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The 2017 Awards

The Independent Publishers Guild is delighted to announce the 13 winners of the 2017 IPG Independent Publishing Awards. They are:
Fox Williams Independent Publisher of the Year
EDWARD ELGAR PUBLISHING
Also shortlisted were the winners of the four other Publisher of the Year categories: Faber & Faber, Nosy Crow, Edward Elgar Publishing, Maths – No Problem! and SPCK.
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Frankfurt Book Fair Trade Publisher of the Year
FABER & FABER
Also shortlisted for this Award: Icon Books, Oneworld and Saraband.
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Blackwell’s Children’s Publisher of the Year
NOSY CROW
Also shortlisted for this Award: Bloomsbury Publishing and Walker Books.
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ProQuest Academic & Professional Publisher of the Year
EDWARD ELGAR PUBLISHING
Also shortlisted for this Award: Cambridge University Press, Jessica Kingsley Publishers and SAGE Publishing.
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Publishers Licensing Society Education Publisher of the Year
MATHS – NO PROBLEM!
Also shortlisted for this Award: John Catt Educational and Jolly Learning.
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IPG Specialist Consumer Publisher of the Year
SPCK
Also shortlisted for this Award: Bradt Travel Guides and Hoxton Mini Press.
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Nick Robinson Newcomer Award
HOXTON MINI PRESS
Also shortlisted for this Award: Firefly Press and Orenda Books.
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The Bookseller International Achievement Award
PAVILION BOOKS
Also shortlisted for this Award: Kogan Page, Nosy Crow and Oneworld.
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Ingram Content Group Digital Publishing Award
BLOOMSBURY PUBLISHING
Also shortlisted for this Award: Class Professional Publishing, Faber & Faber and PG Online.
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Nielsen Digital Marketing Award
HOW2BECOME
Also shortlisted for this Award: Jessica Kingsley Publishers and Nosy Crow.
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Alison Morrison Diversity Award
ONEWORLD
Also shortlisted for this Award: Carcanet Press, Cassava Republic Press and Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
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Ruth Killick Publicity Young Independent Publisher of the Year
JOSHUA BROWN, HOW2BECOME
Also shortlisted for this Award: Ola Gotkowska, Nosy Crow and Emma Milman, Class Professional Publishing.
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GBS Services to Independent Publishers Award
BIBLIOCLOUD
Also shortlisted for this Award: Compass Independent Publishing Services and Martin Palmer.
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Leading the list of winners is Edward Elgar Publishing—the first academic and professional publisher to win the flagship Fox Williams Independent Publisher of the Year Award since Bloomsbury in 2013. It was hailed by the Awards’ expert judges as an outstanding example of an independent publisher: ambitious, carefully run, and punching way above its weight despite competition from far larger operators. It becomes the 11th winner of the Award, joining Jessica Kingsley Publishers, Templar Publishing, Alastair Sawday Publishing, Earthscan, Continuum, Constable & Robinson, Bloomsbury Publishing’s Academic & Professional Division, Usborne Publishing, Search Press and Nosy Crow.
As winner of the ProQuest Academic & Professional Publisher of the Year Award, Edward Elgar Publishing was one of five publishers on the shortlist for the Fox Williams Independent Publisher of the Year Award, alongside the winners from four other categories: Faber & Faber, Frankfurt Book Fair Trade Publisher of the Year; Nosy Crow, Blackwell’s Children’s Publisher of the Year; Maths – No Problem!, Publishers Licensing Society Education Publisher of the Year; and SPCK, IPG Specialist Consumer Publisher of the Year.
Edward Elgar Publishing was joined as a double winner by How2Become, which won the Nielsen Digital Marketing Award while also providing the Ruth Killick Publicity Young Independent Publisher of the Year, Joshua Brown. Other winners included Hoxton Mini Press, winner of the Nick Robinson Newcomer Award; and Pavilion Books, recipient of the Bookseller International Achievement Award. Bloomsbury Publishing won the Ingram Content Group Digital Publishing Award and Oneworld the Alison Morrison Diversity Award. The list of winners is completed by Bibliocloud with the GBS Services to Independent Publishers Award.
All 13 winners were honoured at a Gala Dinner on Thursday 9 February 2017, staged at the Crowne Plaza Heythrop Park in Oxfordshire as part of the IPG’s Annual Spring Conference. They were chosen from shortlists featuring 41 nominations from 29 different companies and three individuals.
IPG chief executive Bridget Shine says: “It is testament to the strength of independent publishing in the UK that this has been the most competitive year in the history of our Awards. Our judges had to work long and hard to select the winners, who represent the very best of the independent sector. We congratulate all the outstanding companies and individuals who were nominated for these Awards.”
The IPG would like to thank the sponsors of the 2017 Independent Publishing Awards: Fox Williams LLP, sponsor of the overall Independent Publisher of the Year Award; Gardners, sponsor of the Awards drinks reception; and individual Award sponsors Blackwell’s, the Frankfurt Book Fair, GBS, Ingram Content Group, Nielsen Book, ProQuest, Publishers Licensing Society, Ruth Killick Publicity and The Bookseller.
The IPG is grateful to all the judges of the Awards: Graham Bell, executive director, EDItEUR; Nicholas Clee, editor, BookBrunch; Elise Dillsworth, founder, Elise Dillsworth Agency; Mary Elliott, associate, Fox Williams LLP; Peter Faber, partner, Fox Williams LLP; Marzia Ghiselli, publisher partnerships, Firsty Express; Clare Grist Taylor, former operations director, Profile Books; Siôn Hamilton, trading director, Foyles; Gareth Hardy, head of publisher liaison, Blackwell’s; Ruth Jones, director of publisher business development, Ingram Content Group; Michael Jubb, Jubb Consulting; Simon Littlewood, consultant; Stephen Lustig, non-executive director, Eurospan; Subroto Mozumdar, formerly of Pearson; Jonathan Nowell, senior adviser, Trillium Partners; Steve Potter, commercial manager, Wordery; Ken Rhodes, managing director, Eurospan; Peter Saxton, buyer, Waterstones; Simon Skinner, director of business development, BDS; and Tom Tivnan, features and insight editor, the Bookseller.
Judges’ comments about each of the 2017 IPG Independent Publishing Awards winners follow.
Fox Williams Independent Publisher of the Year

Edward Elgar Publishing celebrated its 30th anniversary last year, but remains a resolutely forward-looking business, expanding fast into law publishing and building an acclaimed digital platform, Elgaronline. Judges also admired its clear long-term strategy and the way it plays to its strengths as an independent publisher. “Edward Elgar produced an outstanding performance in a difficult market in 2016,” they said. “It is a very well run and profitable company with excellent partnerships, great author care and consistently superb customer service.”
Also shortlisted for this Award were the winners of the four other Publisher of the Year categories: Faber & Faber, Nosy Crow, Maths – No Problem! and SPCK.
Frankfurt Book Fair Trade Publisher of the Year
Faber & Faber won the inaugural Trade Publisher of the Year Award in 2007 and takes it again now after a year that saw it continue a restructure and resurgence. Sharp commissioning and marketing drove sales up, and it looked well beyond publishing with popular Faber Members and Faber Academy initiatives. “Faber’s turnaround after a challenging few years is an impressive feat,” said the judges. “It published a lot of books outstandingly well in 2016 and has built a great brand with consumers.”
Also shortlisted for this Award were Icon Books, Oneworld and Saraband.
Blackwell’s Children’s Publisher of the Year
Nosy Crow wins this Independent Publishing Award for an unprecedented fifth time in seven years after another remarkable year of growth. Judges noted its innovation in digital, high production values, proactive publishing partnerships and lively marketing and publicity. It excelled on the international stage too, and managed its growing backlist brilliantly. “There’s so much energy at Nosy Crow, and the backlist sales are exceptional for a relatively new company,” judges said.
Also shortlisted for this Award were Bloomsbury Publishing and Walker Books .
ProQuest Academic & Professional Publisher of the Year
Edward Elgar Publishing wins this Award for a second time, having previously triumphed in 2014. Its follow-up success comes after a 30th anniversary year in which it grew sales and profits amid a challenging market. It diversified from monographs, bolstered its law publishing and ramped up sales through its Elgaronline platform. “Moving into law was a bold move that has really paid off,” judges said. ”It’s a great example of how independent publishers can beat the big boys at their own game.”
Also shortlisted for this Award were Cambridge University Press, Jessica Kingsley Publishers and SAGE Publishing.
Publishers Licensing Society Education Publisher of the Year
Maths – No Problem! is a first-time winner at the Awards, securing this category just three years after publishing its first textbooks. It has quickly shaken up maths learning with resources inspired by teaching in Singapore, and grew sales exponentially in 2016. Its approach has been adopted by more than 1,000 schools and endorsed by the Department for Education too. “This company has seen an opportunity and run with it. The growth in a short space of time is phenomenal,” judges said.
Also shortlisted for this Award were John Catt Educational and Jolly Learning.
IPG Specialist Consumer Publisher of the Year
SPCK is another first-time winner of an Independent Publishing Award, having reinvigorated itself in the challenging Christian publishing sector. Under the guidance of 2016’s Young Independent Publisher of the Year, Sam Richardson, it achieved its highest ever turnover and adhered to well thought out strategies around investment, brand authors, digital activity and marketing. “SPCK is performing very well in a tough market,” judges noted. “It’s got a clear sense of purpose and what it needs to do to get better.”
Also shortlisted for this Award were Bradt Travel Guides and Hoxton Mini Press.
Nick Robinson Newcomer Award
Hoxton Mini Press, also shortlisted for the Specialist Consumer Publisher of the Year Award, is the winner of this Award named in memory of Constable & Robinson’s Nick Robinson. It has taken an innovative approach to publishing ever since it launched with the help of Kickstarter funding, turning its photography books into collectables and achieving extensive retail support and publicity. “The company has got a lot of excitement and momentum about it,” said the judges. “It’s a great business strategy and a sustainable model.”
Also shortlisted for this Award were Firefly Press and Orenda Books.
The Bookseller International Achievement Award
Pavilion Books takes this Award for a second year in a row after an exceptional year overseas. It owed much of its success in 2015 to Millie Marotta’s phenomenally popular colouring books, and capitalised on it by building in new markets including India and South Africa in 2016. It reinvigorated backlist sales in the US too. “Pavilion was coming off a stellar year but has worked out how to follow that success in a very strategic way,” said the judges.
Also shortlisted for this Award were Kogan Page, Nosy Crow and Oneworld.
Ingram Content Group Digital Publishing Award
Bloomsbury Publishing wins the Digital Publishing Award for work on Fashion Central, its new portal of content for higher education that builds on the Berg Fashion Library. It combines subscription and rental models and serves both instruction and research needs from a seamless, integrated platform. “Bloomsbury has got a clear sense of its audience segments and how the platform can deliver for them,” judges said. “It’s a global play with thinking outside of the box.”
Also shortlisted for this Award were Class Professional Publishing, Faber & Faber and PG Online.
Nielsen Digital Marketing Award
How2Become secures this Award for a second successive year, having impressed again in 2016 with campaigns including YouTube videos and a new ‘customer funnelling’ strategy. It led to a steep rise in sales, more than half of which were made direct to consumers from its website. “A lot of big corporates could learn from how it segments audiences and uses non-traditional channels,” judges said. “For a company of its size the marketing is a massive achievement.”
Also shortlisted for this Award were Jessica Kingsley Publishers and Nosy Crow.
Alison Morrison Diversity Award
Oneworld had another outstanding year in 2016, topped by a Man Booker Prize win for the second year running with Paul Beatty's The Sellout. Its list now features writers from more than 35 countries in 21 languages, and commitment to diversity also stretches to Oneworld’s own workforce and the support for entrants from a wide range of backgrounds. “It’s testament to an unflagging commitment to diversity, extending beyond that of race and culture to socio-economic, gender and disability issues,” judges said.
Also shortlisted for this Award were Carcanet Press, Cassava Republic Press and Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
Ruth Killick Publicity Young Independent Publisher of the Year
Joshua Brown gives How2Become a second win at the 2017 Awards, joining its Nielsen Digital Marketing Award. He drove a record year of turnover for his company, and having risen from temporary admin assistant to operations director in less than three years, he now has a vast remit including sales, marketing, title management and recruitment—and he’s still only 25. “Joshua achieved so much in 2016 and did remarkable things in some non-traditional publishing environments. He’s a real rising star,” said the judges.
Also shortlisted for this Award were Ola Gotkowska, Nosy Crow and Emma Milman, Class Professional Publishing.
GBS Services to Independent Publishers Award
Bibliocloud receives this Award for the fast growing popularity of its publishing system and the help it has given many IPG members in their data management and other tasks. By streamlining and automating processes it has freed up many independents to focus on their publishing. One said: “Bibliocloud is a game-changer for us as a small publisher—it’s transformed how we manage our titles and our metadata. It’s so easy to use and does whatever we want it to do.”
Also shortlisted for this Award were Compass Independent Publishing Services and Martin Palmer Publishing Services.