Bolinda's Herrmann named FutureBook Leader of the Year

Bolinda's Herrmann named FutureBook Leader of the Year

Rebecca Herrmann, founder and co-c.e.o. of Bolinda, has been named FutureBook Leader of the Year.

Other FutureBook Award winners announced by British computer scientist Dr Sue Black at the conference on Friday (1st December) were Nikesh Shukla and Julia Kingsford, named Disrupters of the Year for their work as the founders of The Good Journal and The Good Literary Agency.

Meanwhile companies including Amazon Publishing and Wonderbly were honoured for books judged the best at integrating technology with compelling storytelling.

Herrmann scooped the prestigious FutureBook Leader of the Year award, sponsored by Mosaic Search and Selection, for "her global impact and innovative approach to audio". She was chosen from a shortlist of non-traditional publishers, praised for "embracing new technologies with a startup mentality to drive impressive growth". She follows last year's digital leader Sarah Lloyd, digital and communications director at Pan Macmillan, and before that Hannah Telfer, managing director of Penguin Random House Audio.

For a second year running Penguin Random House UK won the consumer Platform of the Year award. It took the accolade this year for Ottolenghi Cookbooks Online, hailed "a beautiful and practical platform that compliments the physical book and elegantly solves a genuine problem to drive a new opportunity for writers, readers and publishers". The reference/ education Platform of the Year award meanwhile went to Kortext for "driving forward with impressive ambition and working at scale to provide a textbook solution that has reached a climax in 2017 to become a market leader in its field".

The FutureBook Book of the Year (Adult category) went to Amazon Publishing for its Kindle in Motion book Ripper: The Secret Life of Walter Sickert by Patricia Cornwell. The book benefits from archival material, in the form of detailed maps and hundreds of images, that bring the sinister case to life. 

Wonderbly's My Golden Ticket meanwhile scooped the FutureBook Book of the Year (Children’s category) for "taking storytelling to a whole new level". "It proves that technology can work brilliantly at the service of a great product, rather than being the star," said the judges.  

The winner of the FutureBook Campaign of the Year went to Ken Follett's A Column of Fire global serialisation, a partnership between Pan Macmillan and The Pigeonhole, praised as "a brilliant example of modern publishing partnership" and for building a community of readers without alienating existing fans. Highly commended was 404 Ink's campaign behind Nasty Women for its use of social media to diagnose and capitalise on public sentiment and "proving you don’t need a big budget to have an impact". 

The Edtech award meanwhile went to Jeffrey Williams for Enroly, a student referral hub which enables international students to refer friends, family or colleagues in their home country to receive free academic counselling and visa advice to help them follow their footsteps in studying internationally.

Meanwhile immersive fiction app unrd scooped the BookTech gong. It's story Last Seen Online uses multiple media to deliver content in real time. Taking place over seven days the fictional chat story centres on a mising girl, and her family and friends' attempts to discover what happened to her. 

Judge Molly Flatt said: "We’ve seen a lot of interactive, mobile, next generation products, but these guys have done something that everyone who tries it thinks its an absolutely compelling experience. It’s a raw product but we’re really excited to see what they do next.”

And Nikesh Shukla and Julia Kingsford won the FutureBook Disrupter of the Year, sponsored by Frankfurt Book Fair, for The Good Journal and The Good Literary Agency.

"From a book to a journal to an agency – they’ve created ripples throughout all areas of the industry, impacting readers, agents, writers and publishers, and we think those ripples are going to continue to spread for years to come," said the judges.

Highly commended as another "disrupter" is Gustavo Lembert of TAG Literary Experiences, who found a new market in Brazil for readers and built a growing business with "amazing" impact and results. 

The Printing Charity partnered with The Bookseller in September to launch a front cover design competition to mark its 190th birthday and celebrate its illustrious history. Daniel Weatheritt was revealed as the winner, with the judges saying “loved" his interpretation of the brief, which they said was "brought to life in an ‘intricate, nuanced, and exceptionally detailed illustration’ with ‘warmth and intelligence’." 

Black said: "People that are open to change, that keep an eye on what’s happening in tech and how it affects everything that we’re doing are the ones that keep doing well. The more that you understand and talk to people about what’s going on in your world, and what’s going on in the world of technology., the more likely you are able to run a successful business of any kind." 

She added that diversity - particularly at board level - was something that "really needs to be kept in mind".

"Companies with boards where there are people from very similar background with similar ideas are not going to be successful. Technology and diversity are key."