Bookseller Industry Awards 2011: the shortlists: pt 1

Manager of the Year sponsored by Lynda la Plante
Siôn Hamilton
Foyles Charing Cross Road, general manager


Hamilton was made general manager of Foyles' flagship branch in 2009 and since then he has had to balance the logistical issues of a shop that has around 40,000 sq ft of retail space, 28 department heads, 70 shopfloor staff and more than two million customers annually. Range is a key issue for the shop, which has a diverse mix of customers. Hamilton has given greater autonomy to his department heads, as well as expanding the children's section. He has also created specific locations for languages, education and ELT titles, professional titles and a new "lifestyle zone" next to the shop's café.

Hamilton has encouraged the growth of the branch's event's programme. Last year it hosted more than 200, from author talks, jazz gigs and all-day events in partnership with such publishers as Penguin and Faber. The biggest challenge the branch faced in 2010 was the start of the Crossrail building project, which saw key routes to the shop closed off to pedestrians. Yet despite this, Hamilton managed to implement several initiates to maintain sales to compensate for the loss in footfall.

Rik McShane
Waterstone's Piccadilly, store manager


Known within Waterstone's as "Rikadilly", McShane is the store manager of the chain's flagship Piccadilly branch, after previously heading the chain's Oxford Street, Bluewater, Cambridge and Islington stores. In 2010 he oversaw a complete refit of all five floors of the listed Piccadilly building, 58 author events, several of which were for such high profile writers as John le Carré, Keith Richards and Alan Sugar.

McShane has introduced managers to all of Piccadilly's five floors and has utilised the branch's unique layout to celebrate various genres. One example is the cookery book section, where monthly in-store demonstrations from chefs including Madhur Jaffrey have been held. He has also managed to balance the store's two key customer bases: commuters and relaxed browsers, by concentrating on depth of range and by establishing "stores within stores" for busy periods such as Christmas, where shoppers could not only buy books and cards, but they could get their purchases gift-wrapped too.

Susan Sinclair
Foyles at Royal Festival Hall and Foyles St Pancras, manager


In February, Sinclair was promoted to the newly-created role of div-isional manager, adding the One New Change branch to her remit of the RFH and St Pancras, as well as working on the new Bristol store.

Last year when she was in charge of the RFH and St Pancras, Sinclair had to cater to the different clientele of both shops. At St Pancras, Sinclair established regular business and travel promotions, as well as creating a strong foreign fiction section. The branch works closely with the station itself; literary suppers are held in the champagne bar and satellite stalls are run near the Eurostar entrance. Sinclair also introduced new product ranges, such as DVDs. The RFH branch is the bookseller for all of the events at the Southbank Centre and remote stalls are run on a daily basis. Sinclair believes in autonomy for her staff and has expanded Foyles' usual staff promotions so that each month a bookseller takes responsibility for curating a bay of their favourite books. Sinclair says this encourages selling skills and an understanding of the market—a scheme which has since been rolled out throughout Foyles.

Zool Verjee
Blackwell Broad Street Oxford, marketing and events manager


At Blackwell's flagship store, Verjee oversees a varied annual programme of more than 200 events, ranging from the big (the remote bookshops at the annual Oxford Literary Festival, which resulted in a five-figure profit from just nine days of trading), to the small (local author launches and in-store artwork exhibitions). A recent initiative was the staging of a play in-store by Creation Theatre, a venture which drove an additional 8,000 people to the shop.

Verjee established the store's first Writer in Residence‚ with author Roma Tearne spending a week in the branch. Writers including J M Coetzee, Christopher Hitchens and Richard Watson have all had events at the store. For the latter, Verjee created a "Tomorrow's World"‚ promotion, which resulted in more than £4,000 worth of sales, an idea since rolled out throughout the chain.

Themed promotions tied to local events have been introduced, such as Oxford's annual Lewis Car-roll-fest, Alice's Day, and the Oxfordshire Science Festival. -Verjee oversees Blackwell's historic walking tours, the branch's profitable relationship with the Oxford -University Alumni,- and a partnership with reading and -creative writing charity Bookfeast. He has also been invited on to the steering committee for the Oxford bid to be the Unesco World Book Capital in 2014.

Sue Butterworth Young Bookseller of the Year sponsored by HarperCollins
Cameron Crow
Waterstone's Newcastle Emerson Chambers


Crow joined Waterstone's Durham branch two and a half years ago, before becoming a bookseller and then a senior bookseller at the Newcastle branch. In his first year in Newcastle, Crow increased the number of events from 20 to 100, including a sell-out signing with TV presenters Ant and Dec, which resulted in sales of 600 copies of their memoir on the day. He has also handled a crowd of more than 1,000 at a Michael McIntyre signing, and arranged an external event with the Times for Peter Mandelson.
Keen to promote Newcastle and its authors, Crow has also held events for four local football heroes, as well as with Geordie crime writer Danielle Ramsay. His manager Shane Williams says that Crow is largely responsible for the Newcastle shop being in the top five in the chain for promoting link-saves and getting pre-orders for books. Last year the branch won the company-wide competition for reservations of Ian McEwan's Solar (Cape).  

Georgina Hanratty
Tales on Moon Lane


Hanratty has worked in bookselling for more than 10 years, moving into the independent sector seven years ago. Events are core to Tales on Moon Lane, and in 2010 Hanratty increased the number the shop hosts by 50% to more than 150—these have included in-store signings with Lauren Child and Julia Donaldson, the bi-annual Moon Lane Festival, nine school festivals, and school events featuring Conn Iggulden, Polly Dunbar and Scott Westerfield. An event with Cornelia Funke resulted in her new novel Reckless (Little, Brown) becoming a Christmas bestseller for the shop.

Hanratty has also been the lead in the redevelopment of the Tales on Moon Lane website and has furthered the shops' online presence by joining Facebook and Twitter. She has introduced a newsletter, called News on Moon Lane, keeping customers up-to-date with events, competitions and stock. Key titles are further promoted through the shop's reading groups, with Hanratty herself presiding over the group for children between nine and 12 years old.

Rebecca Hart
Foyles Royal Festival Hall and St Pancras


Hart joined Foyles' Charing Cross Road branch in 2005, progressing to the role of deputy head of fiction and duty manager, before moving to the St Pancras branch in 2008. She was then promoted to assistant buyer for St Pancras and Royal Festival Hall, before becoming buyer for the two branches—which have a combined seven-figure turnover and a combined staff of 22—in early 2010. Hart faces the challenge of buying and managing stock, and designing front-of-house offers for both stores, which have widely differing customer bases, while still keeping both firmly within the Foyles brand. At RFH, there is a strong market for arts and literature, while at St Pancras, seasonal promotions are pivotal.

Hart's responsibilities often go beyond her shops. In recognition of her commercial awareness, she was assigned to analyse the entire chain's Christmas performance. In addition, she is the main driver of Foyles' Paperback of the Year promotion, a vital part of its Christmas campaign. She has also been wholly responsible for Foyles' relationship with arts venue Kings Place—the chain is the official bookseller for Words on Monday events and the Guardian's Book Club events. Hart is also involved in core stock management, working to reduce stock returns.

Micha Solana
Blackwell, Royal Bank of Scotland HQ, Edinburgh


Solana joined Blackwell's Edinburgh Academy branch on a part-time basis in 2006 during postgraduate study, before deciding to pursue bookselling full-time. He moved up the ranks at Blackwell, joining the flagship Scottish shop in Edinburgh South Bridge, where he increased sales in the education department by 8% after strengthening ties with the University of Edinburgh. He also revised the layout of the Travel, Maps & Lifestyle department, which boosted sales in maps by 27% and lifestyle titles by 10%.   
Solana was promoted to manager of Blackwell's book unit at the headquarters of the RBS in March 2010. Together with one other member of staff, he has grown sales by 24%, and account sales by 137%—staggering figures given that 600 of the 3,000 RBS HQ staff were made redundant in 2010. He has run many events in the past year and an in-store event with Scottish photographer Colin Prior resulted in 115 copies of Prior's book being sold in four hours. Solana also has an eye for the quirky title: his shop has sold 40% of the total company's sales for the novelty gift book The Cupcake Kit (Chronicle).

Independent Bookseller of the Year sponsored by Gardners Books

The Chepstow Bookshop
Midlands and Wales winner


Open seven days a week, the Chepstow Bookshop, under owner Matthew Taylor and his team, offers customers a diverse range of book-—around 8,000 titles—and non-book products set in in 570 sq ft. Chepstow also has a next-day delivery service on customer orders for over 250,000 titles.

The Chepstow shop prides itself on its extensive schedule of events, running 80 in 2010 for a total audience of more than 18,000. The shop works with the monthly Poetry on the Border events and the annual Monmouth Womens Festival, as well as running events in schools. The shop has recently set up a new transactional website, which has generated £1,500 worth of sales of event tickets and signed copies.

Chorleywood Bookshop
South-east England winner


Established in 1972 the Chorleywood Bookshop, situated on the Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire border, is owned by Morag Watkins and Sheryl Shurville (above). The pair recently gave the shop an in-store refit and online revamp, which has boosted sales, resulting in its second-best year ever. While adult titles are its focus, Chorleywood's range of products goes from e-books and maps to gifts, including toys and jewellery.
The shop runs several late evening shopping events, a popular book group, as well as acting as a ticket office for local events. The Chorleywood Literature Festival is now in its sixth year, and last year the shop ran a range of author events during the festival at a variety of nearby venues. It also runs events in retirement homes, schools and on the Chorleywood Common, as well as ones in conjunction with local businesses, such as a recent "Girls Night In" with Adele Parks at a nearby beauty salon.

The Gutter Bookshop
Ireland winner


Long-time booksellers Bob Johnston and Ann Geraghty set up Dublin's Gutter Bookshop in 2009 and have put their bookselling nous to work.  Despite a declining Irish books market, TGB saw its turnover rise by 22% and 12% respectively for November and December 2010 compared with the same periods in 2009. Shying away from discounting of any kind, TGB runs quirky, bespoke campaigns, such as its Read with Pride gay and lesbian books promotion, which tied-in with Dublin Pride.  

The shop has a strong online presence, with more than 800 subscribers to its newsletter, 800 Facebook fans and more than 2,000 followers on Twitter. Johnston sits on the Irish BA council and manages the Facebook and Twitter pages for World Book Day in Ireland. TGB runs three book groups, a monthly poetry night and children's craft events. In 2010 it had more than 80 events, including 15 author launches.

The Mainstreet Trading Company
Scotland winner


Based in a renovated auction house in the Scottish Borders and owned by Rosamund and Bill de la Hey, Mainstreet has around 6,000 titles in stock and three full-time members of staff alongside four part-time members.

In 2010 it extended its café (the only one in the village) to include a new bar area with wi-fi to encourage "dwell time". It offers two book groups in-store and holds monthly free storytelling sessions. It is also  the official bookseller for the Heart of Hawick Children's Book Award and last year's inaugural Books, Borders and Bikes Festival. It produces its own gift-tokens, offering recipients coffee and a paperback for £10 and promotes a "send on" delivery service for walkers and bikers who buy books in-store.

Mr B's Emporium of Reading Delights
South-west England winner


Now in its fifth year, the six-strong team at Mr B's had an excellent 2010, which saw turnover increase significantly from 2009 and the launch of a new product, Mr B's Reading Year, which provides recipients with a consultation on their reading tastes followed by a gift-wrapped book once a month for a year. Since November 2010, 27 Reading Years have been sold. The product runs alongside its popular Reading Spa days, which the team sold 170 of in 2010.  

Mr B's also revised its events programme, replacing author readings with a season of themed literary evenings featuring a buffet and music by the shop's own band. It was also awarded with a further three-year contract to run book sales at the Bath Literature Festival, which will see it selling books at 130 events in four locations over nine days.

SilverDell of Kirkham
North of England winner


Elaine Silverwood and Sue Wardell opened SilverDell complete with ice cream parlour in June 2000; 10 years later they are still going strong with turnover rising 15% in 2010 year-on-year. Stocking around 6,000 titles it concentrated heavily on events in 2010, increasing the number in its children's offer dramatically and featuring such authors as Jacqueline Wilson and Cressida Cowell. Other highlights included Michael Caine arriving by helicopter and Katie Price bringing the masses to the small market town.
Another new project was initiating and staging The Blooming Good Book Festival within the Southport Flower Show. The shop also staged events in libraries and other external venues and increased schools' discount from 15% to 22.5%, resulting in a 10-fold increase in school accounts last year.


General or Chain Bookselling Company of the Year sponsored by Martina Cole
Asda

Asda's price-driven ethos worked in 2010 as the supermarket increased volume sales by over one million copies on the previous year. It started the year with a big January sale, selling brand authors and recent books at £1—shifting almost three million books in three weeks. High discounts were continued throughout the year on key titles, including Alexander Orlov's A Simples Life (Ebury) sold at £4.97 and Stephenie Meyer's The Life of Bree Tanner (ATOM) at £3.50, as well as a large range of titles in its general two for £7 promotion and two for £15 Christmas hardbacks. Last year Asda held its first dedicated book event, The Big Read, which saw the paperback chart, classic children's, adult fiction, Disney titles and Children's story books sold at two for £5—as a result its market share  doubled during the promotion.

Foyles

The defending champ in this category, Foyles saw continued value and volume growth during last year, and was particularly strong in fiction—with sales rising by almost 15% in value. The flagship branch on Charing Cross Road was the key driver for this success, but last year also saw the opening of another branch, One New Change in the City of London, bringing its chain to five shops (a sixth, and first outside London, opened in March 2011, after the judging period for this award). A redesign of its store in the Westfield shopping centre brought the bookselling operation to the ground floor, with the upper floor leased to other companies.  
Digital has played an increasing part in Foyles' 2010 offering. It is fully engaged with social networking, running a regular Friday #bookgame on Twitter. It redesigned its website in November in time for the Christmas trading period, adding live stock availability and improving functionality across the site from search to checkout.

Sainsbury's

Sainsbury's increased its drive into the books market, rebranding several stores with a new-look books department, which led to rocketing value sales, and volume increases of 16% in 2010 over the previous year. It expanded its Book Club—which originally featured an adult fiction paperback every two weeks and three children's titles per month—to include between one and three cookery titles. An offer for the Book Club was established online, helping to increase sales by more than 200% in club titles.
The supermarket targeted parents and grandparents to drive sales in the annuals market—selling them in its Sainsbury's Metro, smaller shops and online for the first time, helping it achieve a market share increase of over 30%. Volume sales of paperbacks also increased by 100% with the expansion of its paperback chart two for £7 offer to include all paperbacks in its backlist.

Waterstone's

Following a difficult 2009, which led to Dominic Myers taking over as m.d., there have been changes across the Waterstone's business. A decentralisation of many range-buying decisions has meant that a third of front-of-store titles are now chosen on a shop level. A buying team dedicated to range was also created, and trials were run on promotional ideas such as dedicated spaces for publisher brands. Operationally, availability from Waterstone's centralised warehouse, the Hub, improved. Meanwhile, there was an increased focus on training, particularly with the Spread the Word programme, which focuses on sales techniques.

Several stores were closed, but 20 others were re-branded under the new "Feel Every Word" philosophy. Paperchase concessions were introduced into 15 stores, the 5th View bar in the Piccadilly branch was overhauled, and cafés and bars were added to branches in Cambridge and Manchester. There were 24% more events across the chain and new writing was supported once more though the New Voices, Crime Line Up and Waterstone's Children's Book Prize campaigns.  On the digital side, the retailer sold its one-millionth e-book in 2010, the first Waterstone's app was launched and a new look for Waterstones.com resulted in e-book sales growing more than 60%.

W H Smith

W H Smith now has almost 1,000 stores across the UK and internationally, having expanded in 2010 with 10 new high street stores, five workplace stores, an additional airport and rail unit, three hospital stores and three new international locations, including Australia for the first time.

Partnerships have become increasingly important for the retailer, on the digital side (Samsung and Dixons) and for print books (McDonald's and the Times). The biggest partnership of 2010 was securing the Richard & Judy spring and autumn Book Clubs, and WHS has sold more than one million copies through the clubs across the two campaigns (Autumn 2010 and Spring 2011).
An added focus on local books in-store has led to an increase in sales in both regional fiction and non-fiction. WHS has also marketed consumer offers directly onto till receipts for the first time, focusing on key areas such as children's books and education. Its Christmas cross-platform Think campaign once again targeted key brands with strong price promotions.

Children's Independent Bookseller of the Year sponsored by Walker Books

The Book Nook

Opened in March 2009 by Vanessa Lewis and Julie Ward, Hove-based The Book Nook saw turnover almost double from February 2010 to February 2011. Lewis, the buyer for the shop who is a member of The Bookseller's Children's Bookseller's Choice panel, has also been invited to sit on the panel to select the next Children's Laureate, as well as being a local school governor. Ward also works closely with the Early Years Council and the Ethnic Minority Services (EMAS), leading to a significant order from the latter in March 2010.
The shop offers customers a wide range of books and non-book products, as well as cakes and even an in-store pirate ship. A growth area in the past year has been in books for readers aged nine plus, especially boys, and this has led to the creation of a new book club aimed specifically at them. The Book Nook runs a large number of events in the local community and is the children's bookseller at the Brighton Dome & Festival and the supplier for the Theatre Royal Brighton. It runs events on poetry for teenagers, treasure hunts, fancy-dress days and a pantomime, as well as numerous author and schools events; with highlights last year including signings with Emily Gravett, Cathy Cassidy and Rick Riordan.

Children's Bookshop

Last year was difficult for the nine-strong team of the Children's Bookshop in London's Muswell Hill, with founder Lesley Agnew dying in July. Yet it is a testament to Agnew's legacy, and the bookselling skill of her daughter Kate Agnew (right), who has ably taken over the reins, that the shop has continued to thrive in this, its 37th year. In 2010 it developed its schools business and range—the 600 sq ft store stocks around 12,000 titles and sales were up by around 10% at the start of 2011.

Staff expertise is developed by paid reading days and paid overtime for training and briefing sessions. The shop runs a book-gifting scheme for babies, weekly storytelling sessions and has a regular newsletter and local newspaper column to promote events.
School business is a key part of the Children's Bookshop's sales, with two London Education Authority's paying the shop for both books and consultation.

Seven Stories Bookshop

The bookshop in Newcastle-based Seven Stories, a gallery and archive space dedicated to children's books, celebrated its fifth birthday last year with strong sales: turnover for 2009/10 was up by almost 10% compared to the year before. The centre sees around 70,000 visitors, and all of the profits from the shop are gift-aided back to the centre. All members of staff are involved in buying stock, which ranges from picture books for babies to non-fiction books on children's literature for adults, as well as a large range of non-book products. The shop generates a large amount of its sales from a dedicated section showcasing books tied to gallery exhibitions—sales of Lauren Child titles during her seven-month exhibition reached over £12,000, for example.

As well as in-shop events with authors such as Julia Donaldson and Eoin Colfer, the Seven Stories bookshop increased its programme of external events in 2010, alongside developing its existing relationships with schools. The bookshop has recently worked more closely with the Seven Stories Learning and Participation team to increase the shop's offers to nurseries and schools, and this cross-departmental approach resulted in account sales being up by more than 75% by the end of the year.

Tales on Moon Lane

It was a busy year for owner Tamara McFarlane at her south London independent, as Tales on Moon Lane added three members of staff to its roster—an American bookseller, an ex-teacher as an education manager and a window dresser. This increased specialism, combined with more training on stock control and specific buying days, seems to have paid off with both schools business and gross turnover up by around 8% each. The shop also increased its range,  offering by re-classifying its fiction stock and re-investing in its non-fiction and teen fiction ranges.

The shop ran over 150 events in the last year, including signings with Julia Donaldson and Lauren Child, as well as multi-school events and the shop-based bi-annual Children's Literature Festival. In-store activities also included Italian Sundays, teachers' reading groups, pre-reading phonics sessions and Born With A Book, an Usborne supported promotion that provides babies with their first book for free.
ToML is also involved in local community events, creating the Southwark Schools Reading Festival, which is now in its third year, and introducing the We Read teen book festival at University College School.

Children's Bookseller of the Year sponsored by Usborne

Asda

Asda introduced several new offers last year, raising annual sales by a high single-figure percentage—picture books were included in a new two for £7 offer, board books were offered in the January sale for £1 and the retailer increased its market share in the annuals market with a new three for £10 offer. It also launched its first dedicated books event, The Big Read, which saw a variety of children's books offered at two for £5.

Cross-category initiatives were also carried out in stores, raising the profile of children's books: Stephanie Meyer's Eclipse was promoted with DVDs and Music, licensed books were sold with Home and Stationery products—and Roald Dahl titles were promoted on Asda own-brand cereals.

Foyles

With decentralised buying, each Foyles branch has its own tailored approach to children's bookselling. Gift purchases are heavily promoted in its St Pancras store, while in its Westfield branch low-level displays and reading areas are given prominence. In all stores the chain has created a dedicated young adult section, with value sales growing by more than 10% in the category. Events are also tailored to each store, with the flagship Charing Cross Road branch promoting a series of young adult authors in 2010 and Westfield running regular weekend and holiday storytelling events.

Foyles has developed partnerships with Mumsnet, toyshop Hamleys and the teddy bear crafting company Build-a-Bear. Each branch also works closely with local schools to provide book supply services as well as visits and events, resulting in a growth in local school accounts.

Sainsbury's

Sainsbury's total volume sales for children's books significantly outperformed the market in 2010. The supermarket also grew its market share in children's annuals last year by targeting its core customers, parents and grandparents, with a two for £8 promotional offer. Annuals were also sold in convenience stores and online for the first time in 2010. The chain ran several promotions across the year, including an exclusive book and DVD promotion for Cressida Cowell's How To Train Your Dragon (Hodder Children's), which saw customers who had bought the DVD receive the book for free. Sainsbury's Book Club includes three children's titles per month, and the club was expanded in 2010 to the online store, with value sales up by more than 100%.

Scholastic Book Clubs

SBC sells books directly to children through over 15,000 schools in the UK. A key part of its online offer is its children's site, which was relaunched in 2010. Traffic to the site has subsequently increased by 40%. More than one in six of all visitors used the site's Book Wizard recommendation quiz and the site also offers sample chapters, exclusive content and video trailers.

The company offers customers value packs, and it has extended this offer by introducing series-themed packs at discounts of up to 80%. More than 200 titles (17% of its range) cost less than £3 each, and many titles are offered at £1.99 through its "We Love This" product range. SBC has a range of paperback exclusives, with 2010's line-up including David Almond's My Name Is Mina (Hodder Children's) and Cherry Crush (Puffin), from Cathy Cassidy's Chocolate Box Girls series.

Waterstone's

Around a fifth of Waterstone's sales come from children's books, and 2010 saw the chain expand its children's offering in stores as it revamped sections in six key shops to make them more child and pram-friendly. The chain has  dedicated Children's Regional Support Managers, and over 390 of its booksellers are taking part in a six-month children's expert bookselling programme. The children's staff also created a guide for other non-children's staff members called Bookpig, with advice on key sections, titles and age ranges. In Autumn 2010, children's staff attended six road shows for the first time, with the children's central team getting advice on promotion during key trading periods.

On World Book Day 150 stores held events and 86% of the chain  held children's author events across the year. The chain also supported undiscovered illustrators with its Picture This prize and new authors in its Waterstone's Children's Book Prize.

W H Smith

WHS continued to develop its longstanding children's book partnership with McDonald's in 2010, adding non-fiction titles into the offer for the first time—the result was sales through its Happy Meal promotion reached over half a million units.
The chain invested more space to children's products last year and expanded the pre-school area with both the Usborne and Priddy Books brands, while new, dedicated author bays were also introduced for authors such as Michael Morpurgo and Robert Muchamore. At Christmas it also launched new £5 box sets for both authors and brands, including Peppa Pig and Jacqueline Wilson. WHS' new promotion in 2010, "buy one get one for £1", was a boon to its children's sales, with individual stores able to tailor the promotions to their local areas.


Direct Bookselling Company of the Year

Amazon.co.uk

The largest books e-tailer on the block shows no signs of resting on its laurels. Its biggest event of the year was the UK launch of a new generation of Kindle e-reading device and the Kindle store in the UK. The Kindle has subsequently become the biggest selling product of all time worldwide for Amazon and the UK store. The store launched with 400,000 Kindle e-book titles, which has since grown to 550,000 titles and 170 newspapers.

Customer offers remain key. In November 2010, Amazon.co.uk launched its initial Black Friday campaign—which has seen success previously in the US—offering high discounts on hundreds of Christmas gifts over five days, including book sets from Nigella Lawson and Stieg Larsson. In addition, it introduced a free delivery service for orders over £25 for customers in 17 European countries.
Amazon also grew its print-on-demand programme through agreements with the US Library of Congress and the British Library, resulting in 50,000 and 65,500 books available respectively to customers. It also launched its digital self-publishing programme Kindle Direct Publishing. Last year saw Amazon.co.uk re-launch its Amazon Rising Stars promotion to cover three set publication periods (January to March, April to June and July to September), so that début authors could be promoted to customers throughout the whole year.

Scholastic Book Clubs

Scholastic Book Clubs (SBC) have been selling books directly to children through schools in the UK since 1964, and added an additional 7,500 customers and 600 more schools last year. The company changed gears in 2009, successfully launching its transactional website, which has attracted tens of thousands of customers. In 2010, SBC set up partnerships with literacy programmes the Renaissance Learning's Accelerated Reader and Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Awards shadowing schemes.
SBC also took the website overseas and the International School Book Club introduced online School Group Ordering in Autumn 2010—18% of international revenue now comes through the website with more than 46,000 visitors from 143 countries.
Charitable giving is very important to SBC, and alongside partnerships with BBC Children in Need and Readathon it runs a school-of-the-month scheme, which in 2010 saw more than £20,000 worth of books go to charities.
The company has broadened its range of value packs for schools; as a result, revenue sales have increased in 2010 by almost 10% from 2008. Seventeen percent of SBC's range costs less than £3, signifying the clubs' focus on accessibility. In 2010, website usage increased by over 40% in revenue terms and revenue order on the clubs' core catalogue increased by over 4% year-on-year in the key back-to-school campaign.

The Book Depository

The Book Depository, which has won the Direct Bookselling Company of the Year award for two years running, has raised its game again, increasing turnover by more than 20% last year. TBD continues with its "all books available to all" credo, and can now dispatch six million titles to customers within 48 hours. In 2010 the online retailer expanded so that it now reaches 103 companies and it had tens of millions of unique visitors to its website. Last year also saw TBD revamp its blog, review and competition pages—and TBD is now expanding its marketing into Facebook, having found success on Twitter.

New innovations in 2010 included a price-drop notification email for books on customers' wishlists; an e-book launch which included device filtering and PayPal promotion; expanded catalogue range; a sixth birthday Spread the Love campaign; academic promotions for students and a Refer a Friend Christmas promotion. TBD also operates strict pricing review, changing up to three million prices a day in line with competitor prices and availability.

The Book People

The Book People has successfully honed its bringing books direct to the workplace model for 22 years, and added increased digital elements in 2010. TBP has upped its online product ranges to 18,000 lines, which has boosted average order values by a huge 150%. Development in search engine optimisation also helped to raise sales. The events team has spread the brand further afield with author signings at events like The Good Food Show and Gardeners' World Live.

Customers can also now pay for their hand-delivered products online, while a new e-commerce platform for the TBP army of 140-plus book distributors enables them to market products and communicate with potential customers more effectively. New product lines have also included introducing more regional titles to enable distributors to offer a more local service. The TBP three main buyers—who have over 57 years of experience between them—focused in 2010 on utilising stock more effectively. This resulted in a drastic reduction in stock holding, and an increase in profits.


Library Innovation of the Year

Bloomsbury Publishing
Public Library Online


Public Library Online was launched in March 2010, based on Bloomsbury Library Online, which originally launched in 2009. PLO is a publisher-led, online access digital library that supplies users with themed digital bookshelves. PLO is sold to libraries on an annual subscription basis and is currently used by 20 authorities reaching more than seven million people (13 authorities joined within the judging period). PLO offers users simultaneous access to books on a 24/7 basis, with no cap on lending, and it is available through all Flash internet devices, including laptops, library terminals and smart phones.

Hillingdon Libraries
Library refurbishment


In 2007, Councillor Henry Higgins, the man in charge of libraries in Hillingdon, set about refurbishing the borough's libraries alongside library campaigner Tim Coates. The remodelling aimed to turn the borough's libraries into modern venues by inviting brands such as Starbucks and Apple on board, and employing retail practices to drive down costs. The subsequent reduction in back office staff has resulted in savings of £311,000, which have been re-invested in the service. The newly-refurbished libraries all have a set brand and the first library to be opened using the new model was Ruslip Manor in October 2007, where visits have since increased by over 80%. In July 2010 the new Botwell Green Library opened and visits have already increased by 31%.

Essex County Council Libraries
Space Station 2010


Aware that as children move to secondary school they tend to lose interest in The Reading Agency's Summer Reading Challenge (which takes places each year in libraries across the UK), Essex County Council Libraries launched a new summer reading challenge in 2010 for kids aged 10 to 16.  Called Space Station 2010 the challenge required the 6,798 entrants to complete six "atmosphere cards" by either reading a book or answering set questions. For every two cards completed, participants received quiz cards and vouchers entitling them to a free DVD loan. ECCL received funding from Essex Out Of Hours Learning and consulted with groups of year six and seven pupils and YMCA youth groups to ensure the challenge was attractive to its target age group.

London Libraries Consortium,
Revitalising reference information


The London Libraries Consortium consists of 14 London boroughs that aim to improve services and lower costs collectively. Founded in 2004, the LLC covers over three million residents and 150 library branches. It has recently focused on making reference resources more cost-effective by increasing online materials. Starting in the borough of Enfield, the LLC carried out a year-long training programme for staff and initiated a comprehensive marketing programme, promoting the shift online—usage of online reference materials has increased by over 300% in Enfield, saving some £40,000. This pilot is now being rolled out to the other 13 boroughs.

New Writing North
Read Regional


Read Regional is an annual campaign run by literary development charity New Writing North in conjunction with libraries across the North East. It aims to promote local authors to readers and to support libraries through events and the promotion of library borrowing. Eight books are chosen each year from publisher submissions, a mix of poetry and fiction, and libraries commit to buying at least £500 worth of books in return for promotional material and access to the authors for events. Last year sales of books from libraries reached £5,000 and there were 31 author events, including a Read Regional writer's salon at the Durham Book Festival.  

Nielsen Book
LibScan


In 2006 Nielsen Book launched BookScan for libraries, enabling libraries to compare their own stock with retail sales. However, libraries then highlighted a need for a service that showed both local and national borrowing figures, so Nielsen piloted LibScan in April 2008, before launching fully in April 2009. LibScan now collects library data from 53 library authorities, representing more than 1,400 library branches. LibScan is updated monthly and allows users to monitor the market and their stock, helping to inform budget planning and stock control decisions.

Yate Library, South Gloucestershire
Opening The Book/Furniture Ltd


Last year library interior design company Opening The Book planned, designed and fitted a new look for Yate Library in Gloucestershire—bringing retail practices to the library space. OTB removed barriers, replaced counters with self-service stations (allowing staff to take a more customer-focused approach), put in display walls and mid-floor promotion units and introduced comfortable seating to encourage "dwell time". These changes have resulted in a 16% increase in lending figures (July to September 2010 compared to the same period in 2009). A new IT suite has enabled four new weekly classes, and an activity space has allowed exhibitions to run. The new children's library has seen an increase of 135% in story-time session attendees.