Carlton, Mostly Lit and HarperCollins division HQ picked up gongs at the FutureBook Awards. Meanwhile, the BookTech Startup of the Year went to The Pound Project; while the winner of the PitchEd competition, run by the EdTech Exchange, was Storyball.
Carlton won the FutureBook of the Year for its augmented reality novel, The Ghostkeeper's Journal and Field Guide, written and produced by digital director, Japhet Asher. FutureBook associate editor Molly Flatt said: “Yes, it pushes the boundaries of how AR technology can be integrated with books - but it always keeps that tech in service to the story, resulting in a beautifully designed hybrid that literally rewards close reading and continually brings young readers back to the page.”
The award was sponsored by the Frankfurt Book Fair. Matthaeus Cygan, director business development trade international at Frankfurter Buchmesse, added: “The winning project is great example of using technology to enhance the reader experience. We love the way it encourages kids and grown-ups to read together, and requires both reading in a traditional way and using the latest augmented reality innovation to unlock the mystery at the end. This is storytelling in a whole new way. Congratulations to everyone involved.”
The book beat off competition from two audiobooks, Life on Earth (HarperAudio) and Only Human (PRH), The Tallowmere Annual (Faber Music), The Real Thing (Amazon), and WatAdventure in Australia (WatAdventure). The latter was highly commended by the judges for its innovative approach to content creation.
Mostly Lit, made up of Alex Reads, Raifa Rafiq, Derek Owusu, and producer Clarissa Pabi, won the inaugural Podcast of the Year, against Down the Rabbit Hole, The Penguin Podcast, Not Another Book Podcast, Simplify (by Blinkist), Story Shed, and The Bestseller Experiment. Philip Jones, editor of The Bookseller, said: “Our judges loved the way the podcast integrated a discussion about books into a wider conversation about society and culture, driven as much by the personalities of the three presenters as by the books they devour.” Fellow judge and audiobook consultant Jo Forshaw added: "Robust and argumentative (and that's just the hosts), this pod talks literature, writing and all things book based and has quickly become part of the publishing landscape. Offering hot takes that often challenge the trad vanilla Radio 4/broadsheet view of our world, their ambition, fresh way of thinking and ability to broaden the conversation impressed us all, and the mix of chat, live events and partnerships have all influenced how we all talk about books. More like this please!" mThe award was sponsored by Audible.
The FutureBook Campaign of the Year was won by HQ for its launch of the vegan cookbook Bosh!. It beat the highly commended Be More Pirate (PRH), Gaspard the Fox (Graffeg), Lily Allen's My Thoughts Exactly (Bonnier Books UK), The Retreat by Mark Edwards (Amazon Publishing), Storycastle (HarperCollins), and Like A Woman (PRH).
Judge Miriam Robinson said of the winner: “Innovation met dedication in the campaign which for us had it all: bold, imaginative advertising and PR combined with pure, unadulterated graft.” Fellow judge Anna Jean Hughes also commended runner-up Be More Pirate's “anarchic and irreverent campaign” that “perfectly matched the feel of the book”.
Judged on the day, the winner of the BookTech award was The Pound Project. In the PitchEd category the winner was Storyball. The winner of the Future Fiction short story competition, run in partnership with The Pigeonhole, was Scottish writer Ian Green with “The Once and Future Book” which features a romance novel written by a bot.
More than 500 delegates, speakers and sponsors attended The Bookseller’s conference FutureBook Live, which ended with a rousing speech from Dialogue Books founder Sharmaine Lovegrove, the FutureBook Person of the Year, sponsored by Mosaic Executive Search.