Faber and Bloomsbury were the big winners at the first ever FutureBook Digital Innovation awards, with the prizes awarded last night (17th March) at an event held in central London. The evening also saw Tim Cooper, director of direct and digital marketing at Harlequin Mills & Boon, named as the "most inspiring digital publishing person".
Faber's Solar System for iPad was named best app, while Bloomsbury's Berg Fashion Library won the best website gong. The best use of social media award went to Penguin for its Facebook and Twitter campaigns; while the best content innovation gong went to Random House and Stardoll for "Mortal Kiss". Best integrated digital marketing campaign was won by Rough Guides for its promotion of Make the Most of your Time on Earth.
The judges, who included digital specialists from across publishing, praised Solar System for its combination of content and iPad wizardry. Alex Ingram, e-books buyer at Waterstone's, said: “In some ways, it was an obvious winner. It’s clear to me that it was the sheer wealth of actual content that made this app so successful.”
Berg Fashion Library was praised for being both well-executed and having a clear business strategy behind it. Kate Wilson, NosyCrow founder, commented: “A beautifully-presented website that was distinctive from the other websites, which were marketing tools, by being an established business in itself”. Jo Naylor, general manager, digital content sales at John Wiley, said Berg was “an incredibly ambitious project in terms of output and business model, with a highly successful and beautifully produced result”.
Cooper was lauded for his vision and his management skills. Ernst Kallus, digital media director for Oxford University Press, said: "Through Tim's guidance, HMB became one of the first publishers to sell e-books directly from their website and in the process, created not only a technically innovative solution but also a very compelling digital sales and marketing model." Wilson added: “A good and honest speaker and advocate for experimentation, who works hard to push his company’s unique brand-led digital opportunities."
In total close to 100 entries were submitted to the Digital Innovation awards, the first such awards that recognise how traditional publishers are fast adapting to digital. Aside from the main winners, apps from Nosy Crow (The Three Little Pigs) and Guinness World Records ( . . . at your fingertips) were highly commended; as was the website of the graphic novel publisher SelfMadeHero.
Philip Jones, deputy editor of The Bookseller and co-founder of FutureBook.net, said: “We were overwhelmed by the response to the awards. What particularly impressed me was the diversity, invention and dedication of the people and companies behind the entries: often making do with few resources and publishing into uncertain markets.”
The awards are an indication of everything that is good about the business of publishing right now, Jones added: “We are often asked: Is the e-book here? And, is the book dead? Finally, I have the answers. Yes and No. Our awards are an able demonstration of these two responses.”
The FutureBook Digital Innovation Awards are run twice a year, with the winners put forward for the Digital Innovation of the Year award at The Bookseller Industry Awards.
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