Audio dominates the shortlists for this year’s prestigious FutureBook Awards, with seven podcasts, and seven audiobooks shortlisted along with the campaign for the launch of the Penguin Classics audiobook series, and start-ups NoisyBook and DeepZen. The lists demonstrate the incredible versatility in the way audio is now used by publishers, authors, and retailers, including in their promotions, as standalone podcasts, and in developing new ways of storytelling or enhancing text. The awards take place at FutureBook Live, The Bookseller’s annual publishing conference, held in London on 25th November.
Seven book podcasts are shortlisted in the FutureBook Podcast of the Year category, won last year by Mostly Lit, including the recently launched Waterstones Podcast run on a shoe-string by Waterstones' staffers; Unbound's underground hit Backlisted; two publisher podcasts run at the opposite ends of the budget spectrum, the Penguin Podcast and the Comma Press Podcast; and Simplify the non-fiction podcast produced by audio business Blinkist. Sarah Pascoe's Sex Power Money also gets a nod, an hour-long weekly podcast that was produced to coincide with Pascoe’s book of the same name, published by Faber on 29th August 2019. Last on the shortlist is This is Spoke, a youth-oriented cross-cultural podcast hosted by Fenn O'Meally and Big Zuu, supported by Penguin Random House, Fremantle and BMG.
Simon Amstell recording The Penguin Podcast; Sara Pascoe's Sex Power Money also shortlisted
In the FutureBook of the Year category, seven audiobooks are shortlisted including Audible's short-story collection, Hag; the audio of Sophie Dahl's Madame Badobedah (Bolinda) which includes a title track co-written and performed by Dahl and Jamie Cullum; and PRH's Penguin Classics and Ladybird Audio Adventures releases; the only text-title listed is the reference website ESC CardioMed from the European Society of Cardiology together with Oxford University Press.
Up for Campaign of the Year are Atlantic for My Sister, the Serial Killer; the Booksellers Association and Midas PR for Bookshop Day; HQ for Lies Lies Lies by Adele Parks; Brazilian publisher Editora Belas Letras for its "Buy One Give One Away" promotion; Penguin Random House Audio for Penguin Classics in Audio; and Pan Macmillan for the book Tin Can Cook.
In line for the BookTech pitch-off during the conference are Vika Books, publishers of immersive books, whose first augmented reality book Where is the Bird? is published this month; MY VLF, which runs the "world's first global virtual literary festival"; recipe subscription operation ckbk; NoisyBook, which adds sound-effects to children's books; DeepZen, which uses artificial intelligence technology to produce and co-publish audiobooks; and Make Our Book, an initiative from publisher and software developer Emma Barnes that allows schools to self-publish their children's work. The six start-ups will pitch in front of a live audience at 4pm, with the winner announced at the end of the event.
The full shortlists:
Podcast of the Year
The Waterstones Podcast (Waterstones)
The Comma Press Podcast (Comma Press)
Penguin Podcast (PRH Audio)
This is Spoke (Penguin Random House, Fremantle and BMG)
Sex Power Money with Sara Pascoe (Faber)
FutureBook of the Year
HAG, an audio-exclusive short story collection (Audible)
Madame Badobedah by Sophie Dahl (Bolinda)
Ladybird Audio Adventures (Penguin Random House)
Seven Days of Sound Meditation (HarperCollins)
Penguin Classics in Audio (Penguin Random House)
Today: A History of our World through 60 years of Conversations & Controversies (Octopus Publishing Group)
Mortimer & Whitehouse: Gone Fishing (Bonnier Books UK)
ESC CardioMed (OUP)
Campaign of the Year
My Sister, the Serial Killer (Atlantic)
Buy One Give One Away (Editora Belas Letras)
Tin Can Cook (Pan Macmillan)
Penguin Classics in Audio (PRH Audio)
Bookshop Day (Booksellers Association/Midas PR)
Lies Lies Lies (HQ)
BookTech Start-Up of the Year
Make Our Book