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THE 2015 IPG INDEPENDENT PUBLISHING AWARDS

IPG Independent Publishing Awards winners revealed
The Independent Publishers Guild is delighted to announce the 13 winners of the 2015 IPG Independent Publishing Awards, run in association with Fox Williams LLP and The Bookseller. They are:
Fox Williams Independent Publisher of the Year
SEARCH PRESS

Inkubate Trade Publisher of the Year

PAVILION BOOKS

IPG Children’s Publisher of the Year
WALKER BOOKS

Frankfurt Book Fair Academic & Professional Publisher of the Year
LIVERPOOL UNIVERSITY PRESS

Librios Education Publisher of the Year
ILLUMINATE PUBLISHING

IPG Specialist Consumer Publisher of the Year
SEARCH PRESS

Nick Robinson Newcomer Award
ROWMAN & LITTLEFIELD INTERNATIONAL

The Bookseller International Achievement Award
LETTERLAND

Ingram Content Group Digital Publishing Award
EDWARD ELGAR PUBLISHING

Nielsen Digital Marketing Award
NOSY CROW

Alison Morrison Diversity Award
CARCANET PRESS

IPG Young Independent Publisher of the Year
TOM BONNICK, NOSY CROW

GBS Services to Independent Publishers Award
FABER FACTORY


Topping the list of winners as Fox Williams Independent Publisher of the Year is arts and crafts publisher Search Press. It becomes the ninth recipient of the flagship honour, after Jessica Kingsley Publishers, Templar Publishing, Alastair Sawday Publishing, Earthscan, Continuum, Constable & Robinson, Bloomsbury Publishing’s Academic & Professional Division and Usborne Publishing.
Search Press was one of five companies to make up the shortlist for the Fox Williams Independent Publisher of the Year Award after winning a Publisher of the Year title. It joined Pavilion Books, Inkubate Trade Publisher of the Year; Walker Books, IPG Children’s Publisher of the Year; Liverpool University Press, Frankfurt Book Fair Academic & Professional Publisher of the Year; and Illuminate Publishing, Librios Education Publisher of the Year.
Other winners at the 2015 Awards include Nosy Crow, winner of the Nielsen Digital Marketing Award—while its business development manager Tom Bonnick is IPG Young Independent Publisher of the Year. Another company publishing for children, Letterland, receives the Bookseller International Award. A second digital prize, the Ingram Content Group Digital Publishing Award, goes to Edward Elgar Publishing.
Three of the IPG’s Awards this year commemorate late and much-admired individuals in publishing. The Nick Robinson Newcomer Award, named after the founder of Robinson Publishing and chairman of Constable & Robinson, goes to new academic publisher Rowman & Littlefield International. The Alison Morrison Diversity Award, honouring the former Walker Books marketing director and Diversity in Publishing Network co-founder, goes to Carcanet Press. The final category, the GBS Services to Independent Publishers Award, sponsored in memory of Julie Nix, goes to Faber Factory.
The 13 winners were honoured at a Gala Dinner on Thursday 5 March, staged at the Crowne Plaza Heythrop Park in Oxfordshire as part of the IPG’s Annual Spring Conference. They were chosen from shortlists that featured a total of 25 different companies and three individuals.
IPG chief executive Bridget Shine says: “We are thrilled to be honouring our ninth set of winners of the IPG Independent Publishing Awards. Entries for the Awards were exceptionally strong this year, and our judges had to work long and hard to produce their shortlists and winners. We also thank our sponsors and all the IPG members who entered and helped to make our Awards night such a wonderful occasion. These winners prove that independent publishing in the UK is in fine fettle, and we applaud them all.”
The IPG thanks its partners on the Awards, Fox Williams LLP and The Bookseller; and its Awards sponsors, The Frankfurt Book Fair, Grantham Book Services, Ingram Content Group, Inkubate, Librios and Nielsen.
The IPG is also grateful to all the judges of the Awards: Graham Bell, executive director, EDItEUR; Nicholas Clee, joint editor, BookBrunch; Elise Dillsworth, founder, Elise Dillsworth Agency; Pete Duncan, consultant and former managing director of Constable & Robinson; Mary Elliott, associate, Fox Williams LLP; Peter Faber, partner, Fox Williams LLP; Gareth Hardy, head of commercial, Blackwell’s; Jo Henry, vice president, insight and analytics, Nielsen Book; Finn Kirkland, business development manager, Firsty Group; Sonny Leong, IPG honorary president; Stephen Lustig, business development director, Eurospan; David Roche, founder, David Roche Enterprises and chairman, London Book Fair; Kieron Smith, digital director, Blackwell’s; Ian Taylor, founder, Ian Taylor Associates; Mark Thwaite, head of online, Foyles; and Tom Tivnan, features and insight editor, The Bookseller.
Judges’ comments about each of the winners follow.
Fox Williams Independent Publisher of the Year
Search Press is the first ever specialist consumer publisher to win this overall Award. It comes in its 45th year, and recognises its concerted efforts to grow sales and master its niche of publishing. “In a competitive market, Search Press did exceptionally well in 2014. It shows a real passion for its books, respect for its authors, a hunger for sales and great leadership,” said the judges. “To dominate a competitive sector in the way it does is an outstanding feat.” Also shortlisted for this Award were the winners of the four other Publisher of the Year categories: Illuminate Publishing, Liverpool University Press, Pavilion Books and Walker Books.
Inkubate Trade Publisher of the Year
Pavilion Books receives its first ever IPG Independent Publishing Award after a landmark year in 2014 that saw it complete a major rebranding, a refocus of its publishing, the sale of some lists and an office move. Through all of that it sustained sales by growing in ebook, non-trade and export markets in particular. “This was a really impressive turnaround year for Pavilion,” said the judges. They also admired its wider contribution to publishing via its ‘Night in the Cells’ fundraising initiative. Also shortlisted for this Award were Carcanet Press and Pushkin Press.
IPG Children’s Publisher of the Year
Walker Books wins this category after two years of coming close on the shortlist. It produced after another eyecatching increase in sales in 2014, performing especially well in ebooks, exports and coeditions, and mixing fresh forward publishing with successful marketing of its rich backlist. Judges also liked its ongoing commitment to children’s literary and education. “Walker is a very successful publisher and a very ethical one too,” they said. “It feels like it has come of age.” Also shortlisted for this Award were Bloomsbury Publishing, Nosy Crow and Usborne Publishing.
Frankfurt Book Fair Academic & Professional Publisher of the Year
Liverpool University Press is another publisher to win an Award after several years as a runner-up. It has been shortlisted here for the last three years—proof of its consistent success against heavyweight competition. For 2014, judges singled out its nimble approach and innovation, demonstrated in commissioning, partnerships and the securing of JISC funding to explore new e-textbook models. “It does a lot of things you wouldn’t expect from a university press and thinks outside the usual confines of publishing.” Also shortlisted for this Award were Bloomsbury Publishing, Academic & Professional Division and Jordan Publishing.
Librios Education Publisher of the Year
Illuminate Publishing was shortlisted at the Awards for the first time in 2015, and owes its success to a year of strong sales growth and profitability, derived from innovative publishing on digital platforms as well as in print. Judges liked its impressive design and production values and its ambition to compete with much larger education publishers. “Illuminate is in a part of the market that is in flux, but it has used that to its advantage and grabbed its opportunities with both hands.” Also shortlisted for this Award were Jolly Learning and Letterland.
IPG Specialist Consumer Publisher of the Year
Search Press, 2015’s overall Fox Williams Independent Publisher of the Year, had a standout year in 2014, substantially increasing its market share and adding new retail accounts. The year also saw it revamp its website and build new partnerships, including an imaginative co-publishing deal with Women’s Weekly. Judges also admired its in-house distribution and customer service. “Search Press is creative and proactive and constantly seeks to learn and improve.” Also shortlisted for this Award were How2Become and Quiller Publishing.
Nick Robinson Newcomer Award
Rowman & Littlefield International, launched in late 2012, wins this Award for rapidly establishing a reputation for high quality publishing in the humanities and social sciences. Judges particularly liked its author networks, academic engagement and partnerships with think tanks. “R&L is breathing some new life into academic and professional publishing. It has realised the need to be a trans-media company from the start and has a clear idea of where it is heading.” Also shortlisted for this Award were Galley Beggar Press and Really Decent Books.
The Bookseller International Achievement Award
Letterland, also shortlisted for this year’s Librios Education Publisher of the Year Award, achieved record international business in 2014, sharply growing rights sales and forging good agent partnerships in many territories. Particular successes included adoptions in some US states and a switch away from ebooks to apps that has raised digital sales. “For its size, Letterland’s international achievements are phenomenal,” said the judges. “It competes in a difficult field but has a gutsy attitude that really pays off.” Also shortlisted for this Award were Edward Elgar Publishing and Usborne Publishing.
Ingram Content Group Digital Publishing Award
Edward Elgar Publishing scoops this Award after further enhancing its Elgaronline platform in 2014 with the addition of new Research Reviews content. Bolstered by excellent site design and back-end technology, it helped the platform to sharply grow its sales. “This is great use of technology for a relatively small publisher,” said the judges, who also applauded the way it provided free content to libraries in poorer countries. “That is sensible, creditable and important.” Also shortlisted for this Award were Bloomsbury Publishing, Academic & Professional Division and Nosy Crow.

Nielsen Digital Marketing Award
Nosy Crow wins this Award for a second successive year—a sign of its continued innovation and boundless energy in digital marketing. It further enhanced its brand reputation in 2014, ramped up social media activity and launched a new ‘Jigsaws’ games app to boost the discoverability of its print and digital products. “Digital is in Nosy Crow’s DNA and it has sustained it very well,” said the judges. “Gamification is a buzzword but it can be difficult and costly to do well—few have done it as well as this.” Also shortlisted for this Award were Edward Elgar Publishing and How2Become.
Alison Morrison Diversity Award
Carcanet Press is honoured for a year that saw it produce what it considers its most diverse list yet, promoted via multicultural events at festivals and elsewhere. “Carcanet gives voices to poets around the world that would not otherwise be heard,” said the judges. “2014 was an outstanding year in which they published a list of books committed to reflecting a broad range of diversity and which proved to be both critically and commercially successful.” Also shortlisted for this Award were Alanna Books, Frances Lincoln Children’s Books and Shade 7 Publishing.
Elise Dillsworth, co-founder with Alison Morrison of the Diversity in Publishing Network, adds: “It is an honour to have this Award in Alison's name and, in the spirit of the Diversity in Publishing Network, I hope we continue to see the promotion of equality throughout the whole of the publishing industry.”
IPG Young Independent Publisher of the Year
Tom Bonnick, business development manager at Nosy Crow, was shortlisted for this Award in 2014 and goes one better this year. He has proved himself an integral part of Nosy Crow’s success, and judges admired his energetic contributions to app production and social media activity, as well as his frequent speaking at publishing events and conferences. “Tom is clearly key to the Nosy Crow business, but he is also making a contribution well beyond it. He has a lot to give back to publishing.” Also shortlisted for this Award were Sam Hutchinson of b small publishing and Hajera Memon of Shade 7 Publishing.
GBS Services to Independent Publishers Award
Faber Factory wins this Award for a second time in three years after more efforts to open up sales and marketing opportunities for many IPG members. “Faber Factory’s service evidently goes way beyond the norm, exceeding any standard service level agreement that might be in place,” said the judges. “Descriptions such as ‘remarkable’, ‘transformative’, ‘kind’ and ‘friendly’ crop up over and over again in its many nominations; this is a highly impressive business, much valued by its many independent publisher clients.” Also shortlisted for this Award were Abrams & Chronicle Books, Faber Factory Plus and Propagator.