The first thing to say about the first FutureBook 40 list (launched in association with Kortext) is that there’s reason to celebrate. Hopefully, as you read through the sample of UK book industry innovators, you’ll share the same feeling as our judges—that the future
looks seriously bright. The second thing to say is: this is not a definitive list (okay, so you may have seen this word used in our Twitter feed, but hey—that’s hustle). There are, of course, far more than 40 people striving to do things differently in publishing, often with great success. Our long list of nominees could have been far longer—and even paring down those 70-odd entries was tough.

But what the FutureBook 40 can do is provide a representative selection of the innovative work going on around books. On the inaugural list, you’ll find a mix of disruptors working from within the establishment, entrepreneurs rapidly proving their worth, and hungry new talents just starting to elbow their way in. You’ll find publishers, agents, writers, booksellers, academics, events organisers, designers, illustrators, consultants and a good few hybrids. You’ll discover people innovating across every area of the industry—in a way that is focused on solving real problems, rather than simply getting buzzwords in the press.

There are probably some people in here you’ve heard of. Hopefully, there are also a good few you haven’t. And there are doubtless loads of people you’re angry we’ve left out. So the third and final thing to say about this list is that #FutureBook40 can be used as a springboard for discussion and a route to recommend your own book innovation heroes. Perhaps they’ll make next year’s list?

In the meantime, to all our finalists: thank you, well done—and keep hustling. We need you like never before.

Molly Flatt, associate editor of FutureBook