Independent Publisher of the Year

Independent Publisher of the Year

Winner: Independent Publisher of the Year

Faber & Faber

Faber & Faber

Faber & Faber scoops this award for the second time in a row after a year that delivered commercial and critical success in equal measure.

It claimed the best financial 12 months in its history, with a 14% jump in sales enough to make it the UK’s 12th biggest publisher in the TCM—a remarkable turnaround for a publisher that just a few years ago was in the doldrums. It had three books in the year-end TCM top 50: two from Sally Rooney including this year’s British Book Awards Book of the Year Normal People, and Anna Burns’ Milkman, which ended Faber’s year with a bang by picking up the Man Booker Prize. There were many more prize-winning books besides, with the T S Eliot and Forward prizes making it a fine year for poetry in particular.

Judges also admired the diversity of Faber’s publishing, the smart use of its brand in public-facing ventures such as Faber Academy and Faber Members, and its backing of many other indie publishers through its Independent Alliance. “Even without the Man Booker this would have been an amazing year for Faber, but that was the icing on the cake. It’s distinctive and diverse and quick on its feet... it’s everything an independent publisher should be.”

Highly commended in this category is ELLIOTT & THOMPSON, which punched way above its weight to push TCM sales up by a third on just 14 well-chosen frontlist titles. Its full-time team of just four people built on the success of Tim Marshall’s Prisoners of Geography with more hits from authors including Julia Boyd and Tony Kent, and achieved two Waterstones Book of the Month slots. “They made an amazing splash with just a few people and a few books: this is what great independent publishing looks like,” said the judges.

Shortlist

  • Atlantic Books
    Continued a striking turnaround story under m.d. Will Atkinson in 2018, increasing TCM sales by a quarter and benefiting from film adaptations of its titles
  • Canongate
    Matt Haig—and Francis Bickmore, Editor of the Year shortlistee— wasabigpartofahikeinTCMsalesof nearly a fifth, though backlist, exports and audio were strong, too
  • Cicerone
    Cumbria-based independent shrugged off the woes of the travel market with best-ever sales as it enters its 50th year in outdoor exploration books
  • Hardie Grant
    Secured double- digit growth after diversifying well beyond its core food and drink book publishing into wellness and narrative non-fiction
  • Nosy Crow
    Children’s Publisher of the Year at the British Book Awards after another year of exceptional UK and international growth and tireless marketing
  • Wild Thing Publishing
    Small but ambitous outdoor adventure specialist, and winner of The Bookseller’s inaugural Small Press of the Year award earlier in the year