FutureBook: Bolinda, Wonderbly & unrd are re-writing storytelling

By Kitty Knowles 4 December 2017
Wonderbly was praised for its book The Golden Ticket. Image: Wonderbly
Wonderbly was praised for its book The Golden Ticket. Image: Wonderbly

Time for a 'reading list' with a difference?

The crisp feel of the page, the smell of the paper. Even today, there are few greater pleasures that getting lost in a good book.

But the way we read, or rather ‘consume’ our literature is becoming more diverse than ever.

Smart businesses are increasingly embracing new and exciting ways to tell stories, educate and shape new narratives.

This weekend, The Bookseller’s FutureBook Awards celebrated just how innovative modern-day publishing has become.

Re-writing the book

Given how many people now choose to listen to their favourite authors on the morning commute, we love that Rebecca Herrmann took how the prize for FutureBook Leader of the Year for her global impact and innovative approach to audio.

Herrmann is the founder of Bolinda – ‘the largest online audio bookstore in the southern hemisphere’ – and was praised for using technology to grow her business at speed.

The children’s FutureBook prize went to Wonderbly (formerly known as Lost My Name) – a rising star in publishing that personalises stories to help keep kids engaged.

The publisher won the accolade for it’s latest release, The Golden Ticket, a book that needs to be on the children’s Christmas lists.

“Wonderbly proves that technology can work brilliantly at the service of a great product, rather than being the star,” said the judges.

Read more: Is personalised publishing empowering or egocentric?

Grown-ups on the other hand will want to get stuck into Amazon Publishing’s ‘Kindle in Motion’ book Ripper: The Secret Life of Walter Sickert by Patricia Cornwell.

Taking home the adult FutureBook prize, this uses digital archival material – including intricate maps and hundreds of images – to bring the sinister crime story to life.

Immersive fiction app unrd took home the BookTech award for it’s inspired story Last Seen Online. This takes place over seven days and embraces all kinds of modern media – including in-app ‘chat’ story – to lay out the case of a missing girl, as her family and friends try to track her down.

While Enroly, a student referral hub that connects overseas students to free academic counselling and visa advice, took home an award for its contribution to the world of digital education.

innovation of all kinds

While many of this year’s FutureBook winners still use digital tools, its organisers have consciously focused on embracing broader ‘innovation’ across the industry, judge Bec Evans told The Memo this morning.

For example, the ‘Disruptor of the Year’ prize is a new category for 2017, which honours joint winners Julia Kingsford and Nikesh Shukla for bringing greater diversity to the fore.

The duo are behind The Good Journal, a quarterly publication by writers and artists of colour.

Prolifiko founder Evans, who was the only woman nominee for ‘BookTech’ in 2015, also points to the far greater number of women celebrated across the awards this year.

“Unrd has taken interactive storytelling to a new level,” she says of this year’s winner.

Check out the full list of Future winners below…

FutureBook Award 2017 Winner
FutureBook Leader of the Year
Bolinda founder Rebecca Herrmann
FutureBook Disruptor of the Year
The Good Journal founders Nikesh Shukla and Julia Kingsford
FutureBook Campaign of the Year
Ken Follett’s A Column of Fire global serialisation
Booktech Company of the Year Unrd
EdTech Company of the Year Enroly
FutureBook of the Year (Adult)
Ripper: The Secret Life of Walter Sickert (Amazon Publishing)
FutureBook of the Year (Children)
The Golden Ticket (Wonderbly)
FutureBook Platform of the Year (Consumer)
Penguin Random House UK
FutureBook Platform of the Year (Reference/Education) Kortext