The IPG, in partnership with The Bookseller and London Book Fair, held the Independent Publishing Awards on 20 March 2010 at Beaumont House, Old Windsor. The aim of the Awards is to promote the commercial and creative contribution that independent publishers make to the industry – and to the economy.
PRESS RELEASE Saturday 20th March 2010
EARTHSCAN LEADS INDEPENDENT WINNERS
The Independent Publishers Guild is proud to reveal the winners of the 2010 Independent Publishing Awards, run with The Bookseller and The London Book Fair. The dozen winners are:
IPG Independent Publisher of the Year: Earthscan
Trade Publisher of the Year: John Blake Publishing
Children’s Publisher of the Year: The Salariya Book Company
Lightning Source Academic & Professional Publisher of the Year: Earthscan
Education Publisher of the Year: Bright Red Publishing
Specialist Consumer Publisher of the Year: Osprey Publishing
Nielsen Innovation of the Year: Search Press
International Achievement of the Year: Earthscan
Environmental Award: Green Books
Diversity Award: Trentham Books
Digital Award: Top That! Publishing
GBS Services to Independent Publishers Award: John Hampson
Heading the 2010 honours board is Earthscan, chosen by the judges as the overall IPG Independent Publisher of the Year as well as Lightning Source Academic & Professional Publisher of the Year. It follows Jessica Kingsley Publishers, Templar Publishing and Alastair Sawday Publishing as the fourth
company to win the prestigious overall award — and by winning the International Achievement of the Year prize too, Earthscan becomes only the second company, after Alastair Sawday, to win three Independent Publishing Awards in a single year.
Earthscan faced stiff competition for the flagship award from a shortlist that also included the winners of four other Publisher of the Year categories. Trade Publisher of the Year, after a string of high-profile bestsellers in 2009, is John Blake Publishing, while the Brighton-based Salariya Book Company picks up the Children’s prize. New Scottish revision specialists Bright Red Publishing scoops the Education Publisher of the Year title, and military experts Osprey Publishing the Specialist Consumer category. All five companies are first-time Publisher of the Year winners. Arts and craft specialist Search Press, shortlisted in three categories, receives the Nielsen Innovation of the Year award for a groundbreaking new range of art
instruction books. The Environmental Award goes to Devon-based Green Books; the Digital Award to children’s specialist Top That! Publishing; and the Diversity Award to Trentham Books. Completing the set of winners is John Hampson,formerly of Arts Council England, who is awarded the GBS Services to
Independent Publishers Award.
The winners, selected by a panel of industry experts, received their awards on Saturday 20th March at a Gala Dinner at Beaumont House during the IPG’sAnnual Conference. Bridget Shine, Executive Director of the IPG, says: “Congratulations to our fourth set of very worthy Independent Publishing Award winners. Even after such a challenging year in the publishing industry, the level of competition for the awards was as high as ever, and we are grateful to our judges for their careful and professional deliberations. These winners represent the very best of independent publishing, and show just varied, dynamic and successful independents can be.” The judges’ comments about each of the 12 Independent Publishing Award winners follow.
IPG INDEPENDENT PUBLISHER OF THE YEAR
The judges of this award admired Earthscan’s sound business sense, its passionate commitment to its environmental-based publishing and its bold but carefully calculated international ambitions. They noted in particular Earthscan’s performance and progress in 2009, resulting in striking increases in sales and
profits while some other publishers struggled. “Earthscan is a solid, reliable and consistently successful publisher—a yardstick by which all independents might measure themselves.”
Also shortlisted for the IPG Independent Publisher of the Year Award were the winners of the four other Publisher of the Year categories: Bright Red Publishing, John Blake Publishing, Osprey Publishing and the Salariya Book Company. Judges praised the exceptional creativity, flair and variety of
the five shortlisted companies.
TRADE PUBLISHER OF THE YEAR
This is a first Independent Publishing Award for John Blake Publishing, which joined the IPG in 2009. The judges applauded the company’s string of bestsellers over the last year, and its ability to move faster than any other publisher in responding to market demands and filling gaps. “John Blake has been consistently successful in spotting opportunities and reacting quickly. It has pioneered a kind of publishing that bigger companies are now trying to mimic.” The judges also felt that the company’s publishing had drawn to the market people who were not frequent buyers in the past. Also shortlisted for the Trade Publisher of the Year Award were Constable & Robinson, Gallic Books and Summersdale.
CHILDREN’S PUBLISHER OF THE YEAR
After a place on this award’s shortlist last year, The Salariya Book Company has gone one better in 2010. It was singled out in this category for its strong sales growth amid challenging market conditions, and an innovative use of new technology across its publishing. “The Salariya Book Company is punching well
above its weight in the market and carving out a clear niche for itself,” said the judges. They also admired the Brighton-based company’s evolution from a packager to a fully-fledged, professional and internationally-focused publisher in its own right. Also shortlisted for the Children’s Publisher of the Year Award were Top That! Publishing and Walker Books.
LIGHTNING SOURCE ACADEMIC & PROFESSIONAL PUBLISHER OF THE YEAR
Having been shortlisted in this category in each of the last three years, it is fourth time lucky for Earthscan in 2010. It was congratulated by the judges on its agility and expansion in 2009, both through organic growth and acquisition, and on its new schemes to improve its online sales and marketing. “Earthscan is a very well run company that is doing everything a publisher should be doing to be part of the digital age,” said the judges. “It has earned all the praise it receives.” Earthscan adds this Award to the overall IPG Independent Publisher of the Year and International Achievement of the Year Awards. Also shortlisted for the Lightning Source Academic & Professional Publisher of the Year Award—and Highly Commended by the judges—was Hart Publishing. The judges applauded Hart’s strong sales growth in a difficult year for many of its counterparts. “Hart publishes brilliant books—the best of the best in its field.”
EDUCATION PUBLISHER OF THE YEAR
This award caps a meteoric rise for Edinburgh-based Bright Red Publishing, which was launched only two years ago to focus on the Scottish revision market. Judges praised the impact made by the company, first by winning a tender to publish past exam papers and then by producing high quality, student-friendly
books. They liked the company’s understanding of its target market and efforts to engage with it, and admired its dedication to customer service and order processing, both handled in-house. “Having had the courage to start up at such a difficult time, Bright Red has very quickly turned in some impressive sales.”
Also shortlisted for the Education Publisher of the Year Award were English and Media Centre Publishing and Galore Park. Judges praised the particularly high standard of submissions in this category.
SPECIALIST CONSUMER PUBLISHER OF THE YEAR
Another publisher to be shortlisted in 2009 before winning in 2010, Osprey Publishing was congratulated by the judges on its close attention to its military history niche. They particularly liked its sound electronic sales and marketing strategies, its strong, content-rich websites, and its improved merchandising.
“Osprey is brilliant at identifying and understanding its buyers, and innovative in the ways it markets to them,” said the judges. They also admired Osprey’s integration and growth of its Shire Publications history and heritage list, acquired in 2007. Also shortlisted for the Specialist Consumer Publisher of the Year Award were Hay House, Punk Publishing and Search Press.
NIELSEN INNOVATION OF THE YEAR
Arts and crafts specialist Search Press received this award for a new series of art instruction books helping painters to trace base images on to paper. Judges were impressed by the books’ production, sales and coedition interest. “This is a genuine product innovation that shows how Search Press has thought creatively about its business.” The judges also liked the evidence of the company’s in-depth knowledge of its niche market, which it has been serving for 40 years. “Innovation doesn’t just have to be about technology,” they pointed out. “This is a beautifully executed and very high quality product.”
Also shortlisted for the Nielsen Innovation of the Year Award were Accent Press, for a new affiliate scheme encouraging authors to market and sell their books, and Earthscan, for web and email-based marketing initiatives including new ‘Earthcasts’ broadcasting its authors to an online audience.
INTERNATIONAL ACHIEVEMENT OF THE YEAR
Earthscan’s success in this category completed a hat-trick of Independent Publishing Awards. It was rewarded for a year in which it expanded in the US, both organically and via what the judges called an “inspired” company acquisition, and targeted new territories with ambitious but well researched
strategies. Judges liked in particular its use of conferences and marketing campaigns to identify and reach its buyers around the world, and found ample evidence of its international success. “Earthscan is clearly passionate about its work, and what it has achieved internationally is hugely impressive.” Also shortlisted for the International Achievement of the Year Award were Carlton Publishing Group and Search Press.
This award is recognition of Green Books’ commitment to raising awareness of environmental issues over more than two decades — long before most other publishers found them fashionable or profitable. The judges were impressed by the company’s broad environmental list and evidence of its activity and success
in 2009. They also admired Green Books’ efforts to make its activities as eco friendly as possible by, for instance, printing only within 150 miles of its Devon offices and using recycled paper wherever possible. “Green Books really does try to practice what it preaches,” said the judges. There was no shortlist for the Environmental Award.
Staffordshire-based Trentham Books is another company to win an Independent Publishing Award in 2010 after several decades of support of its field. The judges admired both its wide range of books helping educational professionals to promote social inclusion and multiculturalism, and its dedication to diversity and equality over 26 years. “Trentham really knows its market and strengths, and displays total commitment to this area of publishing.” They also found evidence that Trentham’s books were welcomed and respected by professionals and had helped to change attitudes to diversity. Also shortlisted for the Diversity Award were Radcliffe Publishing and Royal College of Psychiatrists.
Having been shortlisted in 2009 for what was then called the E-publishing Award, Top That! Publishing is another company to go one step further in 2010. It impressed the judges with its innovative use of digital technology in its ‘The Astral Legacies’ fiction series for children, using a satellite mapping website at
www.astrallegacies.com to get readers interacting with the stories and exploring well beyond the book. It was an ambitious but well executed idea that added great value to book buyers’ experience, they said. “This is a great mix of old and new technology. The Astral Legacies makes teaching and learning fun.”
Also shortlisted for the Digital Award were Accent Press, Earthscan and Jolly Learning.
GBS SERVICES TO INDEPENDENT PUBLISHERS AWARD
John Hampson was acclaimed by judges for his staunch support of independent publishers over many years at Arts Council England. Until leaving the organisation earlier this year to take up a new job at the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, John was ACE’s senior strategy officer for literature. “In
a very modest and selfless way, John has been an incredible supporter of independent publishing, always displaying fantastic vision and knowledge of the industry,” said the judges. “He has always listened to publishers’ concerns and questions, and always done whatever he can to help.” Also shortlisted for the GBS Services to Independent Publishers Award were Adrian Driscoll and David Segrue.
The IPG is grateful to the judges who deliberated on the Independent Publishing Awards; to its partners, The Bookseller and The London Book Fair; and to the award sponsors, Grantham Book Services, Lightning Source and Nielsen.
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Winning the IPA - what it has meant to our company
Brenda Gardner, founder and managing director of Piccadilly Press, reveals what winning an Independent Publishing Award has meant to her.
Having already been shortlisted twice for the Children’s Publisher of the Year category, Piccadilly Press was a very popular winner at the 2009 Independent Publishing Awards.
Word soon spread about the prize among Piccadilly’s customers and suppliers, and congratulations came flooding in. The company’s founder and m.d. Brenda Gardner thinks it made a big difference to the way her company is perceived. “We already knew we had a great list of books, but an accolade from your peers really impresses other people.”
Piccadilly publicised its success by posting the IPA winners’ logo on its website and emails, and adding it to its stands at the Frankfurt and Bologna book fairs. Authors were particularly delighted to hear that they were now writing for an award-winning publisher. And among Piccadilly’s customers, the prize put the company in the spotlight with even greater credibility. Measuring the impact in business terms is difficult, but Gardner thinks it has made a difference. “Winning the award can give you a head start when you’re talking to new customers and suppliers,” she thinks.
The prize was a tonic within the company, too. “It really lifted everybody and helped us realise that we are clearly doing lots of things right.” As it has been for most publishers 2009 has not been without its challenges for Piccadilly Press, but the award has lifted spirits. “Amid the doom and gloom, it’s been a real ray of sunshine.”
Gardner admits that she hesitated before putting together her entry for the awards last autumn. “Having been shortlisted twice and not won, and feeling that we hadn’t had a particularly brilliant year, I did have second thoughts before entering,” she remembers. “But I’m very glad I did!” The judges of the awards clearly take into account much more than just bottom-line financial information and look at a company’s wider achievements, she thinks. So if you are concerned that your sales and profit figures aren’t as impressive as they might be, don’t worry—given the economic crisis, most of your rivals and colleagues are probably in the same boat.
To anyone thinking about entering this year’s awards, Gardner’s message is simple: go for it. She also recommends trying to convey your enthusiasm for your publishing. “Don’t be afraid to reveal your passion for what you do on the entry form.”
Jonathan Knight, founder of Punk Publishing, outlines some of the benefits of winning an Independent Publishing Award in 2009
Scooping an Independent Publishing Award has meant a lot to all of the companies honoured in the first three years of the prizes. But for relatively new firms like Punk Publishing, the award has provided very welcome recognition that its business is heading in the right direction, and a huge encouragement to carry on striving for success.
Punk’s founder Jonathan Knight thinks the award—for Specialist Consumer Publisher of the Year—generated some invaluable publicity. “Winning was great for us as a small and relatively new publisher because it’s a challenge to get noticed in this busy marketplace.” He points out that the award has also helped to publicise the individual books that have earned Punk its success—like its popular Cool Camping series.
The award brought Punk to the attention of people across the book trade and bookshops in particular, he says. “Winning such a prestigious award really underlines our credibility as an independent publisher. So not only have booksellers now heard of Punk Publishing, they also know that we produce lovely, high-quality books and are therefore more comfortable placing advance orders for new titles.”
Punk was already confident that it had good books to sell, of course, but the award was an important endorsement of its publishing. “However much you tell people how good you are, if independent bodies such as the IPG are recognising it too, that’s when people sit up and really start to take notice,” says Knight.
As a direct result of the award and subsequent publicity, Punk was chosen by Amazon to feature in its ‘Independent Publisher of the Month’ slot. Knight says that he has also seen an increase in orders for its new books elsewhere in the trade since the award—important support at a time when the company is seeking to expand its publishing programme.
The gala dinner to present the awards at the IPG’s annual Spring Conference also provided a nice chance to celebrate Punk’s achievement and reward the contribution made by its staff to the company’s success. “It was a great night out and a good opportunity to thank the Punk team with a slap up meal and too much champagne. We’re looking forward to next year’s awards already.”
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