Children's Publisher of the Year

Winner - Usborne


After six straight years on the shortlist, Usborne scoops Children’s Publisher of the Year for an exceptional 2019. Nearly half a century on from its creation, Peter Usborne and, now, daughter Nicola continue to take the business to new heights. TCM sales jumped nearly 7% and growth overseas, where Usborne makes most of its money, was even faster. With nine international imprints and translations into well over 100 languages, this is a truly global publisher.

Last year’s highlights included celebrations for 20 years of publishing the phenomenally successfully That’s Not My… series, which sells a book a minute in the UK. Rebecca Hill, Editor of the Year at last year’s Nibbies, continued to build her acclaimed fiction list, with Holly Bourne, Peter Bunzl and Sophie Anderson among its stars.

“It was an amazing year for an incredible publisher,” concluded the judges. Beyond its publishing, they were hugely impressed by Usborne’s progressive ethos. Its industry leading care of staff includes generous pay, superb perks, sabbaticals and clear career progression—all of which make for a company that few people seem to leave. The Usborne Academy gives a publishing leg-up to people from diverse backgrounds through a fully paid week of work experience, and the Usborne Foundation supports vital literacy projects. “Usborne looks after its staff brilliantly... it’s so clear it’s a family-run affair,” judges said.


Highly Commended - Scholastic


Near double-digit sales growth made it the TCM’s third-biggest kids’ publisher in 2019, and Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler delivered the year’s top-selling picture book. It made big strides on diversity, green issues and staff care too. “It had a really impressive year of growth, innovation and reaching new communities,” said the judges.


The Shortlist

  • DK
    DK is shortlisted for this award for the ninth year in a row. It was the TCM’s top children’s non-fiction publisher in 2019, but this is a truly international powerhouse of children’s reference and knowledge.
  • HarperCollins Children's Books
    HarperCollins Children’s once again swept the bestseller lists, with three David Walliams titles in the annual TCM top 10 and nearly £20m sales from him overall. But David Baddiel and Michael Morpurgo showed it was no one-trick pony.
  • Macmillan Children's Books
    Macmillan Children’s had a seventh consecutive year of growth, with novelty, pre-school and fiction leading the way. Sales from Julia Donaldson rolled relentlessly on in the 20th anniversary year of The Gruffalo and Fargher’s The Umbrella Mouse was huge.
  • Nosy Crow
    Nosy Crow won this award in 2019 and 2017, and has now broken into the TCM’s top 30 publishers after just nine years in business. Collaborations with big brands—including the National Trust, John Lewis and the British Museum—have helped lift it there.
  • Penguin Random House Children's
    PRH Children’s has been the UK’s biggest kids’ publisher since the merger of Penguin and Random House, but 2019 was the year it took flight. It grew TCM sales by £2m, with notable débuts from Jamie Littler to go alongside other established author brands.
  • Scholastic
    Scholastic was the TCM’s 10th-biggest publisher in 2019, with growth touching 10%. Much of that was down to Craig Smith and Katz Cowley’s The Wonky Donkey rolling on, and yet another hit from Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler.
  • Usborne
    Usborne sat just below Scholastic in the TCM’s publisher list, its sales up 6.8% year on year. It celebrated the 20th birthday of the “That’s Not My…” series. Two-thirds of its revenue came from overseas, including via its nine foreign-language imprints.
  • Wonderbly
    The new kid on the block diversified in 2019 by adding personalised early learning, sticker and journals. Wonderbly pushed hard into new international, TV development and professional service markets. The result was sales growth of more than 20%.