Winners of the IPG Independent Publishing Awards 2020
Ingram Content Group Independent Publisher of the Year
Paperback Bookshop Trade Publisher of the Year
Blackwell’s Children’s Publisher of the Year
PLS Academic and Professional Publisher of the Year
Westchester Education Services Education Publisher of the Year
IPG Specialist Consumer Publisher of the Year
Nick Robinson Newcomer Award
IPG International Achievement Award
IPG Digital Publishing Award
IPG Marketing Award
Alison Morrison Diversity Award
The Bookseller Young Independent Publisher of the Year
Michela Pea, Nosy Crow
IPG Sustainability Award
Cambridge University Press
GBS Services to Independent Publishers Award
Virtusales Publishing Solutions
Leading the winners is Ingram Content Group Independent Publisher of the Year Emerald Publishing. It is the 14th recipient of the flagship prize, as well as the winner of the 2020 PLS Academic and Professional Publisher of the Year Award. It joins 13 previous Independent Publishers of the Year: Jessica Kingsley Publishers, Templar Publishing, Alastair Sawday Publishing, Earthscan, Continuum, Constable & Robinson, Bloomsbury Publishing’s Academic & Professional Division, Usborne Publishing, Search Press, Nosy Crow, Edward Elgar Publishing, Maths – No Problem! and Faber & Faber.
Emerald was one of five Publishers of the Year on the shortlist for the Award. It was joined there by The Paperback Bookshop Trade Publisher of the Year Atlantic Books; Westchester Education Services Education Publisher of the Year Bloomsbury Publishing; IPG Specialist Consumer Publisher of the Year How2Become; and Blackwell’s Children’s Publisher of the Year Nosy Crow.
Nosy Crow added to its Award with the IPG International Achievement Award, while its senior rights manager Michela Pea was named The Bookseller Young Independent Publisher of the Year. Nosy Crow and its staff have now won no fewer than 17 Independent Publishing Awards in nine years.
Another returning winner is Kogan Page, which received the IPG Digital Publishing Award. Children’s publisher Barefoot Books received the Alison Morrison Diversity Award for the second time, eight years after the first.
The other four companies recognized at the Awards were all first time winners. Boldwood Books received the Nick Robinson Newcomer Award, while Cambridge University Press won the first ever IPG Sustainability Award. Quarto took the IPG Marketing Award, and Virtusales Publishing Solutions received the GBS Services to Independent Publishers Award.
The 14th Independent Publishing Awards were presented at a special online event on Tuesday 22 September 2020. The shortlists featured a record 47 nominations, showcasing the work of 32 different companies and four individuals.
IPG chief executive Bridget Shine says: “It’s a huge pleasure to take time out of a challenging year and celebrate the brilliant recipients of our 2020 Independent Publishing Awards. The achievements of all the companies and people on the shortlists are inspiring, and show the dynamism and diversity of independent publishing in 2020. Congratulations to them all.”
The IPG would like to thank all the sponsors of the 2020 Independent Publishing Awards: Ingram Content Group, supporter of the overall Independent Publisher of the Year Award, Blackwell’s, GBS, Publishers’ Licensing Services, The Bookseller, The Paperback Shop and Westchester Education Services.
The IPG is also grateful to all the judges of the Awards: Graham Bell, EDItEUR; Nick Clee, BookBrunch; Tim Davies, Westchester Publishing Services; Lewis Dawson, Bookspeed; Elise Dillsworth, Elise Dillsworth Agency; Mary Elliott, Fox Williams, Vicky Ellis, Clays; Oliver Gadsby, IPG Patron, Gareth Hardy, Blackwell’s; Carla Herbertson, Zebralution; Ruth Jones, Ingram Content Group; Ross Lewis, Department for International Trade; David Marlin, MetaComet Systems; Paula Owen, consultant; Steve Potter, World of Books; Miles Poynton, consultant; Oliver Rodney, Amazon; Christopher Saynor, EDItEUR; Caroline Summers, The Paperback Shop; and Karina Urquhart, BIC.
Judges’ comments about each of the 2020 IPG Independent Publishing Awards winners follow.
INGRAM CONTENT GROUP INDEPENDENT PUBLISHER OF THE YEAR AND PLS ACADEMIC AND PROFESSIONAL PUBLISHER OF THE YEAR
Emerald Publishing was an academic publisher firing on all cylinders in challenging markets in 2019. Launches over the year included an EmeraldInsights platform for researchers and an Open Access platform called Emerald Open Research. Judges also liked its strategies to reach non-core customers. “There’s a great energy about Emerald, and you get a really good sense of what they want to achieve and how,” they said. “A company that could be resting on its successes and set in its ways is screaming innovation, creativity and vision.”
Also shortlisted for the Ingram Content Group Independent Publisher of the Year Award were Atlantic Books, Bloomsbury Publishing, How2Become and Nosy Crow.
Also shortlisted for the PLS Academic and Professional Publisher of the Year Award were Bloomsbury Publishing, Bristol University Press, Edward Elgar Publishing and Kogan Page.
THE PAPERBACK BOOKSHOP TRADE PUBLISHER OF THE YEAR
Atlantic Books is a first-time winner at the Independent Publishing Awards, having continued its impressive business turnaround in 2019. Its print and ebook sales both grew sharply, thanks in part to the phenomenal success of Oyinkan Braithwaite’s My Sister the Serial Killer, and it reinvigorated its fiction imprint. “Atlantic is a remarkable turnaround story and you can feel the enthusiasm right across the business,” said the judges.
Also shortlisted for The Paperback Bookshop Trade Publisher of the Year Award were Faber & Faber, Oneworld and Sandstone Press.
BLACKWELL’S CHILDREN’S PUBLISHER OF THE YEAR
Nosy Crow has now won this Award five times in just nine years, and it had another remarkable year of growth in 2019. The judges were impressed by its energetic marketing, international reach, dedication to new and longstanding children’s writers and illustrators and commitment to issues like diversity and sustainability. “It’s a consistently impressive businesses with a brilliant team of people across sales, rights and editorial,” they said.
Also shortlisted for the Blackwell’s Children’s Publisher of the Year Award were Sweet Cherry Publishing, Walker Books and Wonderbly.
WESTCHESTER EDUCATION SERVICES EDUCATION PUBLISHER OF THE YEAR
Bloomsbury Publishing’s Education division receives this Award for the second year in a row. Judges admired its growth in domestic sales, good translation and coedition deals, new audio and subscription models and smart marketing via educational conferences and other events. “Bloomsbury had a humdinger of a year in a tricky market… even considering the resources at their disposal, they progressed on all fronts,” judges said.
Also shortlisted for the Westchester Education Services Education Publisher of the Year Award were Crown House Publishing and Jolly Learning.
IPG SPECIALIST CONSUMER PUBLISHER OF THE YEAR
How2Become had another very strong year in its field of career advisory guides, achieving record turnover and publishing more books than ever before. The base of its success was its extensive work on YouTube, and around two thirds of its sales came direct from its own website. Judges said: “How2Become have really found their niche and gone for it at full speed… they know their customers and are as digitally astute as anyone.”
Also shortlisted for the IPG Specialist Consumer Publisher of the Year Award were Infinity Books, Search Press and SPCK.
NICK ROBINSON NEWCOMER AWARD
Boldwood Books has made an immediate impact in commercial fiction publishing since launching in early 2019. Judges admired its formula of releasing books in all formats simultaneously, its collaborative approach to authors and its international ambitions. “Boldwood has really hit the ground running… it is already showing amazing innovation and has found a huge variety of ways to kickstart its sales,” they said.
Also shortlisted for the Nick Robinson Newcomer Award were Muswell Press and September Publishing.
IPG INTERNATIONAL ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
Nosy Crow receives this Award for a fourth time. Its tireless team achieved more stellar international rights growth last year, with the US and China among the best performers. Export sales grew too, after it brought management of them in-house for the first time. “Nosy Crow’s achievements in rights and coeditions are extraordinary… it’s an international powerhouse and getting even better,” said the judges.
Also shortlisted for the IPG International Achievement Award were Kogan Page and Walker Books.
IPG DIGITAL PUBLISHING AWARD
Kogan Page wins this Award for its Accessible Ebook Programme, which opens up textbooks to visually impaired students. Having reengineered its workflows, consulted widely and refined interactive features, the programme has been warmly received by those campaigning for better accessibility in publishing—and future-proofed the business’ tech as well. “This is important work… Kogan Page’s commitment to accessibility is to be applauded,” judges said.
Also shortlisted for the IPG Digital Publishing Award were Barefoot Books, Bloomsbury Publishing and How2Become.
IPG MARKETING AWARD
Quarto wins this Award for the marketing of Zoe Tucker’s Greta and the Giants. It launched the book about Greta Thunberg with a promise to plant a tree for each pre-order, and has acted on its own book’s messages by finding ways to reduce the environmental impacts of its production processes in the future. “The marketing of the book was right in line with its values… it was a cohesive strategy and an innovative approach to promotion,” judges said.
Also shortlisted for the IPG Marketing Award were Atlantic Books, Bristol University Press and Usborne Publishing.
ALISON MORRISON DIVERSITY AWARD
Barefoot Books receives this Award for the second time. It last won in 2012, and has since extended its superb track record for celebrating diversity in all its forms across children’s books. Judges applauded publishing that showcases other cultures, as well as global literacy initiatives and collaborations with BookTrust and Books for Africa. “Barefoot don’t have to work hard at inclusivity or make a big deal of it—it’s just part and parcel of the way they work and what they publish,” they said.
Also shortlisted for the Alison Morrison Diversity Award were Aurora Metro Books and Carcanet Press.
IPG SUSTAINABILITY AWARD
Cambridge University Press is an influential contributor to sustainability through its publishing, which has included important academic research and trade books like Mike Berners-Lee’s There Is No Planet B. Judges also saw internal commitment, via projects like a new solar panel roof and ISO standards accreditation. “CUP have brought a lot of visibility to the subject of sustainability and are making big changes themselves,” said the judges.
Also shortlisted for the IPG Sustainability Award were Lonely Planet and Nosy Crow.
THE BOOKSELLER YOUNG INDEPENDENT PUBLISHER OF THE YEAR
Michela Pea at Nosy Crow has made a huge impact on her company since joining in May 2016. Initially as rights assistant and now as senior rights manager, she has kept Nosy Crow’s international sales growing fast, excelling in rights and coeditions and in the Chinese market in particular. “Considering she’s only a few years into publishing she’s achieved an outstanding amount. She is obviously right at the heart of the business already,” said the judges.
Also shortlisted for The Bookseller Young Independent Publisher of the Year Award were Vicky Barker at bsmall publishing and Sarah Head at SPCK.
GBS SERVICES TO INDEPENDENT PUBLISHERS AWARD
Virtusales Publishing Solutions supports many medium and large sized independent publishers with their publishing management via its Biblio suite of software. Its clients pay tribute to the way Biblio simplifies workflows and saves countless hours of labour, all backed up by superb customer service. “Virtusales are dream partners… I wish all suppliers and software solutions could be as effective and intelligent as Biblio,” said one client.
Also shortlisted for the GBS Services to Independent Publishers Award were Compass Independent Publishing Services, Inpress and Suzanne Collier.