Random House and Foyles triumph at Bookseller Industry Awards

Random House and Foyles triumph at Bookseller Industry Awards

Random House has won the Publisher of the Year accolade at the Bookseller Industry Awards 2013, while Foyles has been awarded National Bookseller of the Year for the second year running. The 2013 Gerry Davies Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Book Trade was given to Rachel Russell.

A black-tie event held at London's Park Lane Hilton yesterday evening (13th May) saw Random House Group chief executive Dame Gail Rebuck and her team honoured with the top publishing gong, after a year when the Fifty Shades trilogy by E L James notched up sales of £47.3m through Nielsen BookScan. The award also marked the year the company announced it would merge with fellow publishing heavyweight Penguin.

Random House achieved 28 number one book hits in 2012, won 70 prizes for its titles including the Nobel, Samuel Johnson and TS Eliot, and was hailed for its rapidly growing digital activity, now accounting for 22% of its UK net sales. The judges said: "This was Random House's year. It's always had terrific imprints and great staff and resources ­ but it pulled it all together under the group umbrella."

The Foyles team lead by c.e.o. Sam Husain celebrated the company's second National Bookseller of the Year gong in a row, having also landed the title in 2012. The mini-chain, based in London and Bristol, employed creative advertising and marketing throughout 2012 and continued to expand, opening a store in the Westfield Stratford Shopping Centre. "It's an exciting business doing exciting things," the judges said. "When you think of what a really excellent bookshop should be, you think of Foyles."

Scholastic Children's Books won Children's Publisher of the Year after its success with Hunger Games trilogy, which notched up three number one slots and saw exponential digital sales growth, including more than 1m Hunger Games e-book downloads. "It left a huge mark on the market in 2012," the judges said.

Sainsbury's was hailed as the Children's Bookseller of the Year after growing its range of own-brand books in association with Dorling Kindersley, and for its expanding general sales and imaginative cross-category promotions, including offers on the back of cereal packets.

Children's Independent Bookseller of the Year went to Octavia's Bookshop in Cirencester, for close work with local schools, providing advice on promotions and events, and superb hand-selling and recommendations.

The Independent Bookseller of the Year award was bestowed upon Linghams in Heswall, which lists among its achievements nurturing a relationship with its local Tesco store, which now pins a sign up directing customers to Linghams. The judges said: "They are passionate—their commitment and desire is extraordinary." The win follows after two years in which the bookshop took the regional category for the North West. A £5,000 cheque from prize sponsor Gardners accompanied the award.

Independent Publisher of the Year was snatched by Alma Books, founded by husband-and-wife team Alessandro Gallenzi and Elisabetta Minervini. The company values quality over quantity and over 60% of its list comes from other languages.

Pottermore, helmed by Charlie Redmayne, won the Digital Strategy of the Year title, after being hailed for phenomenal commercial results achieved through exclusive e-book sales and a clear strategy to deliver a fully immersive experience.

Bloomsbury Publishing won Academic, Educational and Professional Publisher of the Year for a string of strategic acquisitions and strong branding.

New for 2013, the award for Independent, Academic, Educational and Professional Publisher of the Year title went to Edward Elgar Publishing, for achieving record sales in a tough market, launching digital platform Elgaronline and for its "high-class editorial, design and production".

Imprint and Editor of the Year was awarded to Nicholas Pearson from Fourth Estate (HarperCollins), which published Hilary Mantel's multi-award winning sequel Bring Up the Bodies. Other successes in the year include Chad Harbach's The Art of Fielding, James Gleick's The Information and Nigel Slater's Kitchen Diaries II.

Publicity Campaign of the Year was awarded to Hodder's publicity director Emma Knight and digital publicity assistant Emilie Ferguson for A Street Cat Named Bob by James Bowen. The campaign used a film trailer to spark the media's attention and then built word of mouth through carefully orchestrated coverage, even creating a pawprint stamp for bookshop "signings".

Literary Agent of the Year was won by Maggie Hanbury of The Hanbury Agency, which counts an eclectic range of authors on its books, from Katie Price to Kenneth Clarke and from Mitch Winehouse to Imran Khan. Hanbury has been credited with balancing all their needs effectively and being "totally dedicated" to her clients.

Penguin won the Marketing Campaign of the Year gong for Daniel Kahneman's Thinking, Fast and Slow, which notched up 200,000 sales in print and digital. "This was not an obvious success, and could have got lost, but what Penguin did to make it work was exceptional," the judges said.

Rights Professional of the Year was given to Jason Bartholomew from Hodder & Stoughton who has won the accolade after appearing on the shortlist four times in a row. The judges said Bartholomew had achieved record translation and US rights deals and outstanding business in the tough domestic serial rights sector.

The award for Supply Chain Innovation, also new this year, was bestowed upon the Oslo-based Skantrans-PSL, which switched its picking and packing processes to improve fulfilment times.

The Manager of the Year award was won by Waterstones' Ian Owens, who manages the Argyle Street branch in Glasgow. Owens was praised for growing sales at a neglected, failing shop. "He has turned a tired and unloved unit into a world-class bookshop ­ a real centre for excellence," the judges said.

Socrates Adams from Blackwell's scooped The Sue Butterworth Award for Young Bookseller of the Year title for his tireless promotional work, including a setting up a Twitter account for Blackwell's maps, building a strong rapport with customers and having a keen eye for local market trends.

The Library of the Year title was scooped by two joint winners based at opposite ends of the country ­ Devon Libraries and Dundee Library Service. Judges praised Devon libraries for the huge range of services it offered beyond books and managing to shrug off budget cuts to increase visitor numbers and loan figures. Dundee Library services launched an impressive digital participation programme.

The 2013 Gerry Davies Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Book Trade was given to Rachel Russell, who left her post as W H Smith's head of books earlier this year to lead the retailer's general merchandising department. The Gerry Davies Award is administered by the Booksellers Association, with the BA council voting unanimously to give the accolade to Russell.

BA chief executive Tim Godfray said that Russell, who has twice chaired World Book Day, had "invigorated" the event, bringing to it "her bright and incisive mind, her ability to make things happen and her passion for encouraging children to love books".

The Bookseller's editor Philip Jones said: "The awards are a testament to the health, vibrancy, and undimmed indefatigability of the British book business, from the publicists who coach reluctant authors to face the media, to the bookshop owners devising new ways of getting customers into their stores, to the executives running libraries or redefining how digital will shape the business. They also speak to the sheer fun and creativity of the trade.

"We congratulate this year's winners and look forward to seeing more of the same in 2013."


Photo credit: Leo Wilkinson Photography