Publisher of the Year

Publisher of the Year

Winner: Publisher of the Year


Penguin General

Publisher of the Year is always among the most hotly contested of the British Book Awards, and after coming close in each of the last three years, Penguin General scoops it for a stellar 12 months across the board. The division grew its TCM sales by 29.5% and racked up 19 different books on the Sunday Times bestseller lists. They were led, of course, by Michelle Obama’s Becoming, which sold half a million copies in just six weeks to become the year’s biggest hardback—and the social impacts of Penguin’s publication and associated events were just as significant.

Becoming was backed up by many more bestsellers in Penguin General’s stronghold of narrative non-fiction, with Antony Beevor and Ben Macintyre among them. Bart van Es’ The Cut Out Girl added the Costa Book of the Year Award, and also from Fig Tree Books was Dolly Alderton’s Everything I Know About Love, which sat in the bestseller lists for much of the year. Penguin Life was another standout list.

In fiction, Penguin General built Cara Hunter into a major-league crime fiction brand. At the more literary end, stalwarts including Jonathan Coe, Pat Barker and William Boyd all delivered, and newer names such as Sophie Macintosh emerged—but crucially many of those in the often neglected midlist also flourished, such as Elizabeth Strout.

Behind the scenes, Penguin General’s marketing, publicity and rights teams were firing on all cylinders. Collaboration with retailers was notably good, and it cemented its reputation for outstanding author care. “This is a standard of imaginative professionalism to which all publishers should aspire, and which most authors can only dream about,” said one.

“It was a stunning year all round for Penguin General,” concluded the British Book Awards judges. “Their publishing sets the standards... Authors love them and never leave, and you can see why.”

Publisher of the Year Shortlist

  • Bloomsbury
    Pushed past the £50m mark in the TCM with 6.9% growth, with Tom Kerridge its top performer and Raven Books a star list
  • Bonnier Books UK
    Rode a wave with Heather Morris’ The Tattooist of Auschwitz, and grew TCM sales by 50%
  • HarperCollins
    The 2018 Publisher of the Year, it published the year’s two top selling books, from Gail Honeyman and David Walliams
  • Little, Brown Book Group
    Michael Wolff, J K Rowling and Celeste Ng were among the top contributors to double-digit TCM growth
  • Orion Publishing Group
    Shortisted for the first time in many years, thanks to bankers such as Ian Rankin and surprise hits such as The Ordnance Survey Puzzle Book
  • Pan Macmillan
    Winner in 2017 and 2015, it grew TCM sales by 9.5% in 2018, and made Adam Kay’s This is Going to Hurt the top non-fiction seller