Blackwell’s, Oxford University Press and JS Group were all honoured at the annual APS (Academic, Professional and Specialist) Awards, held at Wotton House in Surrey, tonight (17th March).
OUP was crowned Publisher of the Year, with John Smith’s claiming the Chain Bookseller of the Year title. Blackwell’s won the Innovation Prize for its launch of Blackwell Learning, an online platform for e-textbooks. The retailer’s Sheffield branch also won, in the Bookshop of the Year category. OUP also claimed a second prize, with Stevie Thompson (pictured right with OUP's account manager, Oliver Willis) chosen as Rep of the Year. The judges said of Thompson: “He is an excellent communicator who maintains a great working relationship and is attuned to individual branches’ needs.”
The JS Group took home a second gong as Irfan Jalil, who works at John Smith at both Aston and Birmingham universities, was awarded Bookseller of the Year. The judges commented: “He has the best relationships with university lecturers and has taken on the role of running two campus shops with gusto.”
Scott Hamilton, APS committee chairman and head of retail sales for Blackwell’s, said: “This year’s winners demonstrate the level of talent, innovation and drive that is so prevalent across our industry. And the fact that each category was such a close call—with so many nominees receiving high marks from the judges—is testament to the academic publishing sector.”
The evening’s Outstanding Contribution Award was awarded jointly to Richard Fisher, former m.d. of academic publishing at CUP, and Linda Bennett, who has directed the APS Conference for many years. Hamilton said: “Richard has made an outstanding contribution to academic publishing throughout his career, and we are delighted to honour him. Likewise, Linda’s contribution and tireless commitment to APS, directing the conference programme for so many years and through times of great change, has been completely invaluable.”
The Booksellers Association also revealed that its APS group would be rebranded, and renamed the Academic Bookselling Group.