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The 2011 Awards

The Independent Publishers Guild has announced the eleven winners of the 2011 IPG Independent Publishing Awards, run in association run with The Bookseller and The London Book Fair. They are:
IPG Independent Publisher of the Year
CONTINUUM
Also shortlisted for the IPG Independent Publisher of the Year Award were the winners of three other Publisher of the Year categories: Bright Red Publishing, Faber & Faber and Search Press.
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The Bookseller Trade Publisher of the Year
FABER & FABER
Also shortlisted: Alma Books, Bradt Travel Guides, Constable & Robinson.
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Ingram Academic & Professional Publisher of the Year
CONTINUUM
Also shortlisted: Berg Publishers and Hart Publishing.
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IPG Education Publisher of the Year
BRIGHT RED PUBLISHING
There was no shortlist for this award.
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IPG Specialist Consumer Publisher of the Year
SEARCH PRESS
Also shortlisted: Osprey Publishing, Punk Publishing.
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IPG Newcomer of the Year
PEIRENE PRESS
Also shortlisted: Bright Red Publishing, Medikidz.
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Nielsen Innovation of the Year
FABER & FABER
Also shortlisted: Bloomsbury Publishing, Grow Story Grow.
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The London Book Fair International Achievement Award
JOLLY LEARNING
Also shortlisted: Carlton Publishing, Search Press.
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IPG Diversity Award
THE 100-MINUTE PRESS
Also shortlisted: Arcadia Books, Urbantopia Books.
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Frankfurt Book Fair Digital Award
BERG PUBLISHERS
Also shortlisted: Grow Story Grow, SAGE Publications and Top That! Publishing.
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GBS Services to Independent Publishers Award
ATTWOOLL ASSOCIATES
There was no shortlist for this award.
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In addition to these eleven winners, judges awarded Highly Commended accolades to another four publishers: to Bradt Travel Guides in The Bookseller Trade Publisher of the Year category; Osprey Publishing in the IPG Specialist Consumer Publisher of the Year category; Search Press in The London Book Fair International Achievement Award category; and Grow Story Grow in the Frankfurt Book Fair Digital Award category. The high number of highly commended companies reflects the strength of entries in 2011 and the strong performance of independent publishers over the last year.
Leading the field of 2011 winners is Continuum, which claims the flagship title of IPG Independent Publisher of the Year as well as the Ingram Academic & Professional Publisher of the Year after turning round it fortunes in recent times. Continuum joins Jessica Kingsley Publishers, Templar Publishing, Alastair Sawday Publishing and Earthscan as the fifth name on the honours board for the IPG’s prestigious overall award.
Also scooping two IPG Independent Publishing Awards is renowned trade independent Faber & Faber, which was chosen by the judges as The Bookseller Trade Publisher of the Year and winner of the Nielsen Innovation of the Year award for its Faber Factory project. Alongside Faber and Continuum on the shortlist for the IPG Independent Publisher of the Year award were two other category winners: Search Press, named IPG Specialist Consumer Publisher of the Year; and Bright Red Publishing, voted IPG Education Publisher of the Year for the second year in a row.
The winner of the first ever IPG Newcomer of the Year award is Peirene Press, the publisher set up in 2008 to specialise in European literature in translation. The London Book Fair International Achievement Award goes to phonics specialist Jolly Learning, the IPG Diversity Award to the Kent-based 100-Minute Press and the Frankfurt Book Fair Digital Award to Berg Publishers. Completing the winners is Attwooll Associates, presented with the GBS Services to Independent Publishers Award.
All eleven winners received their awards at a Gala Dinner at Heythrop Park in Oxfordshire on Thursday 10th March, staged as part of the IPG’s 2011 Annual Conference. They were chosen by a panel of experts sharing decades of experience across various sectors of publishing and related industries.
IPG executive director Bridge Shine says: “Despite all the challenges to our industry, 2010 was a very good year for many IPG members, and the independent publishing scene is thriving at the moment. That makes the achievements of our awards winners all the more special. We congratulate all of them, and thank the many other companies who entered the awards and made our judges’ deliberations so challenging and stimulating.”
The IPG is grateful to its Independent Publishing Awards judges; to its partners, The Bookseller and The London Book Fair; and to its sponsors, CMP Digital Print Solutions, the Frankfurt Book Fair, Grantham Book Services, Ingram and Nielsen.
The judges’ comments about each of the IPG Independent Publishing Award winners follow.

IPG Independent Publisher of the Year

Continuum won this flagship Independent Publishing Award after a year in which it transformed its previously flagging strategies and finances. Judges noted in particular its work to reinvigorate sales and marketing activities and to straighten out its databases. “This is a compelling story of a company that has turned itself around in challenging economic times,” they said. “Line by line and piece by piece, Continuum has put itself back together again, and in doing so offers lessons for all independent publishers. This is Continuum’s moment.”

The Bookseller Trade Publisher of the Year

Faber & Faber stood out in this category for its ability to defend and grow its unparalleled literary reputation while constantly trying new things. A formidable list of achievements over the year included record sales, major book awards including the Nobel and Orange prizes, digital innovation including the development of book-related apps, and a string of brand spin-offs like the Faber Factory, Finds and Academy initiatives. “This is a very smart publisher that plays to its traditional strengths while always striving to innovate,” said the judges.
The judges awarded a Highly Commended in this category to Bradt Travel Guides, which impressed with its resilience and innovation in the challenging travel sector. “What Bradt has achieved in a very difficult market is phenomenal. It shows the true spirit of independent publishing,” said the judges.

Ingram Academic & Professional Publisher of the Year

Continuum scooped this category for the major turnaround of its business, and was praised by the judges for a strong submission that clearly outlined its impressive achievements. The last year has seen it move out of a loss and into profit, developing print on demand, XML-based workflows, new and improved databases and its own ebook platform among many other initiatives. “Continuum has hunkered down and focused on its strengths,” said the judges. “It has achieved an extremely impressive amount in a short space of time.”

IPG Education Publisher of the Year

Bright Red Publishing won this award for the second year in a row after consolidating its position as a market leader in the Scottish curriculum and sharply increasing turnover. Judges particularly admired its sharp marketing, expanded publishing programme—which includes material in the Gaelic language—and the launch of its own distribution centre. “Bright Red has spotted a gap in the market and absolutely nailed it,” they noted. “It has clearly had another very good year and is growing its business in a difficult marketplace.”

IPG Specialist Consumer Publisher of the Year

Search Press won the Specialist Consumer category at the third time of asking, having been shortlisted in each of the last two years. It was singled out for growing sales in the UK and abroad, and for exploiting non-traditional routes to market in particular. “Search knows its market inside out and consistently provides the right product for it,” said the judges. “It clearly cares about its customers.” Search’s sharp and extensive e-marketing and staff policies were also applauded. “This is obviously a great place to work,” they noted.
The judges awarded a Highly Commended in this category to Osprey Publishing, in recognition of its commercial print success and digital innovation. “Osprey is never standing still, but always moving forward,” said the judges.

IPG Newcomer of the Year

Peirene Press stood out in this category for carving out a niche in short European fiction in translation less than three years after launching. Judges congratulated Peirene on its beautifully produced and pitched books, and admired its marketing strategies and spin-off literary salons. “Peirene is the very essence of independent publishing,” they commented. “It has a real passion for its books as well as a vision for what it wants to achieve. This is a very well thought through endeavour and deserves to succeed.”

Nielsen Innovation of the Year

Faber & Faber won this category for its Faber Factory initiative that offers fellow independent publishers assistance with text digitisation, file storage and distribution and sales strategies via ebook retailers and aggregators. Judges hailed the success of Faber’s innovation, which has so far been used by nearly 50 publishers and has gathered glowing testimonials from many clients. “This is a really good innovation that will be a valuable support to many IPG members,” they said. “It makes digital publishing seem much less daunting.”

The London Book Fair International Achievement Award

Jolly Learning won this category for the second time, having triumphed at the inaugural IPG Independent Publishing Awards in 2007. Judges were impressed by the consistently sharp rises in Jolly’s international sales over the last few years, and admired its policies of tailoring editorial, sales and marketing strategies to different markets. “The spread of Jolly Learning’s sales is really impressive—especially with relatively few staff,” they said. “This is a truly global and evangelist company that wants to get its message everywhere it can.”
The judges awarded a Highly Commended in this category to Search Press, applauding its clear-sighted efforts to increase sales to Scandinavia over the last year. “This is a textbook example of using limited resources to achieve something special in international sales,” said the judges.

IPG Diversity Award

The 100-Minute Press took the prize in this category after impressing the judges with its range of books that condense the messages of key religious texts. The panel felt the books filled a clear gap in the market and helped to promote diversity in the UK. “The 100-Minute Press has struck on a clever idea and meets a clear need in our multi-ethnic and multi-faith society,” they said. “It deserves to find a wide audience.” The judges also praised the books’ distinctive packaging and competitive price points.

Frankfurt Book Fair Digital Award

Berg Publishers has secured its second success in this category, having won its previous incarnation—the E-Publishing Award—in 2008. It triumphed this time for the successful launch of the Berg Fashion Library, which was hailed by the judges for its ambition and for better-than-forecast sales figures. “This is an amazing project that has been carefully developed and beautifully executed,” they said. “It will be used for a very long time in its market.” Judges also hailed the breadth of digital innovation on display from independents in this category.
The judges awarded a Highly Commended in this category to Grow Story Grow for its storytelling portal to help children improve their language skills. “What Grow Story Grow has achieved on limited resources is very impressive,” they said.

GBS Services to Independent Publishers Award

Attwooll Associates wins this award for the second time in three years. It was nominated by several IPG members, who acclaimed its dedication to client publishers and its record of providing good advice and successful strategies. “Attwooll Associates enable independent publishers to be every bit as much in control of their digital destinies as the much larger conglomerate publishers,” said one. “Their experience, sage advice, formidable address book, sheer hard work and dogged yet patient persistence is invaluable,” added another.