London Book Fair Adds Audiobooks to International Excellence Awards

In News by Porter Anderson

Taking a cue from the rise of audiobooks in the markets, the International Excellence Awards will include a new honor in April 2018 for a publisher in the audio space amid 16 categories of competition.

The audience at the 2016 International Awards at London Book Fair, Olympia, London. Image: LBF video

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

‘The True Value Publishers Make’
During Frankfurt Book Fair, another major Western trade show, London Book Fair (LBF), announced a new category of competition in its annual International Excellence Awards.

The new honor is for an audiobook publisher, and as rolled out on Thursday (October 12), it recognizes the fast growth of recent years in the audiobook sector, and its announcement coincides with the opening of entries for the awards, which are produced by LBF in association with the UK’s Publishers Association (PA).

The rise in many markets’ sales of audiobooks was pointed to by Nielsen Book’s Andre Breedt at Frankfurt Book Fair’s The Markets conference on October 10 as especially good news for publishing because audio is reaching “new readers—or bringing back readers who’d stopped reading,” citing male and younger consumers, in particular.

The 2018 awards are the fifth annual iteration of the program, submissions for which have just opened. The awards are sponsored by Hytex, and they showcase publishing success in 16 categories. The awards go to both companies and individual players in the industry in many parts of the world and across the industry’s sectors, embracing bookstores, educational initiatives, literary agents, trade publishing, brand licensing, and more.

Both people and companies can enter the awards using the London Book Fair website, with a deadline of January 26. Publishers are encouraged to nominate companies or people they feel deserve to be recognized for outstanding achievement this year.

As covered from London Book Festival by Publishing Perspectives, the 2017 edition of the LBF-PA awards, showed a range of openness to multiculturalism.

‘Innovation, Passion, Talent’

Jacks Thomas

In a prepared statement, the director of London Book Fair, Jacks Thomas, is quoted, saying, “These awards showcase and champion the achievements of the publishing industry around the globe.

“Each year, we’re bowled over by the innovation, passion and talent that the nominations reveal.  In a digital age, new ways of consuming books continue to emerge.

“It’s great to be able to recognize the latest star of the show, the audiobook.”

Stephen Lotinga

And speaking for the Publishers Association, its chief executive, Stephen Lotinga, is quoted, saying, “After the success of last year’s awards, we’re delighted to be involved again in celebrating the great innovation and excellence in the publishing industry.

“One of the main objectives of the Publishers Association is to ensure [that] people understand the true value publishers make in the creative sector and these awards go a great way in celebrating this fact. Given the increasing popularity of audiobooks in recent years, it’s also great to be able to celebrate this growing area this year.”

The Awards are the UK’s recognition of international publishing industry excellence. They have been designed to celebrate achievement across the entire business of publishing. Twelve categories are open to international companies outside the UK only, and UK organisations are eligible for four awards.

While a set of new Market Focus Baltic Countries award categories will be announced soon–to accommodate the 2018 Market Focus (in other fairs called Guest of Honor) of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania–the 12 standing categories now open for submission are, as usual, diviced between awards open only to countries outside the UK and those open to all countries, including the UK.

Categories and Submission Parameters

For countries outside the UK only:

  • Audiobook Publisher Award
  • Adult Trade Publisher Award
  • Children’s and Young Adult Publisher Award
  • Academic and Professional Publisher Award
  • Educational Learning Resources Award
  • Literary Agent Award
  • Literary Translation Initiative Award
  • Bookstore of the Year Award
  • Accessible Books Consortium (ABC) International Excellence Award
  • Literary Festival Award
  • Rights Professional Award
  • Educational Initiatives Award

For all countries, including the UK: 

  • London Book Fair Lifetime Achievement Award
  • Brand Licencing Award
  • Quantum Publishing Innovation Award

For the UK only:

  • Inclusivity in Publishing Award

The nominations and submissions made in these categories will be reviewed by panels of UK judges with relevant expertise in each category. The awards ceremony will also recognize several other awards including the Association for Publishing Education (APE) Awards. Please note that nominations will not be sought for these categories with judging undertaken by APE respectively.

The International Excellence Awards will be announced in an invitation-only evening event on April 10, Details on the entry criteria for each award category are on the LBF site here.

After being held in March last year, London Book Fair returns in 2018 to its usual April timeframe, running April 10 to 12. More information is here.

And here is a promotional video made from moments in last year’s International Excellence Awards:

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He is also co-owner and editor with Jane Friedman of The Hot Sheet, the newsletter for trade and indie authors. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook, at London's The Bookseller. Anderson has also worked with CNN International, CNN.com, CNN USA, the Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and other media.