British Book Award for Export

The Shortlist - Export Sales under £10m

  • Canongate
    Canongate had a record-breaking year in exports, selling to nearly 100 countries. The snowballing success of Matt Haig had much to do with that, while Maaza Mengiste’s Booker-shortlisted The Shadow King and Nick Cave’s Stranger Than Kindness were among the other contributors. There was double-digit growth in Australia and New Zealand, driven by excellent publicity and marketing, but even more impressive were the numbers across Europe, especially Germany. Canongate excelled on the logistical side too, adjusting scheduling and printing locally when needed in order to maintain supply amid chaos in distribution. One partner said: “The Canongate presentation is always a highlight of our sales conference—invariably a ‘rabbit out of the hat’ moment. It’s a joy to work with a team that understands our market so well.”
  • John Beaufoy Publishing
    Oxford-based indie non-fiction publisher John Beaufoy, short- listed here for the second time in three years, was initially very vulnerable to the pandemic. With most travel brought to an end and bookshops closed, orders of its books for and about countries in the Asia-Pacific region dried up virtually overnight. But it responded to the crisis with a spirit and resolve that is typical of small, specialist indies, taking its export sales meetings and book events online. Its distribution and rep partners also adjusted, keeping books flowing into shops when they were able to open. Exports eventually held up very well, with revenue increasing in Australia and New Zealand thanks to excellent promotional work around one of the authors of its Naturalists’ Guides series, including an endorsement from New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern.
  • Nosy Crow
    Last year’s winner was an even greater international force in 2020, growing export sales by well over 50% despite a drastic reduction in the volume of travel done by its energetic team. The excellent relationships Nosy Crow has built with overseas customers over its first decade in business paid dividends, and it was constantly alert and responsive to their needs as their various markets went in and out of lockdowns. A revamped website, newsletter, and Instagram and WeChat activity all helped to cement connections, as did the investment in more video and other digital assets, and flip-book catalogues, to help customers visualise its books. Exports to China, South Korea and many other Asian territories rocketed, and it was particularly pleased with sales in territories that it has only recently brought in-house.
  • Sweet Cherry
    Sweet Cherry, shortlisted for Children’s Publisher and Small Press of the Year alongside being in the running for this award, more than doubled its export sales in 2020. It signed a new distribution deal with Penguin Random House for 17 African countries, and another with Alkem to extend its presence in south-east Asia. There was exponential growth in China and Hong Kong, driven largely by sales of accessible editions of Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes books to fans of the TV series there. Through its combination of educational and entertainment content, Sweet Cherry has also been encouraging English-language learning and reading for pleasure around the world. “It’s a privilege to be able to work with such an innovative and entrepreneurial company,” said one of its partners.

Shortlist - Export Sales over £10m

  • Bloomsbury
    Responsible for fiction, non-fiction and children’s books in nearly 100 open markets and South Africa, Bloomsbury’s exports team switched very well to remote selling and virtual presentations when Covid hit. Well over two decades on from J K Rowling’s first book it is still carving out new sales for Harry Potter, and in 2020 it achieved stellar sales for Camilla Reid and Ailie Busby’s Lulu series of picture books. There were five-figure sales for 17 adult titles, led by Reni Eddo-Lodge’s agenda-setting Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race, non-fiction from Rutger Bregman and Lisa Taddeo, and novels by Sarah J Maas, Elizabeth Gilbert and Madeline Miller. “They are dedicated, enthusiastic and real book lovers — I can’t recommend them highly enough,” said one testimonial.
  • HarperCollins
    HarperCollins’ 14-strong team in its exports division excelled with its teamwork and customer outreach in 2020, using a dedicated international trade website, author videos, digital assets and extensive mailings to make up for the absence of face-to-face meetings. Hilary Mantel’s The Mirror and the Light was the highlight of a very good year for fiction exports, along with renewed energy for many of HC’s big backlist author brands. A strategy of finding more non-fiction titles with global appeal is starting to pay dividends, as with Jay Shetty’s Think Like a Monk, which topped the charts in South Africa and India. The powerful children’s list was led around the world, as usual, by David Walliams, backed up by Oliver Jeffers and strengthened even further by the addition of the Egmont list.
  • Pan Macmillan
    The 2020 British Book Award for Export winner—not to mention the reigning Publisher of the Year—had a seventh successive year of growth in export markets. Sales to Australia and New Zealand were the highest ever, and the children’s list, spearheaded by the indefatigable Julia Donaldson, flourished in Asia. Fiction benefited from Booker winner Douglas Stuart, Toshikazu Kawaguchi and Picador’s deep range, while global brand authors including Ken Follett, Ann Cleeves, David Baldacci and Danielle Steel rolled on. A blockbuster campaign for Mariah Carey and the worldwide popularity of Joy at Work by Marie Kondo bolstered non-fiction. A few authors managed to tour overseas before the pandemic hit, but Pan Mac’s exports team switched quickly to virtual events to keep authors connected with territories worldwide.
  • Wonderbly
    Personalised books specialist Wonderbly has been an interna- tionally minded business from the get-go. The large majority of its turnover comes from beyond the UK, and it sold books to customers in 159 different countries worldwide in 2020, achieving six-figure sales in 16 of them. Occasion and TV-led marketing powered record sales in the US and Canada, its two biggest overseas markets, and there was especially good growth in Japan and France, its largest non-English market. Unusually for a publisher, Wonderbly handles all its translations in-house, and has now published more than 100 foreign-language editions. Alongside the strategy of creating original content in its own studios and its direct-to-consumer delivery model, it has a uniquely powerful grip on its sales and profitability around the world.

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