UK companies featured strongly in the 2018 British Book Design & Production Awards, with the book of the year, That Book, among those printed in the UK.
The title had earlier won the digitally printed books award, where all the shortlisted entries had been produced by Hurtwood Press and printed by Pureprint. The winner was a stunning collection of images, photographs, maps and words printed on papers, on films with die cut and throw outs and tip ons in its pages. It meant a complex imposition arrangement with sections varying greatly in extent, from single pages upwards, and provided a puzzle for Ludlow Bookbinders. The excellence of the finished product belied the late nights and headaches that had gone into the production.
As well as the main award and digital print award, UK companies won the student of the year section and naturally the British book of the year, at one time the only category that the UK printer might be confident of winning, such was the state of the industry.
Now the UK printers have been named 28 times in the shortlists across all sections. This is behind China where printers received 35 short listed titles and were winners in seven categories. Italian companies won three sections outright with 21 shortlisted. There were also shortlisted entries from Germany, Latvia, Belgium (one winning), India, Thailand and Serbia.
Some were very much practical working books, those for the children’s sections and for branded series. Others, the Art of Whisky, for example, showed off both the printer’s and the binders art – this being bound with a copper cover.
Italian printers were well represented in the trade illustrated and lifestyle categories, dominated by cook books, the Chinese were abundant in the sections where volume is important, while the UK dominates the shorter run and higher value titles. Rivalling the Art of Whisky of binding and That Book for press work, the RAF Centenary Anthology, winner of the best British book, was another tome to grace any bookshelf commemorating the centenary of the junior branch of the Armed Forces.
Charles Jarrold, chief executive of the BPIF, introduced the awards, citing growth in the book sector according to the Publishers’ Association, PWC’s finding that “the printed book remains overwhelmingly the book readers favourite and will continue to be so for the foreseeable future”. And then referred to the Lindy Effect, explained by thinker Nassim Taleb as the indicator that something that has already been around a long time will continue for a long time to come. “If that’s the case for books, there’s a very bright future ahead. The books world can continue to look forwards to a very, very exciting future.”