Imprint of the Year

Winner: Imprint of the Year



Pan Macmillan’s Picador imprint scoops this award for the second time in four years, having straddled the literary and the commercial aspects of publishing to great effect in 2018.

Against a backdrop of modest growth for the TCM, Picador’s sales rocketed 43% to reach £12.5m in 2018—the highest point since the days of Bridget Jones more than a decade ago. A large slice of that came from Adam Kay’s This is Going to Hurt, which sold more than half a million copies—and Picador added around half as many units again through e-book and audiobook formats.
But as ever at the imprint, there was strength right across the board. Many books were successful in quieter—but, in the context of their markets, no less impressive—ways. In the always-challenging poetrysector, for instance, it hit £1m in TCM sales for the first time, thanks to authors ranging from Pam Ayers to John Cooper Clarke. Prizes as diverse as the Goldsmiths, Orwell and FT & McKinsey Business Book of the Year all went to Picador authors—Robin Robertson, John Carreyrou and Darren McGarvey respectively.

Throughout, the publishing was backed by inventive marketing, seen most vividly on the anonymously written The Secret Barrister. Author care is another strong point: “Even if I had nothing left to say, I’d probably still try to write a book just to have the pleasure of working with them,”said one happy writer. Picador has become that rarest of beasts in the trade: a publishing brand that resonates with readers as well as authors, agents and retailers.

“Picador had a stunning year in every market it published into,” said the judges. “It’s such a rounded list with so much to admire, and seems a very happy place for authors to be.”

Imprint of the Year Shortlist

  • HQ
    Just two years old, but already a major force in HarperCollins’ commercial fiction, non-fiction and digital output, nearly doubling its sales in 2018
  • Jonathan Cape
    Revered literary list that had one of its most critically acclaimed years yet, including the Folio, Costa Poetry and T S Eliot prizes
  • Trapeze
    Another young imprint that has made a quick impact, hitting £5m in TCM sales and getting a surprise Christmas smash with The Ordnance Survey Puzzle Book
  • Two Roads
    Small but powerful imprint at John Murray Press that counted Sir David Attenborough and Ruth Hogan among its stars in 2018
  • Viking
    Last year’s Imprint of the Year had a fine 2018, selling half a million copies of Michelle Obama’s Becoming in the final two months of the yea
  • Little, Brown / Abacus
    A standout list for parent Hachette, it doubled sales targets and had an agenda-setting book in Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury
  • Zaffre
    A star performer in a challenging year for Bonnier, it delivered one of its biggest hits yet with Heather Morris’ The Tattooist of Auschwitz
  • Picador
    As ever at the imprint, there was strength right across the board.