by Edward Nawotka
British book publishing certainly knows how to self-celebrate: Each year they bestow upon themselves more than a dozen awards at the annual British Book Industry Awards. The fete, known colloquially as The Nibbies, was held Tuesday night in Cambridge, England with the top honor for Publisher of the Year going to Scottish house Canongate. It was cited “for great professionalism, attention to detail and the sheer exuberance of their publishing in 2008 which led to a doubling in turnover.”
Canongate’s tremendous sales were largely due to its savvy decision to sign up Barack Obama’s two books when he was still a candidate and publish them as his popularity was cresting.
That said, it sounds like the honorific was a close race between Canongate and Atlantic, which took home the prize for Independent Publisher of the Year. Atlantic was cited for much the same reasons as Canongate, “for success in achieving some very focused objectives, and a Booker Winner, resulted in record turnover and profits in 2008.”
It’s interesting, because these publishers are very simpatico, and my guess would be that you could swap books to each other’s lists and not notice too much of a difference. It looks like a sign of the times that the indies, with their somewhat edgier, more-with-it lists, are winning the day.
READ: The full list of Nibbies winners and judges’ citations.