10% commission
on sales. Using a white-label dating platform, Xcite has also built four differentiated dating sites. Since the launch of
the site, Xcite has promoted its titles using cover mounts on Scarlet and Forum magazines.
Bloomsbury Library Online
Digital bookshelves charm librarians
Launched in May 2009, Bloomsbury Library Online is an online service offering themed digital bookshelves for public libraries. From reading group shelves to children's history and teen fiction, Bloomsbury's Library Online model carries an annual subscription of £100 per shelf per 100,000 of the population served. Based on the UK population of 62 million, and an average of 10 books per shelf, each shelf had the potential to generate £62,000 if sold to all 151 library authorities in the country.
The subscription model provides a solution to issues raised by e-books in libraries, including concerns over perpetual access. Books in the scheme are viewed online, not downloaded, and access is controlled by IP address. It also solves the problem of concurrent access: titles are viewed by the library authority as a whole, not by
individual library customers.
Ebury: Tess Daly's The Baby Diaries app
App-y ending for baby book
Ebury created the Tess Daly My Baby Diaries app to promote the TV presenter's book of the same name through the iPod Touch and iPhones. The publisher created a free downloadable app packed with extracts from the diaries, which drove sales of the print version as well as other Ebury parenting titles. The app allowed users to create their own baby diaries, writing notes and uploading photos and videos.
Stories about Daly's husband Vernon Kay's "sex texts" hit the headlines the day before the app was to launch, causing unwelcome publicity for the book that led to Daly cancelling her public appearances. Yet buzz around the app—which went on to be downloaded 22,000 times— enabled the book to be a Sunday Times Top 10 bestseller.
THE BOOKSELLER IMPRINT AND EDITOR OF THE YEAR
Orion Gollancz team
SF imprint crosses over
Gollancz's sales rocketed in 2009 and the team puts this down to a combination of trusted tactics, innovation, and, crucially for a genre publisher, knowing its core audience. Yet it has also begun to reach out beyond the fanbase into the wider market with cross-media titles such as Charlaine Harris's True Blood series and Robert J Sawyer's Flashforward. Gollancz has also moved into crossover media with gamesmakers CCP, for whom they are creating a list based on the EVE online gaming community. The imprint will be adding two more lists, one for urban fantasy and one for young adult fiction. Pierre Pevel, Max Frie and Dmitry Glukhovsky joined Andrezj Sapkowski on the translated fiction list in 2009 to counterpoint the UK and US authors.
Lennie Goodings, Virago
A stable of award-winners
Virago has had its most successful year in terms of turnover and profit and in 2009 its share in the literary fiction market grew from fourth to third biggest. It remains the largest women's imprint in the world. Marilynne Robinson's book Home won the 2009 Orange Prize for Fiction and has sold over 100,000 copies in the UK alone. Sarah Walters's The Little Stranger was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2009 and has now topped 133,000 paperbacks as well as 51,000 hardback copies. Titles from the backlist by Nina Bawden and Shirley Hazzard have been nominated in the six-strong shortlist for the Lost Booker Prize.
Virago titles did well among TV book clubs, with Frances Osbourne's debut, The Bolter, chosen for "Richard & Judy", and The Little Stranger and Sarah Dunant's Sacred Hearts chosen for Channel 4's "TV Book Club".
Lynne Drew, HarperFiction
Chicklit stars flock to Harper
In the eight years she has worked for HarperCollins' commercial imprint, Lynne Drew has reinvented and reinvigorated the women's fiction on its list. She acquired Cecelia Ahern, and Freya North, plus The Devil Wears Prada and Kathleen Tessaro's Elegance. She also publishes Cathy Kelly, Barbara Taylor Bradford and Rosie Thomas among others. Two of her acquisitions have sold over a million copies each. The past year has been a defining moment for Drew for a number of reasons. Rejigging publishing strategies have meant huge gains for long-term author Freya North and Kelly, with Kelly's Once in a Lifetime topping Nielsen BookScan's Top 50.
Stuart Proffitt, Allen Lane
Non-fiction gets generous editorial commitment
Stuart Proffitt's contribution to the Allen Lane list has never been more evident than this past year. Arguably the imprint's most important title in 2009 was Diarmaid MacCulloch's A History of Christianity; it has sold more than 30,000 copies despite a retail price of £35. Christopher Andrew's strong-selling book on MI5, The Defence of the Realm, was a breakthrough project. The intelligence agency opened its archives to Andrew and he became the first independent historian to be granted access.
Proffitt has been key to many of Allen Lane's successes. From the political influence of The Spirit Level by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett, to the feeding of the 5,000 in Trafalgar Square for Tristram Stuart's book Waste, it has been a lively year for both editor and imprint.
Nicolas Pearson, 4th Estate
Hungry like the wolf
Last year was perhaps the highlight of Nicolas Pearson's career at Fourth Estate, where he has worked for 14 years. His authors hold the two biggest literary fiction and non-fiction awards of the year, the Man Booker and the Samuel Johnson. Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall is the biggest-selling Booker hardback in the history of the award with 223,000 copies sold through the UK TCM alone. Philip Hoare's Leviathan won the Samuel Johnson prize in June 2009. Another non-fiction paperback from Fourth Estate, Ben Goldacre's Bad Science, was at the top of the charts at Christmas. This year also marked Fourth Estate's 25th anniversary and Pearson contributed to the occasion by commissioning a set of classic backlist bestsellers in new jackets by young British designers and artists.
Found in translation
In his 40 years in publishing, Christopher MacLehose has always been a champion of the commercial potential of translated fiction. His instincts certainly bore rich fruit with Stieg Larsson's Millennium trilogy. Larsson was the first translated author to top the hardback charts since BookScan records began and he has become one of Britain's most widely recognised brand authors. MacLehose has also acquired Umberto Eco's Infinity of Lists, an illustrated title, plus two books by Roberto Saviano, the author of Gomorrah, and four crime novels from Asa Larsson, Sweden's bestselling living writer. Other successes include the reissue of Edmonde Charles-Roux's Chanel alongside the film release of "Coco Before Chanel" and the US rights sale of Hélène Berr's Journal which went to the Weinstein Company for a six-figure sum.