The entries are in, the votes have been counted, and the judges have agreed the shortlists for the 2017 FutureBook Awards. Nearly 50 people, platforms and products made the list - which includes traditional publishers, bootstrapped startups, employees and solo entrepreneurs.
Building on previous years, there was an increase in the total number of entries and they reflected an international environment for innovation in publishing. It feels like digital has truly come of age this year, with integrated and blended approaches to campaigns and products. There is a huge range of talent, ideas and approaches to celebrate. Drumroll please…
The 2017 Shortlists
In at the top with the contenders for the leadership prize, FutureBook Leader of the Year. Our finalists include Emmanuel Nataf, c.e.o. and co-founder of Reedsy; Crystal Mahey-Morgan, founder of OWN IT!; Asi Sharabi. co-founder/c.e.o. of Wonderbly; Arpita Das of Yoda Press; Mads Holmen, founder and c.e.o. of Bibblio; and Rebecca Herrmann, founder & co-c.e.o. of Bolinda.
The FutureBook Disruptor of the Year drew a huge range of entries. The final line-up features Sam Missingham of Lounge Books; Siena Parker from Penguin Random House UK; Gustavo Lembert from TAG Literary Experiences; Ashleigh Gardner of Wattpad; Dave Sherwood from Bibliotech Education; and double-act Nikesh Shukla and Julia Kingsford of The Good Journal and The Good Literary Agency.
FutureBook Book of the Year is divided into two categories. First up the Children’s shortlist: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them audiobook, Pottermore; Dan and Phil Go Outside – enhanced ebook for Apple, Ebury, Penguin Random House; The F2 Book (app), Blink Publishing; Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Kindle in Motion, Pottermore; and My Golden Ticket, Wonderbly.
Next is the Adult FutureBook Book of the Year: The Sky Below: A True Story of Summits, Space, and Speed, Amazon Publishing; Last Seen Online, unrd; Louise Parker: Lean for Life - Optimum Weight Loss (iOS app), Octopus publishing; Olive Green, SuperMemo World; and Ripper: The Secret Life of Walter Sickert, Amazon Publishing.
FutureBook Campaign of the Year showed a wide range of innovative approaches, channels and budgets for different audiences, products and campaign aims. This competitive field includes Nasty Women, 404 Ink; Behind Her Eyes, HarperCollins UK; IMAGINE, The Quarto Group; Ken Follett's A Column of Fire Global Serialisation, Pan Macmillan and The Pigeonhole; Penguin Pride, Penguin Random House UK; HarperCollins 200 Years Campaign, HarperCollins Publishers; Six new beasts - one fantastic voice, Pottermore; and Start a Story, Penguin Random House.
The Platform of the Year – Reference/Education shortlist features Bibliotech Education, Bloomsbury Publishing Platform from Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, Collins Dictionary from HarperCollins, Junction by Junction Education and Kortext.
The Consumer Platform of the Year includes: Ottolenghi Cookbooks Online, Penguin Random House; BookGig, HarperCollins UK; Riffle; Canongate.co.uk, Canongate; Humble Bundle, Humble Books; and The Penguin Podcast, Penguin Random House.
And concluding the 2017 hotlist is Book Tech Company of the Year, now in its third year. The companies going forward to the live pitch off at the FutureBook conference are: Reading in Heels, Authorfy, Sweek.com, unrd, Griffindocs Media, and The Hawaii Project.
Molly Flatt, programme director for FutureBook, said "One of the pleasures of shortlisting this year’s FutureBook Awards lay in the diversity of the entries we received. Not just in the number of countries we received submissions from, the size and type of companies, and the range of people involved - although those were reassuringly broad. What was also inspiring was the sheer eclectic mix of innovation we saw.
"Companies focused on serving readers, authors, publishers, academics, booksellers, librarians. Products ranging from back-end big-data AI-assisted platforms to blended physical-digital subscription boxes with a feminist twist. Campaigns based not on gimmicky tech but a deep understanding of how digital behaviours and tastes are shifting, and what new generations of readers really want.
"I can’t wait to share them, celebrate them - and, most importantly, debate them - on the day of the conference."
Congratulations to everyone who made the shortlist and to all the people and companies who entered – it was incredibly competitive.
Those who made it through did so because their entry demonstrated the impact of innovation. For example, those shortlisted included strong metrics - not just of engagement such as Facebook and Twitter likes, but how this converted into increased stats such as click through rates and conversions to sales, open rates on newsletters and website visits.
There was clear evidence of change, which highlights a second trend towards books, products and campaigns with a wider social aim. Publishing continues to make a difference in the current political and social climate, and the success of those shortlisted show how important innovation in our industry is.
The 2017 Awards shortlists can also be found here. Tickets for the FutureBook Conference can be booked at the conference website and shortlisted companies benefit from preferential rates - please contact The Bookseller’s events team on email@example.com to secure your place.