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Blackwell's and Little, Brown scoop top BIA Awards

Blackwell’s has been crowned Book Retailer of the Year while Little, Brown scooped the coveted Publisher of the Year title at the Bookseller Industry Awards this evening (12th May).

The chain bookseller was commended for responding to digital challenges faced by bricks and mortar booksellers with its digital development hub in London’s Shoreditch, growing its share of the TCM physical book sales despite challenging conditions and forging partnerships with festivals and universities.

Little, Brown, meanwhile, was lauded for its stellar line up of bestsellers throughout 2013, including Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch and The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith/J K Rowling, as well as for breaking new names such as Deborah Rodriguez, who wrote The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul. It is the second time Little, Brown has won the top publishing title in four years and judges commended the company for being “consistently prominent, profitable and creative” since it last won in 2010.

Pan Macmillan was also recognized with The Bookseller Special Award for its work with Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, with an  impressive 22% year-on-year sales increase since 2013, which saw the publisher profit from film spin-offs, theatre productions and gift ranges. Macmillan Children’s Books publisher Belinda Rasmussen said of winning the Special Award: “We are thrilled to have won the inaugural Bookseller Special Award for our unique and long standing partnership with Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler on the beloved children's favourite picture book, The Gruffalo! It feels really important that the first of these awards has recognised a No 1 children's brand partnership - and coming on the 15th Anniversary of The Gruffalo's publication just makes it even more perfect for all of us involved in the books. Macmillan Children's Books is honoured to publish The Gruffalo - a brilliant marriage of Julia Donaldson's words and Axel Scheffler's perfect illustrations  - we are thankful to both of them for everything and proud to have shared in introducing generations of children around the world to their now favourite monster. Long may The Gruffalo reign!”

Dame Gail Rebuck, chair of Penguin Random House UK, was given the Booksellers Association’s award for Outstanding Contribution to the Book Trade for her devotion to the Books Are My Bag campaign. Tim Godfray, c.e.o of the BA, said: “It started with an aspiration – just a blank sheet of paper and no money. Without Gail Rebuck that is all it might have been.”

The inaugural Imprint of the Year title was bestowed upon Jonathan Cape for its “supreme fusion of the commercial and literary” and for its top 2013 hits including Helen Fielding's Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy.

Meanwhile Penguin Press’s Helen Conford was crowned Editor of the Year for her handling of Morrissey’s Autobiography among other titles.

Literary Agent of the Year was awarded to Caroline Dawnay of United Agents who was described as a “canny exploiter of traditional publishing deals and new opportunities”. Meanwhile, the vote was so close between Rights Professionals Andrea Joyce of Canongate and Penguin’s Zosia Knopp that judges decided to award both women the title. “They work for two very different publishers, but both are indispensible,” the judges said.

Dulwich Books, a London regional finalist, won in the especially hard-fought category of Independent Bookshop of the Year, pocketing the £5,000 cash prize from sponsor Gardners. The bookshop was praised for combining the traditional virtues of bookselling with thoroughly modern marketing and digital activity as well as its “compelling range of events" with bestselling authors.

In Children’s, HarperCollins Children’s Books won Children’s Publisher of the Year category after turning David Walliams into the “king” of the children’s fiction market, as well as seeing its best-ever year in TCM sales and publishing five of the top 10 kids' titles in 2013. Meanwhile, The Edinburgh Bookshop won the Children’s Bookseller of the Year for its “passionate commitment” to reading for young people and Rachael Wing from the Wallingford Bookshop won the Young Retailer of the Year award in honour of Sue Butterworth.

Independent Publisher of the Year went to Canongate in an “exceptionally closely fought category”. The Scottish publisher achieved stunning sales of Yann Martel’s Life of Pi a decade after publication and judges said the company responded well to the crisis triggered by Julian Assange’s decision to back out of a publishing deal.

In digital, eBooks by Sainsbury’s was crowned E-book Retailer of the Year for its “varied and stimulating” e-book promotions both online and in stores, and its collaboration with publishers, while Faber & Faber scooped the prize for Digital Strategy of The Year for its sharp digital marketing, use of different models including apps and subscriptions, and its partnership work with Faber Shop, Faber factory and Drama Online.  

In Academic, Bloomsbury scooped the top spot in the Academic, Educational and Professional Publisher of the Year category following its “strategic” recent acquisitions and Edward Elgar Publishing won for the second time in the Independent Academic, Educational & Professional Publisher of the Year category on the back of record sales and profit.

Orion’s Gone Girl claimed the Marketing Strategy of the Year prize, commended for its “hugely successful steering of word of mouth” for the biggest paperback fiction seller of the year. Meanwhile Headline’s Ben Willis scooped Publicity Campaign of the Year award for The Silent Wife, which the judges said stood out for its “energy and ingenuity”.

Library of the Year went to Midlothian, for its strong children’s service and “hugely impressive” programme of events among other virtues.

Meanwhile the proof-distribution platform giving publishers control in proof distribution and access to feedback NetGalley won the Supply Chain Innovation Award.

Blackwell’s Manchester Paul Thornton was awarded Manager of the Year after “transforming” sales, profits and morale of a flagging store.

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Very good news. And I am glad to hear that Blackwell's is the Book Retailer of the Year. Refreshing to hear some positive and hopeful news!

Very good news. And I am glad to hear that Blackwell's is the Book Retailer of the Year. Refreshing to hear some positive and hopeful news!