Touch Press leads winners at FutureBook Innovation Awards

Touch Press leads winners at FutureBook Innovation Awards

Touch Press was a major winner at the FutureBook Innovation Awards, scooping a duo of prizes for two of their apps. Random House, Rough Guides, Nosy Crow and Sourcebooks publisher and chief executive Dominique Raccah also won coveted awards.

Digital publisher Touch Press won the best adult digital book award for Disney Animated, beating off the highly commended Black Crown (Random House). It also won the award for best reference digital book with Beethoven's 9th Symphony for iPad, winning over the highly commended The Animiator's Survival Kit (Faber).

Judge Shane Richmond described the Beethoven app as "an exceptional guide to one of the greatest symphonies", with judges particularly impressed by visual features such as the interactive score and the 'beat map' that shows which instruments are playing.

Of Disney Animated, the judges felt that the app showed considerable thought about how best to present the material, made good use of the iPad as a publication platform and demonstrated excellent attention to detail.

Winner of the award for best children's digital book was Rounds: Parker Penguin, developed by Nosy Crow. Alice Ryan, The Bookseller's conference and community manager, said judges were impressed by the levels of interaction and creativite—"the sliding feature is addictive and the mating call feature is more effective than [dating app] Tinder".

Winner of the best digital marketing campaign was Random House's Lynsey Dalladay for its 'Dead Good' website-based campaign that sought to build a community of crime-fiction fans. Sophie Rochester, founder of the Literary Platform, said: "We were particularly impressed by Random House's Dead Good entry because it put consumer insight at the heart of its decision making, and because of its commitment to give readers what they actually wanted—a broad discussion around crime while remaining publisher agnostic."

Rough Guides picked up the best website award, a prize previously won by Lonely Planet. Judge Suw Charman-Anderson said the site "really supports and develops the Rough Guides brand". She added: "Their community is focused on what travellers most often need—answers to questions—with good interactions from Rough Guides staff. The responsive design is excellent, working smoothly on computer, tablet or smartphone, with navigation that's intuitive to use no matter which device you are on."

Kobo's Lindsey Mooney said the site left her "desperate to book my next adventure". HarperCollins' Pizza Pilgrims was highly commended for its collaboration with the founders of the pizza cafe, their restaurant, and the related book.

Bibliocloud, established by Snowbooks' founder Emma Barnes, won the prize for best technology innovation, sponsored by ePubDirect, with Linden Lab from games company Versu highly commended. ePub Direct's Gareth Cuddy said of the winner, "A system built for publishers of all sizes with a simple, affordable business model. Bibliocloud's design, usability and commercial model were highly innovative and worthy of the award." Best start-up was Bookly, an app that works on feauture phones in Africa to enable digital reading. The judges felt it's positive message of reading spreading across Africa, backed by a realistic business plan, made it the stand-out choice.

Finally, winner of the Most Inspiring Digital Publishing Person, sponsored by the Frankfurt Book Fair, was Sourcebooks publisher and chief executive Dominique Raccah. She beat off strong competition from Richard Nash, Charlie Redmayne, Otis Chandler, and John Sargent. Philip Jones, chair of the judges, said: "This was a close one, the public vote helped focus the judges attention, and the first round voting was incredibly close. In the end we went to a blind vote, and a unanimous winner emerged. Dominique has a real passion for digital, and she showcases every day, on Twitter, in her office, and at conferences, all the attributes an inspiring digital leader should possess. She is knowledgeable, enthusiastic, open and practises what she preaches." She joins previous winners, Tim Cooper, Stephen Page, Rebecca Smart, as this year's Most Inspiring Digital Person.

Raccah commented: "I am honoured and more than a little overwhelmed to be receiving this award. But the truth is, this award isn’t actually about me. It's really about what we've all accomplished together. This digital transformation has created a community among us; one that fosters innovation, shares successes and failures, learns from one another, helps each other, and one that's worldwide. Perhaps most important of all, transformation can sometimes be both frightening and isolating. It's wonderful to know there are others facing the same challenges and creating new kinds of solutions. You are all, for me that community. And I thank you for the inspiration, friendship and support you've given to me and my team."

She added: "And obviously I would not have been able to accomplish what I have without my team – first, our authors (many of them here in the UK), and of course the employees at Sourcebooks, our partners, and our customers."

Now in their fourth third year, the FutureBook Innovation Awards, were the first to recognise digital innnovation across the global publishing business. This year's awards were presented at the end of The Bookseller's publishing conference, FutureBook, held on 21st November.