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Shortlists revealed for 2012 IPG Independent Publishing Awards

Posted at 11:51AM Friday 02 Mar 2012

The Independent Publishers Guild is delighted to unveil the shortlists for the 2012 IPG Independent Publishing Awards, run in association with The Bookseller and The London Book Fair. 

The shortlists for the sixth annual awards feature some 20 different companies and four individuals. The independent publishers with the most nominations are Nosy Crow, shortlisted in four different categories, and Constable & Robinson, which has three places, while Bloomsbury Professional, Faber & Faber and Osprey Publishing have two nominations apiece. The shortlists demonstrate the rich variety of independent publishing and IPG membership, taking in companies large and small, new and established and from all sectors of the industry.

The eleven categories for which shortlists have been selected are: 

The Bookseller Trade Publisher of the Year: Anova Books, Constable & Robinson, Faber & Faber and Yale University Press 

IPG Academic & Professional Publisher of the Year: Bloomsbury Professional, Hart Publishing, Liverpool University Press and SAGE 

IPG Children's Publisher of the Year: Barrington Stoke and Nosy Crow 

IPG Education Publisher of the Year: Crown House Publishing and Jolly Learning 

IPG Specialist Consumer Publisher of the Year: Accent Press, Osprey Publishing, Quiller Publishing and SPCK Publishing 

IPG Newcomer Award: And Other Stories, How 2 Become and Nosy Crow 

The London Book Fair International Achievement Award: Nosy Crow and Woodhead Publishing 

Ingram Digital Publishing Award: Bloomsbury Professional, Constable & Robinson, Faber & Faber and Osprey Publishing  

The Frankfurt Book Fair Digital Marketing Award: Constable & Robinson, Nosy Crow and Top That! Publishing  

IPG Young Independent Publisher of the Year: Andrew Furlow, Icon Books and Sarah Shin, Verso Books 

GBS Services to Independent Publishers Award: Adrian Driscoll and David Segrue 

Two more categories — the Nielsen Innovation of the Year and the IPG Diversity Award — have no shortlists this year, though winners for both prizes will also be presented at the Gala Dinner. A final company award — for the overall IPG Independent Publisher of the Year — will also be named, from a shortlist made up of the winners of the five Publisher of the Year categories. 

All IPG Independent Publishing Awards winners will be revealed at a Gala Dinner on Thursday 8 March 2012. The event will be among the highlights of the landmark 50th Annual Conference of the IPG, to be held at Heythrop Park in Oxfordshire from Wednesday 7 to Friday 9 March. The winners will take their place on a prestigious roll call of winners that includes the five previous Independent Publishers of the Year: Jessica Kingsley Publishers, Templar Publishing, Alastair Sawday Publishing, Earthscan and Continuum. 

All shortlists were compiled by experts sharing decades of experience across publishing and related industries. Bridget Shine, Executive Director of the IPG, says: "We are grateful to our judges for their efforts to produce these exceptionally strong shortlists, and send our warm congratulations to all the companies and individuals on them. The lists illustrate the incredible breadth of talent and achievement within independent publishing, which continues to contribute an enormous amount to UK culture and business. We are also grateful to all those IPG members who took the time to make submissions to what proved to be a very high quality field of entries." 

The judges' comments on each of the shortlisted companies and individuals follow. 


Anova Books makes the shortlist in this category for its impressive sales in what was a challenging year for many trade publishers, and for its smart, attractive books and stationery. "Everything Anova publishes looks top notch. Its staff clearly enjoy working there and it works with its authors very closely and successfully," said the judges. 

Constable & Robinson is shortlisted in this category for a third successive year, having increased its sales and profits via sharpened publishing and digital strategies. Its string of bestsellers in 2011 were enhanced by imaginative ebook campaigns. "Constable & Robinson is a publisher on a roll — a rising star in a difficult market," said the judges. 

Faber & Faber impressed the panel with its moves into new areas of business, including its Faber Academy, Factory and Social initiatives, while never compromising on its print and ebook publishing. "Faber is diversifying in a very clever way while holding true to its values," said the judges. "This is a publisher that is right on the money in everything it does." 

Yale University Press is nominated after a year of impressive sales and efforts to make its books accessible to a broad market, winning several awards along the way. Judges admired its digital innovation and export sales in particular. "Yale gets the balance between intelligent books and popular appeal just right. In a tough market it is doing very well."


Bloomsbury Professional, formed from the acquisition of Tottel Publishing, is nominated after a record year in 2011, standing out in particular for its wealth of online innovations. "After a fantastic strategic acquisition, Bloomsbury Professional has continued to grow into a very slick operation. It has got well beyond the print paradigm in the way it looks at its business." 

Hart Publishing, a previous winner in this category, was shortlisted after another year of strong sales growth and sector-leading publishing. Judges liked its constant innovation in both print and digital areas. "Hart has a great spirit and is clearly respected and valued by its staff and authors. It has sharp internal processes and an impressive global focus." 

Liverpool University Press wins a place on the shortlist after pulling round its fortunes to record a very good year of sales. Stand-out achievements included a very good campaign for The World's Most Difficult Quiz. "This is a terrific success story," said the judges. "Liverpool has turned itself around from a loss-making business into a money-making and very worthwhile enterprise." 

SAGE is shortlisted after impressing with a thoroughly professional publishing programme, wide-ranging digital activity, high production standards and sharp global strategies. "SAGE knows its market and does what it does phenomenally well," said the judges. "It consistently attracts top talent and is very dynamic internationally." 


Barrington Stoke was lauded by judges for its efforts to promote the pleasures of books to struggling or reluctant readers. They noted its achievements over 2011 in polishing its commissioning, production and marketing. "Barrington Stoke plays a hugely valuable role in children's publishing — and its books really work for their readers." 

Nosy Crow, a new arrival in children's publishing, is shortlisted for its books and apps that bring reading alive for children and parents. Judges especially liked its high production values and close customer engagement. "What Nosy Crow has achieved in just two years is phenomenal. Its marketing has been faultless and its publishing is full of energy." 


Crown House Publishing impressed with evidence of rising sales, fast-growing digital activity, a new imprint and close connections to its customers, especially via conferences and events. "Crown House is always very smart in the books it takes on and has a very clear sense of its market," said the judges. "It makes its publishing consistently appealing and imaginative." 

Jolly Learning caught the attention of the judges by establishing itself in dozens of markets around the world without losing its focus on the UK. They also liked its tight cost control and innovations including online training for teachers. "I am in awe of what Jolly Learning does," said one judge. "Its global reach is phenomenal, and it is a consummate professional in its field." 


Accent Press is shortlisted for a year in which it won a string of awards and accolades in its niche of erotic fiction. Judges liked its distinct strategy, imaginative book promotions and efforts to push sales around the world. "Accent Press ticks all the boxes and took itself on to the next level in 2011. It has identified a clear market and hit it very well." 

Osprey Publishing is listed after a year of outstanding sales and acclaim including the Arthur C Clarke award. Judges said it had total command of its various niches. "This is a company that lays its foundations and really does its homework on its books. It mines the possibilities of the new world of publishing while continuing to do the traditional things very well." 

Quiller Publishing was lauded for its expert knowledge of its niche market in country books. Judges also liked its approach to partnerships, including a sales venture with Anova and imaginative joint promotions for books. "Quiller has nailed its market and succeeds by collaborating very professionally with all the right people. It does what it does exceptionally well." 

SPCK Publishing impressed the judges with its efforts to combine niche publishing with a very professional approach to sales and marketing. They saw evidence of its close understanding of its market and admired its efforts to revive sales amid hard times in the Christian retail sector. "SPCK has a good business strategy and in a difficult market has done very well indeed." 


And Other Stories, founded in 2010, was praised by judges for its efforts to publish and promote literary fiction. They also admired its model of harnessing support from readers and its use of social media to spread the word about its books. "And Other Stories is a start-up with an obvious spirit of adventure and ambition," said the judges. 

How 2 Become is shortlisted on the back of rising print sales, downloads and web visits since launching. Judges admired the company's achievement on limited resources and its testimonials from grateful readers. "How 2 Become has performed well with decent margins — and is helping people to get jobs in difficult times."

Nosy Crow is in contention in this category after demonstrating impressive commercial success after just two years in existence. Judges liked its twin focus on books and apps and admired its sense of ambition. "Nosy Crow has produced a string of beautiful books and apps in a very short space of time. It has picked up impressive sales from a standing start." 


Nosy Crow impressed judges with its ambition to sell its books and apps around the world right from its launch rather than relying on the UK. They admired its imaginative efforts both to promote export and co-edition sales and to sell its apps in north America. "It is a great example of a company looking at a changing market and adapting itself very quickly to it." 

Woodhead Publishing makes the shortlist for international achievements including sharp export sales growth, especially in China and Germany, and the opening of a new sales and marketing office in the US. Judges also noted international collaboration on its online publishing projects. "Woodhead is very active and innovative in whatever countries it targets." 


Bloomsbury Professional is shortlisted after adapting its workflows to take full advantage of digital opportunities. Judges were impressed by its string of online publishing successes and by innovations like sharing some of its content with non-subscribers. "Bloomsbury Professional has really built itself up digitally, and has made neat use of technology across its platforms." 

Constable & Robinson impressed the judges with its evidence of fast-growing sales for its digital content. They also liked the way it had grown advertising revenues from online publishing activity like the Honest John website. "Constable & Robinson has explored a wide diversity of digital activity and business models, adding up to something very special." 

Faber & Faber was applauded for its efforts to bring print and digital publishing much closer together. Judges particularly liked its "genius" app based on T S Eliot's The Waste Land and its work for fellow independents via Faber Factory. "Faber has found very clever ways of repurposing both its content and its abilities. It has transformed itself for the digital age." 

Osprey Publishing is shortlisted for a rich variety of digital publishing and business models across several niches, including apps, websites, online databases and subscription services. Judges were also impressed by its adoption of XML workflows. "There are a lot of smart digital things going on at Osprey, but it makes sure that all its activity starts with the customer." 


Constable & Robinson is shortlisted after refining its digital marketing strategies over 2011, and judges particularly admired its campaigns to promote books by Jennifer Egan and James Craig via dedicated websites, apps, social media campaigns and ebook publishing. "What Constable & Robinson has done with and for its authors has been really smart."

Nosy Crow impressed for its efforts to establish the Nosy Crow brand among readers, suppliers and other partners, making full use of websites, microsites email, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube among other platforms. "Nosy Crow has made very good use of technology and has wholeheartedly embraced the digital market," said the judges. 

Top That! Publishing won a place on the shortlist for a major digital campaign around its Froobles brand. Judges especially admired its app, ebook partnership with Kobo and courting of influential 'Yummy Mummy' bloggers. "Top That! plugged into just the right networks to get the word out about its books and covered the digital platforms comprehensively." 


Andrew Furlow, sales and marketing director at Icon Books, is shortlisted for achievements including the phenomenal success of The Etymologicon, one of the surprise bestsellers of 2011. "Andrew is imaginative and tenacious and great at what he does," said the judges. "He was instrumental in a game-changing book without neglecting the rest of Icon's publishing." 

Sarah Shin, senior publicist at Verso Books, makes the shortlist after sharply increasing the profile of Verso's books and brand. Judges admired her activity on books including Owen Jones' hit Chavs and also applauded her event management and online campaigns. "Sarah has achieved an incredible profile for Verso, and her efforts in promoting authors have been outstanding." 


Adrian Driscoll, consultant and founder of app developer Aimer Media, was nominated for the help he has given independents with their digital strategies. "Adrian always goes far beyond the call of the project in offering advice and help to his clients," said one nominating IPG member. He is a great supporter of independent publishing and I can't recommend him highly enough." 

David Segrue, a sales agent for many IPG members, was nominated for his support of independent publishers over many years. "David goes out of his way to get under the skin of his clients and understand their unique selling points to ensure he maximizes sales for every title," said one member. "He is always helpful in sharing his knowledge of industry and customer trends."


The Independent Publishers Guild is very grateful to its partners on the 2012 IPG Independent Publishing Awards, The Bookseller and The London Book Fair; and to its award sponsors, The Frankfurt Book Fair, Grantham Book Services, Ingram and Nielsen. 

For more information about the 2012 IPG Independent Publishing Awards, please contact: Bridget Shine, IPG Executive Director, email

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