The FutureBook Innovation Awards are open for business

The FutureBook Innovation Awards are open for business

Join us Friday, 12th September, when the deadline for the 2014 FutureBook Innovation Awards prompts our #FutureChat topic of the week. Live on Twitter, at 4 p.m. London time, 11 a.m. New York time, 8 a.m. Los Angeles, 5 p.m. Berlin, 3 p.m. GMT. 

Now in their fifth year, the FutureBook Innovation Awards are once again open for business.

The awards are The Bookseller’s annual opportunity to review and reward the changing face of digital publishing. Previous winners (see lists below) are a roll-call of industry-redefining stepping stones, from Faber’s 2010 best app, Solar System, to 2011’s best start-up, Unbound.

This year there are awards for best digital books in fiction, non-fiction and children's, as well as best use of digital in a marketing campaign and best start-up. Two separate awards will now cover websites, with an award for best publisher website, and a separate award for best consumer-facing website. There will also be awards for best technology innovation, sponsored by ePubDirect, and most inspiring digital person, sponsored by the Frankfurt Book Fair.

The shortlists for the awards will be unveiled at Frankfurt in October, while the winners will be announced at The Bookseller's FutureBook Conference 2014, held at Queen Elizabeth Conference Centre in London on 14th November 2014.

Previous winners of the awards include Touch Press, Nosy Crow, Faber, Random House and Rough Guides. This year’s most inspiring digital publishing person will follow the lead set by Harlequin’s Tim Cooper, Faber’s Stephen Page, Rebecca Smart, now of Ebury, and last year’s popular winner Sourcebooks publisher and chief executive Dominique Raccah.

This year’s awards are already shaping up to the most intriguing yet. In total we’ve so far had more than 130 submissions, reflecting a sector that continues to innovate even as the digital market matures. The submissions deadline is Friday 12th September.

Our perspective this year has been enhanced by the success of the FutureBook Hack, which brought together the various communities that have an interest in this business, sparking ideas around new production innovation, including a search widget for book content, a Tinder for book covers, and hack winner Voices, a crowd-sourced reading competition for audio books.

We are also continuing to see plenty of innovation in and around the book space. Earlier this year, I wrote about some of the innovations I’d been impressed with recently, including Mill & Boon’s immersive story-telling world Chatsfield, and HarperCollins’ social media romance festival. We also saw in the States a two-day brain-storm aimed at coming up with a new kind of e-bookstore. More recently, my colleague Porter Anderson has focused on Headline’s Bookbridgr, an attempt to bring publishers and book bloggers together; and Reedsy, a new marketplace for self-published writers to find professionals to help them publish.

We have also seen a maturing of business ideas, from Unbound, an early winner of an innovation award and now a Man Booker longlistee. There has also been a sharpened focus on subscription models, with both Scribd and Oyster starting to turn their aspirations into a market reality. Early movers in this space Bardowl and 24Symbols were recognised by the innovation awards. In the start-up space, previously shortlisted companies such as Readmill and Small Demons might have stumbled, but others, from BitLit to The Pigeonhole to LostmyName have stepped forward.

The most interesting section to judge this time around will be the digital book categories, with publishers becoming more circumspect in how they invest in new product. As my colleague Charlotte Eyre noted earlier in the summer, apart from Nosy Crow, which has a dedicated apps business, children’s publishers in general are producing relatively few apps at present. Previous winners in this category include Faber, Nosy Crow, and Touch Press. This year’s shortlists will once again allow us to take the temperature of a market that continues to promise more in potential, than it has so far been able to deliver in sales.

Tickets for the conference, which takes place on 14th November, are on sale now.


Best adult app/digital book Touch Press Disney Animated
Best children’s app/digital book Nosy Crow Rounds: Parker Penguin,
Best reference app/digital book Touch Press Beethoven's 9th Symphony for iPad
Best website Rough Guides
Best start-up Bookly
Best technological innovation Bibliocloud
Best digital marketing campaign Random House 'Dead Good'
Most inspiring digital publishing person Dominique Raccah Sourcebooks publisher and chief executive


Best adult app/digital book Naomi Alderman/Six to Start Zombies, Run!
Best children’s app/digital book Shilo Shiv Suleman Khoya
Best reference app/digital book Heuristic Media London: A City Through Time
Best website HarperCollins' Collins Dictionary
Best start-up Bardowl
Best technological innovation IDPF: EPub3
Best digital marketing campaign OUP The Everybody Up Digital Sing-along
Most inspiring digital publishing person Stephen Page, Faber c.e.o.


Best adult app/digital book Faber/Touch Press The Waste Land
Best children’s app/digital book Nosy Crow Cinderella
Best reference app/digital book Dorling Kindersley The Human Body
Best website Lonely Planet
Best start-up Unbound
Best technological innovation Bardowl
Best digital marketing campaign Harvill Secker The Night Circus
Most inspiring digital publishing person Rebecca Smart, managing director of specialist publisher Osprey,


Best app/digital book Faber's Solar System for iPad
Best website Bloomsbury's Berg Fashion Library
Best use of social media Penguin for its Facebook and Twitter campaigns;
Best content innovation Random House and Stardoll for "Mortal Kiss".
Best integrated digital marketing campaign Rough Guides for its promotion of Make the Most of your Time on Earth
Most inspiring digital publishing person Tim Cooper, director of direct and digital marketing at Harlequin Mills & Boon


Join us Friday, 12th September, when the deadline for the 2014 FutureBook Innovation Awards prompts our #FutureChat topic of the week: Where do we see the best innovation in publishing today? Where do we need to see it? The Bookseller’s FutureBook community will be live on Twitter, at 4 p.m. London time, 11 a.m. New York time, 8 a.m. Los Angeles, 5 p.m. Berlin, 3 p.m.