Bookseller Industry Awards: The shortlists

This year’s instalment of The Bookseller Industry Awards will be the biggest to date, with 19 prizes given out on the night, plus the Booksellers Association’s Gerry Davies Award for lifetime services to bookselling. The awards will be presented during a gala ceremony on 13th May at the Hilton, Park Lane, London.

Both Hachette and the Pearson/Penguin group hit double figures in BIA nominations this year, notching up 10. Random House is up for seven gongs, while HarperCollins will look to defend its 2012 Publisher of the Year crown, and has a further four nominations.
On the retail side, Foyles, Waterstones and Blackwell’s all have three nods, with Foyles attempting to retain National Bookseller of the Year.

Eight indies will contest the Independent Bookseller of the Year gong after claiming regional crowns. In the South West region, for the first time, the judges picked joint winners, the Falmouth Bookshop and Winstone’s in Sherborne.

This year’s instalment also includes the oldest shortlisted individual in BIA history; 93-year-old George Weidenfeld is shortlisted in the Imprint and Editor category, which will feature in next week’s shortlists.

NATIONAL BOOKSELLER OF THE YEAR

Key points:

• 
Thinking laterally to identify new routes to market, including pop-up shops
• 
Developing loyalty schemes, branding and online offerings
• 
Relocating and redesigning premises for easier navigation and improved ambience
• 
Growing sales to educational hubs

Though much bigger than their independent counterparts shortlisted for the indie gong, the booksellers on this shortlist share much of their entrepreneurial attitude.

Last year’s winner was Foyles Bookshop, which amid a tough market and a forthcoming move of its flagship store—with ideas crowd-sourced with the trade by The Bookseller—might have expected a trickier year in 2012. But Foyles thought laterally, opening pop-up shops, growing commercial and school sales, and moving beyond print with the Nook e-reader and a wider breadth of non-book items.

Like Foyles, Blackwell’s followed a strategy of devolving more control down to its shopfloors in 2012. In higher education last year it ran a concerted, value-led “Back to University” campaign, successfully targeted spend from bursary funds and took pop-up shops to many university campuses in order to reach students more directly. Corporate sales have risen, and online highlights have included strong sales of the Nook device and a new mobile website.

The third venerable old bookseller on the shortlist is Eason & Son, which ran a major review of its bookselling and brand in 2012. Revamps of key sections like children’s followed, and improvements to the company’s offering include better discoverability of backlist and a new loyalty programme. E-commerce is a sharpening focus for Eason, too.

Morrisons will be hoping to emulate Sainsbury’s in 2011 as a supermarket winner of this award*. Under the guidance of new book buyer Kirsty Pacey, the chain has strengthened its previously modest offer, rolling out more children’s books in particular and ending a year of growing sales with a very strong performance over the Christmas period.

It was also a record December for The Works, which has played smartly to the growing ranks of value-conscious shoppers. Layouts have been rethought to provide more space and better navigation, and roadtested at a new flagship branch located in Southampton. The Works is another chain looking to develop and grow its brand online.

Previous winners:

2012 Foyles*

*The National Bookseller of the Year award was formerly the General or Chain Bookseller of the Year, which was won by Sainsbury’s in 2011

CHILDREN’S BOOKSELLER OF THE YEAR

• 
 Running in-store events with authors     and illustrators
• 
Redesigning shops to include spaces for quiet reading and interactive play
• 
Improved point of sale and placement of children’s book and non-book products

In different ways but with the same result, these booksellers all see that their youngest readers are engaged and well served. The winner in 2012, Foyles Bookshop is shortlisted again after a year of sales growth, much of it down to the expertise of its booksellers. The high footfall of its London sites sees them well supported by authors, while the Charing Cross flagship has made good use of its exhibition space to spotlight children’s illustrators. Publishers like Foyles, too; Vintage launched its retro children’s range with a fete at the Southbank branch.

Eason & Son is shortlisted on the back of its ambitious Artemis Project, which has led to a radical redrawing of its shops’ children’s sections. The concept now is of tactile and interactive zones to explore, with features including a Mr Men wheel, “Go Fish” wall game and sofas for reading. Teenagers get their own space with high seating and meeting spots, and a zingy colour scheme runs throughout.

Children’s books now have their widest-ever presence across Sainsbury’s, with recent introductions including own-brand books with Dorling Kindersley, colourful “Make Believe” POS and “Reading Corners” in big stores. It has also taken titles elsewhere in its shops, promoting a new children’s reading scheme on cereal packs and shelving some children’s fiction in adult sections and at checkouts.

Like Sainsbury’s, The Works might not be everyone’s idea of a children’s specialist, but its rising sales and expanding network of stores make it a valuable channel for publishers. Shortlisted for a second year in a row, it has continued to build its children’s sections, which are front of store in every branch. Alongside price promotions, stock for both tweens and teens has increased, and the educational range has widened.

Previous winners:

2012   
Foyles
2011   
Waterstones
2010   
W H Smith
2009   Borders
2008   
Borders

THE SUE BUTTERWORTH AWARD FOR YOUNG BOOKSELLER OF THE YEAR

Key points:

• 

Curating imaginative displays and offerings, including ‘Bibliotherapy’
• 
Engaging with customers via social media and using the web as a platform for print
• 
Extensive knowledge of books and willingness to go the extra mile

An award for those aged under 30, these seven rising stars—all first-time nominees—reveal the steady flow of top talent through bookselling.

Three of them work for chain booksellers—two of them for Waterstones. At its giant Piccadilly branch, Iona Dudley is a dynamic presence on the fiction floor, quickly grasping her customers’ requirements and producing imaginative displays, including bays of independent publishers’ books.

A mile south at Oxford Street Plaza, Jonathan O’Brien has been setting about front of store and running the store’s Twitter feed (@wstonesoxfordst), regularly pulling in shoppers on the sole strength of his engaging, witty tweets.

Socrates Adams of Blackwell’s in Manchester is shortlisted as a passionate bookseller and target-driven salesman—and he is a published author and award-winning filmmaker to boot.

The four other young booksellers on the shortlist are representing independents. Both on and off the bookshop floor, Kate Double has been a driving force as assistant manager at Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights in Bath, a leader of its “Reading Spa” and “Bibliotherapy” packages, and a handseller of hundreds of her favourite novels.

Rebecca Duncan of Books@Hoddesdon is an example of how quickly young people can rise in bookselling, still only 19 and with plenty of operational responsibilities. Her commitment to the cause has extended to dressing up as Scooby-Doo to promote new toy lines on Hoddesdon’s streets.

Rachael Wing of The Wallingford Bookshop also started out in bookselling while a student, and now provides cheerful customer service with an extensive knowledge of books—not least in Young Adult fiction, where she is a published author with Scholastic.

The final nominee is Adam Pollard of The Willoughby Book Club, whose trick has been to use the web not as a platform for e-books, but as a showcase for beautifully produced print ones. He and others on the shortlist are a wonderful example of  how great bookselling can extend from the bricks-and-mortar world to the digital realm too.

Previous winners:

2012   
Katie Clapham (Storytellers, Inc)
2011   
Georgina Hanratty (Tales on Moon Lane) and Micha Solana (Blackwell’s, Edinburgh)
2010   
Claire Boothby (Waterstones, Dorking)
2009   
Lisa Bird (Foyles) and Max Porter (Daunt Books)
2008   
Craig Hillier (W H Smith Travel)

THE SUPPLY CHAIN INNOVATION AWARD

• Ensuring shipping and deliveries are made as efficient as possible, by streamlining warehouse operations, improving packaging and cutting costs
• 
Improving delivery logistics of advance copies and more accurately pricing them

New for 2013, the Supply Chain Innovation award salutes the unsung heroes of the industry—those who keep the books flowing through the system.

Macmillan Distribution is shortlisted for Project Apple, its initiative to make deliveries more efficient for publishers. Changes have helped to optimise forwarders’ loads around the world, while also spreading activity in the company’s Swansea warehouse more evenly across the week. For publishers, it provides better schedules in and out of the distributor, so they can ensure swift forward movement on to key UK retailers and hit deadlines for sea and air freight departures abroad.

Publiship helped with a very particular aspect of delivery logistics—advance copies. It saw that while freighting full print runs is relatively straightforward, sending advances from Asia has been messier and more expensive. Its solution was Publiship Advance, offering fixed prices for every delivered carton and consolidating shipments out of Asia. Publishers now know when to expect their advances, and what they are going to pay for them.

Mainline Flatpacks has made life easier further along the supply chain with an alternative to the jiffy bag—the flatter, tougher Lil’ Envelope. A boon to online retailers in particular, it has been adopted by hundreds of companies who make their living primarily by mailing out deliveries. Faster for staff to pack and easier to pile up for dispatch, the Lil’ Envelope also protects products better, as they can be inserted into the envelope far easier than they can be put into a bubble mailer. Further costs are saved because the envelopes usually meet Royal Mail’s criteria for large letters rather than packets.

More benefits have been found by SkanTrans-PSL. Its mission was to improve the logistics of deliveries to Norway’s leading academic booksellers, who were having to sort through a torrent of packages at their warehouse before sending them on. By switching packing to the UK, it has been able to streamline processes, increase delivery speeds and reduce costs and incorrect deliveries. Like all of these initiatives, it appears a simple idea that in practice is anything but.

INDEPENDENT BOOKSELLER OF THE YEAR

Key points

• 
Responding to the rise of e-books by retailing them, often through Gardners’ Hive initiative
• 
Establishing the bookshop as a cultural hub by staging events and teaming up with festivals
• 
Curating an enjoyable book-buying experience with knowledgable staff

All eight of these shortlisted indies are already winners, having taken the awards for their regions, but only one will claim the £5,000 flagship prize from sponsor Gardners.

Linghams in Heswall has survived the arrival across the road of W H Smith by playing to its strength as a cultural hub, its events including poetry evenings and book club meetings. London’s Dulwich Books—like Linghams, nominated here for a second consecutive year—deploys similar face-to-face tactics, differentiating range to suit its community and putting on, on average, an event almost every week in 2012. It has also forged ahead online, selling through Gardners’ Hive initiative, like many of its fellow nominees.

Atkinson-Pryce Books in Biggar puts the emphasis on leisurely browsing and committed staff who have been known to hand-deliver books to customers. It is embracing rather than shirking digital, and will soon add e-books.

Chapter One in Woodley, near Reading, sells them too, and has launched its own website. It has also revamped its local branding to good effect. As in Dulwich and Biggar, Falmouth Bookseller in Cornwall has found a local festival, Splash Arts Festival, to be a valuable source of trade. Taking events beyond the shop has also served as useful marketing. For the first time in the prize’s history, a regional award was shared; Falmouth Bookseller co-claimed the South West gong with Winstone’s.

O’Mahony’s Booksellers in Limerick is the winner of the award’s Irish sub-category and, at 111, is by far the oldest nominee. With 80 staff over four shops it is also the biggest, though continual family ownership is reflected in careful customer service.

The award’s (relatively) new kids on the block are Octavia’s Bookshop in Cirencester and Winstone’s in Sherborne, both opened in 2011 by former children’s specialists at Waterstones. Octavia Karavla has worked tirelessly to establish her shop, single-handedly running book clubs and setting up school accounts. Features at Winstone’s include a wide range of promotions including staff picks, and there are plans for a literary salon and an artist-in-residence.

Previous winners

2012   
The Mainstreet Trading Company
2011   
Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights
2010   
One Tree Books
2009   
Simply Books
2008   
The Watermill Bookshop

CHILDREN'S PUBLISHER OF THE YEAR

Key points


• 
Licensing work to root brand-building and digital innovation
• 
Continued investment in established authors, partnerships and brands

On a very competitive shortlist, the Penguin Group has two nominations—Penguin Children’s Books, for its big share of the year’s bestsellers including the Diary of a Wimpy Kid phenomenon; and DK Children’s, for strong sales growth in the UK and abroad, intense licensing work and digital innovation including interactive titles for Apple’s iBooks Author 2 platform and a wealth of apps.

Other big-hitters on the shortlist include Egmont UK, which had a huge seller in Michael Morpurgo’s War Horse as well as ongoing success with its character and brand titles, rich apps and e-books. HarperCollins Children’s Books built its TCM share in 2012, building authors like David Walliams and Derek Landy, reinvigorating its classics and leveraging properties like Hello Kitty. Scholastic Children’s Books grew its share massively, thanks in large part to Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games series and renewed attention to longstanding authors like Horrible Histories’ Terry Deary and the Julia Donaldson/Axel Scheffler partnership. Walker Books celebrated a big jump in digital sales, successful partnership publishing, smart recruitment of new author talent and plenty of activity around the 25th anniversary of Where’s Wally?

Smaller independents on the list include Nosy Crow, though Kate Wilson’s venture is fast moving up the tiers of children’s publishing, its thoroughly modern balance of print and digital supported by international partnerships and energetic marketing. Igloo Books is a growing force too, having pushed beyond the value sector into the mainstream, set up a new licensing division and further refined its customer service.

LIBRARY OF THE YEAR

Key points

• 
Finding original ways to engage with elderly and hard-to-reach customers
• 
Improving stock and investing in IT projects and digital offering

After a challenging year for libraries, the evidence of superb services provided by these seven services is a real tonic.  

The 2012 winner, City of Edinburgh Library Service, is shortlisted again after extending opening hours and revamping its digital portal. It acts as a hub for the city, and a Library Link service ferries in elderly people to borrow books. Another Scottish nominee, Dundee Library and Information Service, runs book groups, reading and writing events, local history projects and a library festival, targeting hard-to-reach sectors of society in particular.

Devon Libraries has not just maintained its libraries despite tough budgets, but modernised them too. It has a new e-books platform, and reached new users in 2012 with an “Active Life, Active Mind” campaign.

Dudley Libraries is a service firmly rooted in the community. All 13 branches are newly refurbished, and collectively ran more than 4,000 events in 2012. Partnerships with other council services are used to full effect in shared spaces—just as they are by Nottingham Library and Information Service, which opened two Joint Service Centre libraries last year. One-stop-shops integrating services like health and welfare, they show just how pivotal libraries are.

Dorking Library was reborn in a better, central location in 2012, and has seen loans rocket. Its modern children’s space and good IT provision show how even modest investment in libraries pays dividends. Refurbishment has also reinvigorated Redbridge Central Library, transforming a tired space into an airy, stimulating one. Stock has been updated, and it is no surprise that footfall has soared.

LITERARY AGENT OF THE YEAR

Key points:

• 

Diversifying agents’ offering, broadening client bases and adding speaking duties
• 
Breaking début authors while maintaining bigger names; negotiating digital royalties

Each boasting a string of recent hits, these six agents have all proved their worth to publishers and bookshops as well as their authors over the last year.

Two hail from Curtis Brown: Sheila Crowley has built a reputation in women’s fiction, and authors she elevated in 2012 include Jojo Moyes and Santa Montefiore, whose novels Me Before You and The House by the Sea drew big sales after she engineered a switch of publisher for both. Curtis Brown’s Gordon Wise is another publisher turned agent, and had a megaseller in 2012 with Miranda Hart’s Is it Just Me?, plus début fiction hits in Matt Greene’s Ostrich and Hannah Kent’s Burial Rites, with all deals tenaciously negotiated for long-term benefits.

All four other nominees give their names to their agencies. Maggie Hanbury, nominated for the second consecutive year in her agency’s 30th anniversary year, had a typically eclectic range of hit authors last year, from Simon Callow to Jimmy Connors to Katie Price. She has added speaking and media elements to her agenting, too. Andrew Lownie has been in business just five years less, racking up more than a thousand UK deals in that time. His diverse non-fiction roster takes in everything from scholarly dictionaries to reality TV star memoirs, and he is as prolific on his popular website as he is with authors.

Ben Mason at Fox Mason is a much more recent addition to the job, though he brings experience from several other agencies to his own. His specialism has been in reviving neglected authors like Christopher Bray and Iain Gateley. The final nominee is Sarah Such, whose agency had a standout year in 2012 with titles including Vina Jackson’s Eighty Days series and Caroline Sanderson’s Someone Like Adele.

MANAGER OF THE YEAR

Key points:

• 
Tirelessly co-ordinating author events and maximising daily operations
• 
Curating stock to tie-in with local events and the shops’ immediate surroundings

Two of the five nominees are based in Scotland, one running a branch of a chain and the other an independent. Ian Owens of Waterstones on Glasgow’s Argyle Street has transformed what was a neglected branch into a vibrant and profitable one, clearing out clutter to leave a classy shop that exemplifies Waterstones’ new approach, with plenty of clear space, lounging areas and a Café W. Up in the Highlands, Marjory Marshall has shown similar ambition at Bookmark in Grantown-on-Spey. Her shop is the platform for some impressive handselling and a community focal point, hosting author events and running several book groups.

Two more shortlisted managers work in independents, where the energy of a good manager is crucial. Angela Pickard of the Isle of Man’s Bridge Bookshop leads from the front, creating a warm collegiate atmosphere, establishing it as the official bookseller for the Manx Litfest festival and a major schools and libraries supplier. Back down south, Georgina Hanratty of Tales on Moon Lane shows just how hard managers of indies work, tirelessly running activities (including an average of one event every three days in 2012), while also securing operational nuts and bolts like stock control and buying processes.

Across the capital, Marion Akehurst of Blackwell’s branch at the Wellcome Collection completes the shortlist. In charge since it opened six years ago, Akehurst’s accomplishment has been to align Blackwell’s strengths with those of a museum space, putting together a range that not only ties in to its exhibitions, but that usually inspires visitors to try something new.

DIGITAL STRATEGY OF THE YEAR

Key points:

• 
Reinvigorating old content for new platforms and audiences
• 
Building specialised communities for loyal networks of readers

Just a few years ago a good digital strategy was an add-on to a publisher’s print work—but these eight companies show it is now completely integral.

Last year’s winner, Harlequin UK, is shortlisted again after another year of digital sales growth and smart marketing to its loyal reader networks. Two more publishers are nominated for a second successive year: children’s specialist Nosy Crow, which has blended digital and print ever since launching and developed more impressive apps in 2012; and Penguin, which brought authors like Beatrix Potter and Roald Dahl bang up to date with new e-products, and forged marketing partnerships with major digital brands.
The biggest author brand of all, J K Rowling, found a digital home in 2012 with Pottermore, a hugely successful value-add interpretation of her Harry Potter books. Orion Publishing Group’s digital innovation was SF Gateway, a new digital gateway to science-fiction and fantasy that has revived some neglected classics of the genre and quickly monetised itself.

The Random House Group established a big online community too—the “Dead Good” portal for crime fiction—as it wove digital ever tighter into its publishing strategy. Bloomsbury Publishing’s package of digital products—like Drama Online, the Churchill Archive and Berg Fashion Library—have made their subjects the publisher’s own. The shortlist is completed by an e-reading platform beyond the world of publishers, Kobo, which in 2012 doubled device sales, hit 12 million registered users and launched a new self-publishing service.

IMPRINT AND EDITOR OF THE YEAR

Key points:

• 
Expanding the breadth of publishing to umbrella both new and established authors
• 
Harnessing celebrities’ exposure to ensure big memoir sales in the Christmas period

These seven imprints were responsible for many of the biggest sellers of last year—and the editors shortlisted were their driving forces.

The most venerable name on the list is George Weidenfeld of Weidenfeld & Nicolson; 65 years on from launching the list that bears his name, Weidenfeld remains a fulcrum of its editorial team.

Across Hachette UK at Hodder & Stoughton, Rowena Webb led a spectacular year of non-fiction that ended with two books—Is it Just Me? and A Street Cat Named Bob—on top of both the hardback and paperback charts respectively.

The Random House Group also has two nominations. Selina Walker of Arrow Books features for success that went way beyond E L James to take in a host of big-brand authors and new acquisitions; and Matt Phillips is shortlisted for his work on Yellow Jersey Press, which has expanded its breadth and added commercial edge while keeping cycling books—like Tour de France winner and Olympian Bradley Wiggins’ My Time—at its core.

A string of 2012 bestsellers for Venetia Butterfield’s Viking team included a festive fillip for TV presenter Clare Balding’s My Animals and Other Family, while at Fourth Estate Nicholas Pearson extended his long track record with the phenomenal sales and acclaim of Hilary Mantel. Both continued to put their stamps on their respective lists.

The sole shortlistee from an independent is Alessandro Gallenzi, whose expansive experience of European fiction and co-ordination of translations has helped Alma Books to become a contender for this year’s Independent Publisher of the Year category, too.

INDEPENDENT PUBLISHER OF THE YEAR

Key points:

• 
Exploiting established markets and niches with continued focused publishing
• 
Experimenting with new fiscal models and innovative digital projects

In different shapes and sizes, and hailing from many corners of the trade, these eight companies reveal the breadth and creativity of independent publishing. From small to large, they also share a passion for their work and a can-do spirit. Alma Books impressed again in 2012 with beautifully produced books, a string of awards and an important cultural contribution through its commitment to translated fiction. Much bigger but no less imaginative, Carlton Publishing Group enjoyed strong sales on the back of its range of Olympic publishing.

Constable & Robinson, which took the title of Independent Publisher of the Year from both The Bookseller and the IPG in 2012, is shortlisted again for continuing to modernise its respected business, especially in digital. Other companies returning to the shortlist this year are Igloo Books, for huge volume sales and a concerted push into the mainstream trade, and Osprey Group, which has successfully integrated some judicious acquisitions and built unrivalled knowledge of its niche areas of publishing.

Icon Books proved that its success in 2011 with The Etymologicon was no fluke, building in 2012 with Mark Forsyth’s follow-up The Horologicon and other imaginative titles. Summersdale Publishers impressed with focused and profitable work in humour and travel books in particular.

Crowdsourcing specialist Unbound, while in a very different vein to the other nominees, has bedded down well after the initial buzz around its launch. In its readiness to try new things, it embodies the innovation and entrepreneurial spirit of independents.

RIGHTS PROFESSIONAL OF THE YEAR

Key points:

• 
Co-edition, direct and club sales expansion and consolidation
• 
Negotiating rights across varied media: TV, theatre, music, etc and driving major media properties
• 
Ramping up translation and overseas rights

As print sales decline, the efforts of these six outstanding rights professionals to maximise opportunities around the world have been crucial.

Jason Bartholomew of Hodder & Stoughton is shortlisted for the fourth year in a row after another standout year of deals, championing new and established brand authors alike and providing strong leadership to his rights team.

Both Tracy Phillips of Simon & Schuster Children’s Books and Mary Thompson of HarperCollins, meanwhile, are nominated for a second successive year. Phillips ramped up Simon & Schuster’s coedition sales in a tough market in 2012, led the way on special accounts in the UK and even notched up a theatrical rights deal—for a stage version of picture book Aliens Love Underpants. Thompson’s work also took in direct and club sales in the UK, while internationally she drove major media properties like “Downtown Abbey” and boyband One Direction.

Kate Hibbert of Little, Brown—which provided last year’s winner in Andy Hine—achieved deals across a wide range of fiction and non-fiction, in the US in particular. Translation rights and large print and audio sales have been other strings to her bow.

Ruth Logan of Hot Key Books proves the huge value of rights professionals to new publishers in particular, having generated plenty of international business over the children’s fiction specialist’s first year of trading.

Alongside these five publishers, the sole agency representative this year is Rachel Mills, who has lifted international rights income at Peters Fraser & Dunlop through direct deals with publishers around the world. Jeanette Winterson, Max Hastings and Bear Grylls are among the authors to have benefited from her globetrotting.

Previous winners

2012   
Andy Hine (Little, Brown)
2011   
Jake Smith-Bosanquet (Conville & Walsh)
2010   
Graham Cook (Haynes)
2009   
Lucy Vanderbilt (HarperCollins)
2008   
Diane Spivey (Little, Brown)

PUBLICITY CAMPAIGN OF THE YEAR

Key points:

• 
Generating word-of-mouth buzz around a title and maintaining momentum
• 
Original, quirky methods of connecting authors and titles with new readers
• 
Engaging with varied media outlets to gain coverage, including bloggers

These five campaigns, each already a winner in the Publishers’ Publicity Circle’s own awards, prove that a great publicity campaign can be the difference between success and failure.

The shortlist includes some of the biggest sellers of 2012. E L James’ Fifty Shades of Grey (Arrow Books) was the most talked-about book of the year—and that word-of-mouth was orchestrated by the campaign of Charlotte Bush and Natalie Higgins, who first leveraged it into the mainstream and then kept up momentum by targeting different segments of the market. The Diary of a Wimpy Kid franchise was already well established, but Tania Vian-Smith’s work on The Third Wheel (Puffin) helped to distinguish the new book from competing interest in film versions of previous titles. A “Blue Peter” appearance and school webcast for Jeff Kinney were part of the mix.

Other publicity campaigns turned books that might easily have been lost in the crowd into hits. The owner-and-pet genre has been saturated lately, but Emma Knight and Emilie Ferguson secured huge attention for A Street Cat Named Bob (Hodder), sensitively nurturing author James Bowen while pitching imaginative angles to different sections of the media.

A metafictional début novel by a foreign author shouldn’t have stood a chance in the UK, but Fiona Murphy orchestrated a transformative campaign for Laurent Binet’s HHhH (Harvill Secker), tenaciously securing in-house support, media reviews and bookseller interest that led to impressive five-figure sales. With a similar result, Samantha Eades’ campaign for Eowyn Ivey’s The Snow Child (Headline) took in author signings and courting of bloggers as well as print media. Each point of the publicity led to a distinctive sales spike—the true measure of a successful publicity campaign.

Previous winners

2012   
Anwen Hoosen & Amelia Fairney
2011   
Rina Gill
2010   
Joe Pickering
2009   Louise Rhind-Tutt
2008   
Emma Knight & Tara Gladden

MARKETING CAMPAIGN OF THE YEAR

Key points:

• 
In-house flexibility to turn titles around rapidly from acquisition
• 
Lengthening the marketing timescale to build anticipation and consolidate sales
• 
Imaginative use of social media and digital add-ons to enhance books’ appeal

Making books stand out from the crowd has never been harder, and these marketing campaigns prove titles don’t become bestsellers by accident.

J K Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy might have appeared a cinch for Little, Brown, but positioning the author for her first adult novel was a major challenge. It pulled off a superb balancing act, tempering huge public interest with Rowling’s wishes for a low-key launch. E L James’ Fifty Shades trilogy might also have seemed an easy sell, but Random House’s campaign—turning round activity in just six weeks from acquisition—was the spark for its astonishing success. Hodder & Stoughton’s campaign for Is it Just Me? by Miranda Hart—starting in the summer and cranking up to publication—spawned another bestseller.

The Penguin Group has two nominations: for Penguin’s campaign around Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking Fast and Slow, which evolved a well-reviewed hardback into a mass-market paperback hit; and for Puffin’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Third Wheel, which continued Jeff Kinney’s inexorable rise.

Macmillan Children’s Books’ campaign for Tony Robinson’s Weird World of Wonders used video, audio and enhanced e-books to lay the foundations for the series. Walker Books is the third children’s publisher on the shortlist, for its 25th anniversary Where’s Wally? campaign, much of it focused on independent bookshops.

Another anniversary-based campaign is The History Press’ work a century after the sinking of the “Titanic”, which used a startling variety of digital activity, including imagined “real-time” Twitter feeds from the ship, to own the occasion. Joining these publishers on the shortlist is Foyles, which created a clever flowchart to help direct shoppers to suitable gifts for family and friends last Christmas.

Previous winners

2012   
Pan Macmillan (Emma Donoghue’s Room)
2011   
Harlequin UK (Mills & Boon New Voices)
2010   
Quercus (Stieg Larsson’s Millenium Trilogy)
2009   Borders (Where’s Wally on Google Earth)
2008   
Waterstones (Writer’s Friend)

ACADEMIC, EDUCATIONAL AND PROFESSIONAL PUBLISHER OF THE YEAR

All publishers have transitioned to digital, but academic, educational and professional specialists led the charge. Their pioneering work amid tough market conditions in 2012 has set the standards for the rest of the publishing world to follow.

Bloomsbury Publishing is shortlisted after integrating carefully chosen acquisitions into a coherent division. Success has been due to organic growth and innovative business models—and it has completely redefined Bloomsbury as a publisher.

Collins Learning—a fusion of Collins’ Languages and Geo divisions—launched new series of books for schools and strengthened its ELT programme. On top of that, it added smart online learning products like its Atlas app and CollinsDictionary website.

Oxford University Press, last year’s winner, has continued to widen focus from its books to a much more expansive use of its content. It has bolted digital innovation firmly on to august book publishing, right across its massive range of material.

Pearson has taken its educational publishing beyond textbooks to support the digital classroom. Global activity has included growth in India and, via its new Affordable Learning website, in developing countries worldwide. It also stepped up its emphasis on environmental responsibility strategies in 2012.

SAGE Publications’ achievements in 2012 included the launch of SAGE Knowledge in social science and forays into Open Access publishing. It widened its e-book programme, pushed deeper into China and grew through the acquisitions of the Royal Society of Medicine and Adam Matthew.

INDEPENDENT ACADEMIC, EDUCATIONAL AND PROFESSIONAL PUBLISHER OF THE YEAR

New for 2013, this award recognises that small companies in academic, educational and professional fields can be just as innovative as their heavyweight counterparts.

The six nominees share huge ambition. Crown House Publishing shows how small companies can move nimbly into new fields; its Independent Thinking Press targeted teachers and leaders in schools and substantially lifted sales. Edward Elgar Publishing also grew turnover in 2012, and made a big investment in a new Elgaronline platform to sell direct to academic libraries, which it has quickly made pay.

John Catt Educational has shown how close indies can get to their niche markets—in its case, the independent schools sector. Detailed customer knowledge and meticulous commissioning in 2012 helped it increase turnover for the third year in a row.

Celebrating its 150th birthday this year, Jordan Publishing is by far the oldest on the shortlist, but has been busy modernising itself with mobile apps, e-books and various digital tools in legal publishing. Much newer, but working with an even older brand, Royal Academy Publications has taken advantage of some popular exhibitions, adding huge value to books and catalogues through high editorial and production values.
Woodhead Publishing rounds out the shortlist, having turned in record sales in 2012 in its STM niches. Its impressive export sales, which now account for the bulk of turnover, prove that independents can compete and succeed on the global stage.

PUBLISHER OF THE YEAR

Key points:

• 
Harnessing and building big-brand authors to maximise sales and reach
• 
Reaching into new digital, social and media territories to broaden appeal

Amid the upheaval in retail and digital, few would argue that 2012 was an easy year for publishers. But these eight companies all found ways to thrive.

From the Pearson umbrella, both DK and Penguin make the cut. DK continued to move beyond books in 2012, expanding its brand into an entertainment powerhouse. Sales grew year on year, and were particularly impressive in children’s. Penguin’s reinvention continued with a mission to put storytelling at its heart, and 2012 saw it notch up 90 top-10 bestsellers, led by Jamie’s 15-Minute Meals, and amplify its brand via events and pop-ups. It also impressed with digital-savvy marketing, and grabbed a share of the self-publishing pie by buying Author Solutions.

The Random House Group had the three biggest sellers of 2012 thanks to E L James. But it enjoyed a standout year even without the trilogy. Its string of distinctive lists added dozens of bestsellers, prizes and digital innovations, and 2012 ended with RHG atop of BookScan’s analysis of UK publishers.

HarperCollins, last year’s winner, edged up its market share again in 2012. Its highlights included Hilary Mantel’s numerous award wins, and more success for George R R Martin and J R R Tolkien. A string of children’s hits helped it sharply increase share in that sector, and digital, international and rights sales all grew.

Orion Publishing Group eclipsed Hodder to become the biggest contributor to the Hachette empire in 2012. With Weidenfeld & Nicolson leading the charge with The Hairy Bikers, and literary and genre fiction chipping in too, Orion had at least one top-10 bestseller in every week of 2012.

Pan Macmillan remained the biggest publisher outside the “big four” in 2012. Its growth came from big-brand fiction authors and market-beating digital sales in particular—its answer to the publishing phenomenon of the year, Fifty Sheds of Grey, encapsulated its imaginative approach.

Faber & Faber had its best-ever tally of titles on the bestseller lists in 2012, and delved deeper into children’s and crime. It also added Faber Social to its Academy, Factory and Independent Alliance arms.

Amid digital growth in 2012, The Folio Society showed the enduring appeal of well-crafted print titles. It partnered with big-name authors and institutions like the British Library, and ran a major festive marketing push. Its recent sponsorship of the new Folio Prize shows its determination to punch above its weight.

Previous winners

2012   
HarperCollins
2011   
Quercus
2010   
Little, Brown Book Group
2009   
Canongate
2008   
Random House CCV Division