And the winners are…

Anybody dipping a productivity thermometer into the British publishing industry yesterday may have been alarmed by the readings.  This was the morning after the Bookseller Industry Awards night, an annual gala event for which the various tribes who toil in the word mines (authors, editors, marketers, sales managers, MDs and all) swap their carefully-casual attire for black ties and posh frocks (although not usually simultaneously). The night (which extends into the early morning) is seldom characterised by sobriety and abstinence.  Twenty-one awards were presented, at the Hilton Hotel, Park Lane, London, with the winners having been selected by two panels of judges, the members of which were drawn from within and without the publishing industry.  This is one of the occasions when the industry, which has been required to meet many profound challenges recently, is able to relax and to be reminded of and appreciate the energy and creativity which define its best practices. The event was compèred by the incomparable Mariella Frostrup, whose delightfully witty and perceptive round-up of recent publishing events and news, not to mention her interactions with those who took to the stage (and the event announcer) set the tone for and enlivened the evening beautifully.  Highlights from Ms Frostrup’s observations, with apologies for paraphrasing, included:

  • These awards seem to come round more quickly than Katie Price autobiographies
  • The fact that there are six libraries on the shortlist for Library of the Year means that there are at least six libraries still open
  • The typical young adult novel scenario of global forces engaged in violent assimilation and world domination strikes a chord with the publishing industry

The Great British Book Shop, our direct-to-consumer marketplace, was delighted to sponsor the award for Independent Publisher of the Year, which was won by Canongate, and was described by the judges as an exceptionally closely-fought category.  Canongate was applauded for innovative publishing formats (the design of the enigmatic stories-within-stories novel S) and partnerships (Letters of Note, in association with crowd-funding company Unbound), for its continuing success a decade after publication with Life of Pi and for being generally ‘predictably unpredictable’.   The other nominated publishers were Constable & Robinson, Granta Publications, Hesperus Press, Summersdale, Top That! Publishing and Unbound.  Highly-commended in this category was recently-established children’s publisher Nosy Crow, whose own blog about the evening, and having thought they’d won the award, is a delightful read.

Generally, those presenting the awards, (including our MD Andy Cork, pictured on stage) and the recipients themselves, adhered to Mariella’s guidelines for brief speeches, perhaps the best-received being that from the representative from Midlothian Library Service, collecting the Library of the Year award, who proclaimed that ‘libraries are well and working wonderfully’.

For making the event so successful and enjoyable, we’d like to thank The Bookseller, the hotel and catering staff and our table guests for the evening: Dave Hoek from Reaktion; Gareth Jarrett from Taylor & Francis; Matt Ayson and Keith Harvey from The Home Learning College; Tim Davies from The History Press and Simon Liebenski from Pluto Press.

The awards and winners in full:

Academic, Educational and Professional Publisher of the Year: Bloomsbury Academic & Professional

Book Retailer of the Year: Blackwell’s

Children’s Bookseller of the Year: The Edinburgh Bookshop

Children’s Publisher of the Year: HarperCollins Children’s Books

Digital Strategy of the Year: Faber & Faber

E-book Retailer of the Year: eBooks by Sainsbury’s

Editor of the Year: Helen Conford; Penguin Press

HarperCollins Young Retailer of the Year: Rachael Wing; The Wallingford Bookshop

Imprint of the Year: Jonathan Cape; Random House

Independent Academic, Educational and Professional Publisher of the Year: Edward Elgar Press

Independent Bookshop of the Year: Dulwich Books

Independent Publisher of the Year: Canongate

Library of the Year: Midlothian Library Service

Literary Agent of the Year: Caroline Dawnay; United Agents

Manager of the Year: Paul Thornton; Blackwell’s Bookshops

Marketing Strategy of the Year: Gone Girl; Orion Publishing Group

Publicity Campaign of the Year: The Silent Wife by A.S.A Harrison – Ben Willis, Headline

Publisher of the Year: Little, Brown Book Group

Rights Professional of the Year: Zosia Knopp; Penguin; Andrea Joyce; Canongate Books

Supply Chain Innovation Award: NetGalley

The BA Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Book Trade: Dame Gail Rebuck, Penguin Random House.