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The winners of the 2019 IPG Independent Publishing Awards

The IPG is delighted to announce the 13 winners of the 2019 IPG Independent Publishing Awards. They are:

Ingram Content Group Independent Publisher of the Year

Faber & Faber

IPG Trade Publisher of the Year

Faber & Faber

Blackwell’s Children’s Publisher of the Year

Bloomsbury Children’s Books

ProQuest Academic and Professional Publisher of the Year

Kogan Page

PLS Education Publisher of the Year

Bloomsbury Publishing

IPG Specialist Consumer Publisher of the Year

SPCK

Nick Robinson Newcomer Award

UCLan Publishing

The Bookseller International Achievement Award

Kogan Page

Haremi Digital Publishing Award

Search Press and SPCK (joint)

IPG Marketing Award

Nosy Crow

Alison Morrison Diversity Award

Zed Books

Inspired Selection Young Independent Publisher of the Year

Zeshan Qureshi, Zeshan Qureshi Ltd

GBS Services to Independent Publishers Award

BooksoniX
The Awards are a showcase of the superb achievements of independent publishers in 2018. Leading the winners is Faber & Faber, the 13th recipient of the flagship Ingram Content Group Independent Publisher of the Year Award as well as the IPG Trade Publisher of the Year Award. It was honoured by the Awards judges for a combination of outstanding commercial and critical success, including a best-ever financial year and numerous awards for its books including the Man Booker Prize.
Faber & Faber joins 12 previous winners of the prestigious Independent Publisher of the Year Award, alongside 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 and Maths – No Problem!
The company was one of five publishers on the shortlist for this Award. It was joined there by the four other Publishers of the Year: Bloomsbury Children’s Publishing, Blackwell’s Children’s Publisher of the Year; Kogan Page, ProQuest Academic & Professional Publisher of the Year; Bloomsbury Publishing, PLS Education Publisher of the Year; and SPCK, IPG Specialist Consumer Publisher of the Year.
Like Faber & Faber, Kogan Page was a two-time winner at the Awards, after adding The Bookseller International Award. So too was SPCK, which shared the Haremi Digital Publishing Award with Search Press.
Other winners included UCLan Publishing, which received the Nick Robinson Newcomer Award; Nosy Crow, which took the IPG Marketing Award; and Zed Books, winner of the Alison Morrison Diversity Award. Zeshan Qureshi, founder of the Unofficial Guide to Medicine series, received the Inspired Selection Young Independent Publisher of the Year Award. The final winner was BooksoniX, recipient of the GBS Services to Independent Publishers Award.
The Independent Publishing Awards were presented at a Gala Dinner on Thursday 2 May, as part of the IPG’s 2019 Spring Conference. They were chosen from shortlists that featured 39 nominations from 27 different companies and three individuals.
The IPG would like to thank the sponsors of the 2019 Independent Publishing Awards: Ingram Content Group, supporter of the overall Independent Publisher of the Year Award, Blackwell’s, Gardners, GBS, Haremi, Inspired Selection, ProQuest, Publishers’ Licensing Services, the Sharjah International Book Fair and The Bookseller.
The IPG is also grateful to all the judges of the Awards: Ian Bannerman, advisor; Graham Bell, EDItEUR; Chris Benson, Taylor Wessing LLP; John Bond, whitefox; Nick Clee, BookBrunch; Lewis Dawson, Bookspeed; Eela Devani, Copyright Licensing Agency; Elise Dillsworth, Elise Dillsworth Agency; Marzia Ghiselli, Findaway; Gareth Hardy, Blackwell’s; Jo Henry, BookBrunch; Ruth Jones, Ingram Content Group; Hazel Kenyon, Nielsen Book; Stephen Lustig, Eurospan; Sam Missingham, Lounge Books; Steve Potter, Far Corner; Peter Saxton, Waterstones; Simon Skinner, consultant.
Judges’ comments about each of the 2019 IPG Independent Publishing Awards winners follow.

Ingram Content Group Independent Publisher of the Year and IPG Trade Publisher of the Year

Faber & Faber continued its recent revival in 2018, having one of the year’s bestselling books with Sally Rooney’s Normal People and capping it off with the Man Booker Prize for Fiction with Anna Burns’ The Milkman. “Faber is a real turnaround story—they’ve refreshed their list really well and had an amazing year of awards and shortlistings,” said the judges. They also admired its various brand spin-offs, like Faber Members, Social and Academy.
Also shortlisted for the Ingram Content Group Independent Publisher of the Year Award were the winners of the four other Publisher of the Year categories: Bloomsbury Children’s Books, Bloomsbury Publishing, Kogan Page and SPCK.
Also shortlisted for the IPG Trade Publisher of the Year Award were Atlantic Books, Bloomsbury Publishing and Elliott & Thompson.

Blackwell’s Children’s Publisher of the Year

Bloomsbury Children’s Books excelled across children’s publishing in 2018, finding success in middle-grade fiction and the tricky picture book markets in particular. It broke out some new fiction brands, won a handful of prizes and did well in rights and coeditions. “Bloomsbury has shown that it is so much more than Harry Potter’s publisher… it’s grown well in all areas and does good work on diversity too,” said the judges.
Also shortlisted for the Blackwell’s Children’s Publisher of the Year Award were Nosy Crow and Wonderbly.

ProQuest Academic & Professional Publisher of the Year

Kogan Page had been shortlisted here for a second successive year, after recording sharp growth in print, ebook and rights sales alike. It was a year of launches, including a new consumer trade series, audio content and CPD-accredited online courses—but it worked its backlist hard too, and made its website even better. “Kogan Page has delivered a great uplift in a hard market—it’s done well through all the channels it works in.”
Also shortlisted for the ProQuest Academic & Professional Publisher of the Year Award were Bloomsbury Publishing, Academic and Professional Division, Class Publishing and SAGE Publishing.

PLS Education Publisher of the Year

Bloomsbury Publishing wins after being shortlisted for the first time in this category of the Awards. Judges liked its focused strategy, subscription model for early years publishing and use of well-known authors to move deeper into the education sector. They also admired the quality of its books, its various awards in 2018 and use of resources from elsewhere in Bloomsbury. “It’s ticking lots of boxes and growing sales in an extremely tough market,” they said.
Also shortlisted for the PLS Education Publisher of the Year Award was Crown House Publishing.

IPG Specialist Consumer Publisher of the Year

SPCK wins this Award for the third year in a row, and 2018 continued the remarkable turnaround of the business from near-bankruptcy to thriving religious publisher. Success was built on a strategy of publishing fewer books better, adding much more digital content and rebranding various imprints. “This is a really uplifting story—a great achievement in a challenging market,” judges said. “They liked SPCK’s care of staff, authors and customers too.
Also shortlisted for the IPG Specialist Consumer Publisher of the Year Award were Cicerone Press and Nick Hern Books.

Nick Robinson Newcomer Award

UCLan Publishing has quickly established itself with an innovative approach to publishing, drawing on resources of the University of Central Lancashire while publishing with great independence across children’s, fiction and non-fiction. Its experienced team have already published some big names, and worked hard on diversity of output. “There’s a distinct difference to UCLan’s approach—a disruptive spirit and an infectious enthusiasm,” said the judges.
Also shortlisted for the Nick Robinson Newcomer Award were 404 Ink and Muswell Press.

The Bookseller International Achievement Award

Kogan Page had a very strong year across print exports, rights and international digital sales in 2018. There was particularly sharp growth in the US, where the company secured some major academic adoptions, and online digital sales—now direct to readers as well as through intermediaries—rose too. “Kogan Page is doing so well in some difficult markets, and the confident move into the US shows their ambition,” said the judges.
Also shortlisted for The Bookseller International Achievement Award were Jolly Learning, Nosy Crow and Sweet Cherry Publishing.

Haremi Digital Publishing Award

Search Press is the joint winner of this Award for the success of its Half Yard Sewing Club, a subscription website providing support, videos and projects for sewing enthusiasts. As well as promoting print content, the site has become profitable in a sector with no shortage of free resources. Judges said: “This is a great example of how traditional publishers can turn the business upside down and develop great digital products without compromising commercial principles.”
SPCK is a joint winner alongside Search Press after making a step change in its approach to digital publishing in 2018. It launched an app with the Archbishop of Canterbury’s team, another to provide free ebooks to those training to become priests, and started a new podcast, while also improving its CRM and direct sales. “These digital advances haven’t just happened—they’re the result of proper strategy,” judges said. “There’s a great synergy between the traditional and innovative.”
Also shortlisted for the Haremi Digital Publishing Award were Bloomsbury Publishing and Class Publishing.

IPG Marketing Award

Nosy Crow had another superb year of marketing in 2018, when its focus was on retailers including Waterstones, Amazon and independents. It built brand recognition in schools and libraries too, organised many successful author events, and refined its digital marketing via Instagram, YouTube and other platforms. “It’s hugely impressive—strategically thought out and really well executed. It’s a 101 of how to run marketing campaigns,” said the judges.
Also shortlisted for the IPG Marketing Award were Pluto Press and Walker Books.

Alison Morrison Diversity Award

Zed Books demonstrated its passion for diversity in all its forms in 2018. Its whole list has been built on a desire to promote marginalised voices, and its internationally minded publishing came to the fore during political debate last year. In house it reaffirmed its commitment to a collective model of business, a non-hierarchical structure and equality of pay. As judges put it: “Zed Books talks the talk on diversity, but it walks the walk as well.”
Also shortlisted for the Alison Morrison Diversity Award were Aurora Metro Books and Carcanet Press.

Inspired Selection Young Independent Publisher of the Year

Zeshan Qureshi of Zeshan Qureshi Ltd has broken into medical publishing with an innovative ‘Flipped Publishing’ model that puts students at the heart of content creation, marketing and distribution. As well as being picked up by UK medical schools, his books are growing in popularity internationally. “This is really audacious publishing, full of drive and determination,” judges said. “He’s not just building a great business—he’s changing the face of medical training.”
Also shortlisted for the Inspired Selection Young Independent Publisher of the Year Award were Gemma Butler of How2Become and Ola Gotkowska of Nosy Crow.

GBS Services to Independent Publishers Award

BooksoniX has provided a vital publishing solution for many independent publishers, helping them to optimise and disseminate their metadata to help their content get discovered in a crowded market. As well as increasing their sales, IPG members hugely value BooksoniX’s technical support and advice. “BooksoniX are an indispensible part of our business—to know that this aspect of our business is in the safest of hands is a great comfort,” said one.
Also shortlisted for the GBS Services to Independent Publishers Award were Inpress and Turnaround Publisher Services.