The sudden shift to remote teaching and working meant the academic, educational and professional publishing sectors were disrupted more than most in 2020. But these six companies all turned a crisis into an opportunity for evolution and innovation, using digital content and delivery not only to preserve their sales but to make home-based learning easier for grateful students, academics and parents.
This is Bloomsbury’s third win in this category in nine years: testament to consistently strong growth and innovation that not even a pandemic could disrupt. In fact, the closure of universities and schools, and a sudden shift to remote learning, played to Bloomsbury’s strengths in digital resources, including its deep archives of specialist research content and e-books. It moved quickly to meet the needs of students, teachers, academics and librarians, opening up free access to a swathe of its databases, backed by an effective Read On campaign that promoted its support for home study.
New initiatives over the year included a Bloomsbury Academic Podcast and major new resources in art, religion, dance, architecture and filmmaking that showed the breadth of its content. It continued a steady programme of acquisitions, adding left-wing indie publisher Zed Books to its list and completing the integration of theatre specialist Oberon. It made progress on inclusivity, revamping commissioning and outreach policies to diversify its output; and moved forward on sustainability issues, including a switch to renewable energy.
There tends to be little overlap between trade and academic publishing, but in 2020 Bloomsbury showed a rare mastery of both. “To grow sales in such a tough year for all its staff, customers and partners is remarkable,” said the judges. “Bloomsbury is an all-round smart and creative business with timely and topical publishing… there’s a strategic element to everything it does.”
The judges applauded all the nominees for their resilience and support for academic communities around the world. “These are uplifting and inspiring publishers who have done great things in the pandemic—not just for themselves but for many others,” they said.
Cambridge University Press
Princeton University Press