Who deserves to win? Get to know the Publisher of the Year shortlistees

15 Apr 2021
They’re already winners after last year.

2020 was a good year for larger publishers in terms of book sales and profits, but it wasn’t easily done. Much effort was expended to ensure books could reach audiences amidst lockdowns all the while keeping staff safe. Groundbreaking campaigns had to be hastily transitioned to online environments and were executed with finesse and success, warehouses were kept whirring in operation, connections and support to booksellers increased, and shifts in inclusive and accessible publishing were made. It was a trying year but one where those in the business should be proud of what was achieved.

You can read about what these six shortlisted large Australian publishers did across 2020 to make them worthy contenders for the ABIA Publisher of the Year award. 

The winner will be announced on 28 April 2021.

Get your tickets to be part of the ceremony here.

Congratulations to the shortlist:

Pan Macmillan Australia 

Last year Pan Macmillan established Australia’s biggest book promotion and first sustainable supermarket collectibles campaign. The partnership with Coles featured the Little Treehouse books by bestselling author/illustrator duo, Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton, with 24 individual titles of 64 pages each, delivered start-to-finish in just six months. The delivery fell in the middle of the pandemic, with the papermill located in Wuhan! Little Treehouse reached over 8 million homes (80% of households) and campaign awareness reached 90-95% nationally. 

Pan Macmillan also introduced a new printer to the Australian market, which was deemed a crucial move for the entire Australian book industry. Also in 2020, every staff member of the company undertook cultural competency training, with immediate impact on publishing and operations, and a Cultural Competency Group was set up to nurture, grow and amplify BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Colour) storytelling and events within Australia.

Hachette Australia 

In 2020 Group Publishing Director of Hachette Australia, Fiona Hazard, was actively involved in the Australian Inclusive Publishing Initiative, helping to implement AIPI’s recommendations to make Hachette ebooks and digital audio books DAISY compliant. 

The partnership with State Libraries Queensland/black&write! continued to uncover great Indigenous writing talent. Nardi Simpson’s Song of the Crocodile sold 8,266 copies in 2020 and received critical acclaim. Hachette also produced the When We Say Black Lives Matter by Maxine Beneba Clark. Both books have been shortlisted for a 2021 ABIA.

Allen & Unwin

The Allen & Unwin sales team focused on supporting booksellers affected by lockdowns during the pandemic. Tailored point of sale and window displays assisted booksellers in different stages of restrictions, and bespoke ordering information and customised information helped busy booksellers focus on the best books in periods of changing trading. Allen & Unwin worked with Anh Do and booksellers to make the first book in his Mythix series available for free to young readers, during the school holiday period of the first lockdown.

Across the year Allen & Unwin published 246 new titles, all available in print and digital formats. They secured 199 rights and co-edition sales, across 57 countries. Allen & Unwin rose to meet the challenges of 2020 with determination and innovation.

Penguin Random House

Penguin Random House Australia was in the Bookscan #1 spot for 32 weeks in 2020. It ended the year with six of the Top 20 and 35 in the Top 100. 22 of these were locally published, driving more growth than any other publisher in the Australian category. Early in the pandemic PRH implemented a project to improve supply resilience with continual focus on speed to market to ensure high levels of availability and improvements to information via the UBD portal. Bookseller feedback continues to be incredibly complementary about PRH and UBD, particularly focused on turnaround times and ultimately believed they remained the benchmark in 2020. PRH delivered a comprehensive program of staff development opportunities, launched a raft of diversity and inclusion initiatives and deepened its commitment to community and industry.

HarperCollins Publishers Australia

HarperCollins ran four writing prizes for new voices and published 17 debut authors in 2020. The publisher had over 120 titles which sold more than 10,000 copies each – almost half these were Australian published titles.

The publisher launched the “Books Bring Us Together” retail campaign in August to help reignite sales for independent bookstores coming out of lockdown. Showing excellent customer service, despite social distancing requirements, shipping delays and border closures, the Harper Entertainment Distribution Services team didn’t falter, providing a safe workplace and supporting customers with extended payment terms, no minimum order values and delivering books on time during the height of the pandemic.

Hardie Grant Publishing

Hardie Grant had a successful global strategy taking Australian authors to the world. Forty percent of their print book sales in 2020 were made outside of Australia. Sales of Malcolm Turnbull’s memoir at the onset of the pandemic gave a morale boost and showed a way forward for other booksellers and publishers. A pivoted campaign led to sales of 12,000 ebooks, 11,000 audio and 65,000 books making this one of the bestselling titles for the year for the industry. 

By establishing businesses in London and in San Francisco the company has properly exploited the publishing generated in Australia in all the key English language markets. This enables global income on a greater scale than is possible in the Australian market alone, and at higher percentage royalties earned than traditional export sales. Authors are their core investment and they work to deliver them the highest earnings. In the year 2020 Hardie Grant exceeded its five-year benchmark target for sales in the United States two years ahead of schedule. Their substantial foreign rights and co-editions business totalled sales of $1.3 million.

Purchase tickets to see who wins in live time.

2021 ABIA Business Awards are NOW OPEN!

4 Feb 2021
Publishing professionals and booksellers can now submit nominations in the following categories:

Publisher of the Year
Small Publisher of the Year
Book Retailer of the Year
Bookshop of the Year
Rising Star of the Year

Booksellers – Nominating is FREE for the Bookshop of the Year. Now, we know it’s a bit weird nominating yourself. But you (and your staff!) work very hard getting books into the hands of readers and we want to celebrate your team. Nominate your bookshop. Or a Rising Star in your team!

Book Retailer of the Year – Call out for book retail chains, discount department stores, online retailers and other retailers successfully selling books as part of a larger range of products – we need you (to nominate and celebrate your work as part of ABIA 2021)!Publishers – Don’t think twice! Nominate yourself in the appropriate Publisher of the Year category. Join the likes of Allen and Unwin and Magabala Books — winners of the 2020 Publisher of the Year awards. 

Publishing Managers – Who of your staff in the first ten years of their publishing career deserve accolades? Who do you know is a future leader of the industry? Nominate them in the Rising Star Awards.

Start your submission here or check out the details below for categories and more information on how to enter. 

ABIA Business Award submissions close at 11:59pm on Tuesday 1 March (AEDT). Happy nominating! If you have any queries email the ABIA team!


Also tickets are now on sale! Buy them here.

Award Categories, Descriptions and Sample forms 

Publisher of the Year
This is an award for the Australian publisher with a turnover of more than $10 million whose publishing programme (including sales, promotion, editorial and production) demonstrated excellence, commensurate with the publisher’s size, for the period January to December 2020, and which contributed to the success of the industry. Download a sample copy of the nomination form.

Small Publisher of the Year
This is an award for the Australian publisher with a turnover of less than $10 million whose publishing programme (including sales, promotion, editorial and production) demonstrated excellence, commensurate with the publisher’s size, for the period January to December 2020, and which has contributed to the overall success of the industry.
Download a sample copy of the nomination form.

Book Retailer of the Year
This is an award for the Australian company or group of companies or retailers that has best demonstrated excellence and contributed to the overall success of the industry during the course of the year January to December 2020.This award is open only to Australian-registered national retailers, including: book retail chains, discount department stores, online retailers and other retailers successfully selling books as part of a larger range of products.
Download a sample copy of the nomination form.

Bookshop of the Year
This is an award for an individual physical bookshop in Australia that has demonstrated excellence over the course of the 2020 calendar year. The bookshop may be part of a larger chain, but this award is for an individual store as listed on the entry form.
Download a sample copy of the nomination form.

Rising Star of the Year
This award recognises emerging talent in the Australian publishing industry, whose individual record reflects ongoing excellence and growth in contribution to their profession. The nominee must be currently working in the Australian publishing industry, and have been part of the industry for less than 10 years as of 31 December 2020. Self-nominations will not be accepted.
Download a sample copy of the nomination form.

ABIA Business Awards open 4 February and close 1 March 2020.

Announcing the ABIAs 2020 Longlist

2 Mar 2020

The Australian Publishers Association presents the longlist for the 2020 Australian Book Industry Awards (ABIAs). The longlist introduces the titles, publishers and authors in the running for the 2020 ABIAs.

ABIA 2020 Longlist header with Casey the host in front of a big sign ABIA

The ABIA Academy — a group of more than 250 publishers, booksellers, agents, media and industry representatives —  have selected and voted for books published in 2019 across 12 categories.  

The ABIAs showcase the collaborative efforts of publishers, editors, illustrators, marketers, designers, and authors in bringing quality books to Australia and abroad. It’s also a great opportunity to celebrate what we’ve done as an industry — and the joys of bringing books into the world.

 A shortlist will be released on Thursday 9 April, with winners announced at the publishing industry’s night of nights on Wednesday 29 April

The usually red carpeted event will be held at Sydney’s International Convention Centre and hosted by writer, musician and radio broadcaster, Casey Bennetto, back by popular demand and complete with three piece band. Claire Bowditch will be doing a special performance on the night, and we may be rolling out the blue carpet for a secret special guest.

Download social media images here. 

The 2020 ABIA Longlist

Biography Book of The Year

Borrowbox presents the 2020 ABIA Longlist for Biography

Australia Day, Stan Grant (HarperCollins Publishers, HarperCollins Publishers)

Born-Again Blakfella, Jack Charles (Penguin Random House Australia, Viking)

Gulpilil, Derek Rielly (Pan Macmillan Australia, Macmillan Australia)

Penny Wong: Passion and Principle,  Margaret Simons (Black Inc., Black Inc.)

Tell Me Why, Archie Roach (Simon & Schuster Australia, Simon & Schuster)

The Prettiest Horse In The Glue Factory, Corey White (Penguin Random House Australia, Hamish Hamilton)

When All is Said & Done, Neale Daniher, with Warwick Green (Pan Macmillan Australia, Macmillan Australia)

Your Own Kind of Girl, Clare Bowditch (Allen & Unwin, Allen & Unwin)

Book of the Year for Older Children (ages 13+)

ABIA 2020 Longlist for Book of the Year for Older Children (ages 13+)

Detention, Tristan Bancks (Penguin Random House Australia, Puffin)

How It Feels to Float, Helena Fox (Pan Macmillan Australia, Pan Australia)

It Sounded Better in My Head, Nina Kenwood (Text Publishing, Text Publishing)

Kindred: 12 Queer #LoveOzYA Stories, Michael Earp et al (Walker Books Australia, Walker Books Australia)

The Surprising Power of a Good Dumpling, Wai Chim (Allen & Unwin, Allen & Unwin)

This Is How We Change the Ending, Vikki Wakefield (Text Publishing, Text Publishing)

Welcome to Country Youth Edition, Marcia Langton (Hardie Grant Publishing, Hardie Grant Travel)

Welcome To Your Period, Yumi Stynes and Dr Melissa Kang (Hardie Grant Egmont, Hardie Grant Egmont)

Book of the Year for Younger Children (ages 7-12)

Book of the Year for Younger Children (ages 7-12)

Explore Your World: Weird, Wild, Amazing!, Tim Flannery (Hardie Grant Egmont, Hardie Grant Egmont)

Funny Bones, Edited by Kate Temple, Jol Temple and Oliver Phommavanh (Allen & Unwin, Allen & Unwin)

How to Make a Movie in 12 Days, Fiona Hardy (Affirm Press, Affirm Press)

Real Pigeons Nest Hard, Written by Andrew McDonald , Illustrated by Ben Wood (Hardie Grant Egmont, Hardie Grant Egmont)

The 117-Storey Treehouse, Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton (Pan Macmillan Australia, Pan Australia)

The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Ugly Animals, Sami Bayly (Hachette Australia, Lothian Children’s Books)

Under the Stars, Lisa Harvey-Smith, Mel Matthews (illustrator) (Melbourne University Publishing, Melbourne University Press)

Young Dark Emu, Bruce Pascoe (Magabala Books, Magabala Books)

Children’s Picture Book of the Year (ages 0-6)

Children's Picture Book of the Year (ages 0-6) Longlist

All of the Factors of Why I Love Tractors, Davina Bell and Jenny Løvlie (Hardie Grant Egmont, Little Hare)

Bluey: The Beach, Ludo Studio, BBC Studios and Penguin Random House Australia (Penguin Random House Australia and Puffin)

Kindness Makes Us Strong, Sophie Beer (Hardie Grant Egmont, Little Hare)

Lottie and Walter, Anna Walker (Penguin Random House Australia, Puffin)

Mr Chicken All Over Australia, Leigh Hobbs (Allen & Unwin, Allen & Unwin)

The Painted Ponies, Alison Lester (Allen & Unwin, Allen & Unwin)

The Tiny Star, Mem Fox and Freya Blackwood (Penguin Random House Australia, Puffin)

Tilly, Jane Godwin and Anna Walker (Scholastic Australia, Scholastic Press)

Wilam, Andrew Kelly, Aunty Joy Murphy, Lisa Kennedy (Walker Books Australia, Black Dog Books)

General Fiction Book of the Year

General Fiction Book of the Year Longlist

Bruny, Heather Rose (Allen & Unwin, Allen & Unwin)

Call Me Evie, J.P. Pomare (Hachette Australia, Hachette Australia)

Cilka’s Journey, Heather Morris (Echo Publishing, Echo Publishing)

Good Girl, Bad Girl, Michael Robotham (Hachette Australia, Hachette Australia)

Peace, Garry Disher (Text Publishing, Text Publishing)

Silver, Chris Hammer (Allen & Unwin, Allen & Unwin)

The Scholar, Dervla McTiernan (HarperCollins Publishers, HarperCollins Publishers)

The Wife and the Widow, Christian White (Affirm Press, Affirm Press)

General Non-fiction Book of the Year

General Non-fiction Book of the Year Longlist

Accidental Feminists, Jane Caro (Melbourne University Publishing, Melbourne University Press)

Against All Odds, Craig Challen and Richard Harris (Penguin Random House Australia, Viking)

Banking Bad, Adele Ferguson (HarperCollins Publishers, ABC Books)

Fake, Stephanie Wood (Penguin Random House Australia, Vintage Australia)

Kitty Flanagan’s 488 Rules for Life, Kitty Flanagan (Allen & Unwin, Allen & Unwin)

See What You Made Me Do: Power, Control and Domestic Abuse, Jess Hill (Black Inc., Black Inc.)

The Yellow Notebook: Diaries Volume I 1978, Helen Garner (Text Publishing, Text Publishing)

Troll Hunting, Ginger Gorman,  (Hardie Grant Publishing, Hardie Grant Books)

Illustrated Book of the Year

ABIA 2020 Illustrated Book of the Year Longlist

Australia Modern: Architecture, Landscape & Design 1925–1975, Hannah Lewi and Philip Goad (Thames & Hudson Australia, Thames & Hudson Australia)

Ben Quilty, Ben Quilty (Penguin Random House Australia, Lantern Australia)

Finding the Heart of the Nation, Thomas Mayor (Hardie Grant Publishing, Hardie Grant Travel)

Macquarie Atlas of Indigenous Australia: Second Edition, Bill Arthur and Frances Morphy (eds.) (Pan Macmillan Australia, Macquarie Dictionary Publishers)

Olive Cotton, Helen Ennis (HarperCollins Publishers, Fourth Estate)

Step into Paradise, Jenny Kee and Linda Jackson (Thames & Hudson Australia and MAAS Media, Thames & Hudson Australia)

The Lost Boys: The untold stories of the under-age soldiers who fought in the First World War, Paul Byrnes (Affirm Press, Affirm Press)

The Whole Fish Cookbook, Josh Niland (Hardie Grant Publishing, Hardie Grant Books)

Three Birds Renovations, Erin Cayless, Bonnie Hindmarsh and Lana Taylor (Murdoch Books, Murdoch Books)

International Book of the Year

ABIA 2020 International Book of the Year Longlist

Catch and Kill, Ronan Farrow (Hachette Australia, Fleet)

Fleishman is in Trouble, Taffy Brodesser-Akner (Hachette Australia, Wildfire)

Girl, Woman, Other, Bernardine Evaristo (Penguin Random House Australia, Hamish Hamilton)

Lanny, Max Porter (Faber, Faber)

The Dutch House, Ann Patchett, (Bloomsbury Publishing, Bloomsbury Publishing)

The Testaments, Margaret Atwood (Penguin Random House Australia, Chatto & Windus)

Three Women, Lisa Taddeo (Bloomsbury Publishing, Bloomsbury Circus)

Where the Crawdads Sing, Delia Owens (Hachette Australia, Corsair)

Literary Fiction Book of the Year

ABIA 2020 Literary Fiction Book of the Year

Damascus, Christos Tsiolkas (Allen & Unwin, Allen & Unwin)

Exploded View, Carrie Tiffany (Text Publishing, Text Publishing)

Room for a Stranger, Melanie Cheng (Text Publishing, Text Publishing)

The Drover’s Wife, Leah Purcell (Penguin Random House Australia, Hamish Hamilton)

The Weekend, Charlotte Wood (Allen & Unwin, Allen & Unwin)

The Yield, Tara June Winch (Penguin Random House Australia, Hamish Hamilton)

There Was Still Love, Favel Parrett (Hachette Australia, Hachette Australia)

Wolfe Island, Lucy Treloar (Pan Macmillan Australia, Picador Australia)

Small Publishers’ Adult Book of the Year

ABIA 2020 Small Publishers’ Adult Book of the Year Longlist

Cosmic Chronicles, Fred Watson (NewSouth Publishing, NewSouth)

Feeding the Birds at Your Table: A guide for Australia, Darryl Jones (NewSouth Publishing NewSouth)

Invented Lives,  Andrea Goldsmith (Scribe Publications, Scribe Publications)

Kindred, Kirli Saunders (Magabala Books, Magabala Books)

Paris Savages, Katherine Johnson (Ventura Press, Ventura Press)

Sand Talk, Tyson Yunkaporta (Text Publishing, Text Publishing)

Split, Lee Kofman (Ventura Press, Ventura Press)

The White Girl, Tony Birch (University of Queensland Press, University of Queensland Press)

Small Publishers’ Children’s Book of the Year

ABIA 2020 Small Publishers’ Children’s Book of the Year Longlist

Baby Business, Jasmine Seymour (Magabala Books, Magabala Books)

Cooee Mittigar, Written by Jasmine Seymour, Illustrated by Leanne Mulgo Watson (Magabala Books, Magabala Books)

Little Bird’s Day, Written by Sally Morgan, Illustrated by Johnny Warrkatja Malibirr (Magabala Books, Magabala Books)

Love Your Body,  Written by Jessica Sanders, Illustrated by Carol Rossetti (Five Mile, Five Mile)

Lunch at 10 Pomegranate Street, Felicita Sala (Scribe Publications, Scribble)

Sick Bay, Nova Weetman (University of Queensland Press, University of Queensland Press)

Summer Time, Hilary Bell and Antonia Pesenti (NewSouth Publishing, NewSouth)

You Can Change the World: The Kids’ Guide to a Better Planet, Lucy Bell (Pantera Press, Pantera Press)

The Matt Richell Award for New Writer of the Year

ABIA 2020 ABIA 2020 Small Publishers’ Children’s Book of the Year Longlist

Being Black ‘n Chicken, and Chips, Matt Okine (Hachette Australia, Hachette Australia)

Call Me Evie, J.P. Pomare (Hachette Australia, Hachette Australia)

It Sounded Better in My Head, Nina Kenwood (Text Publishing, Text Publishing)

Sand Talk, Tyson Yunkaporta (Text Publishing, Text Publishing)

The Prettiest Horse In The Glue Factory, Corey White (Penguin Random House Australia, Hamish Hamilton)

The Whole Fish Cookbook, Josh Niland (Hardie Grant Publishing, Hardie Grant Books)

Troll Hunting, Ginger Gorman (Hardie Grant Publishing, Hardie Grant Books)

Your Own Kind of Girl, Clare Bowditch (Allen & Unwin, Allen & Unwin) 

ABIA 2020 tickets are on sale NOW

6 Feb 2020

Tickets are now on sale! Purchase them here

People mingling at the ABIA event, atmosphere of warmth and socialising and buzz as they prepare for the main event

Join us as we celebrate the best books and finest talent in the book business — this year held at the Grand Ballroom at the Sydney International Convention Centre on Wednesday 29 April.

Acclaimed satirist and musician Casey Bennetto is back by popular demand to host the ABIAs. 

Casey Benedetto ripping it up on stage belting out a song with the ABIA sign in the background

Event details:

Date 29 Apr 20

Venue Grand Ballroom, International Convention Centre Sydney

Cost $220 for Members $300 Non Members

Registrations Open 6 Feb 20 6:00 AM

Registrations Close 29 Apr 20 3:00 PM

Tickets available from the APA – book now!

#ABIA2020

@ABIA_Awards

Check out the highlights reel from 2019

5 Jun 2019