On Thursday night, we celebrated being one of the UK’s most impressive 100 businesses at the Smarta100 awards.
On Friday night, we won two FutureBook Awards. Jack and the Beanstalk won the Digital Children’s Fiction Book Award. I was so surprised that I didn’t write down what the FutureBook judges said, but this is an app that has already had many accolades. The Sunday Times said, “Nosy Crow’s latest fairy tale remake is a new high in the British publisher’s blending of storytelling and gameplay,” and gave it five stars, while The Guardian said, “The latest storybook app from children’s publisher Nosy Crow is its best yet: a wonderfully rich retelling of the famous fairy tale, with nine mini-games but also a strong emphasis on narrative and reading. It’s a real showcase for the potential of children’s apps,” and USA Today said, “Jack and the Beanstalk cleverly creates an intersection where gaming and reading meet”. In what Nigel Roby, the owner of The Bookseller, said was a particularly hard-fought category, another of our apps, Axel Scheffler’s Flip Flap Safari, was also shortlisted. Tom (on the left, in the photo above, while I’m on the right) accepted the award for Nosy Crow, and named Ed, Will and AJ, our brilliant apps-building team, as the real winners of the prize in his acceptance speech. We have FutureBook form, in fact: our Cinderella won Best Children’s App in 2011 and our Rounds: Parker Penguin won Best Children’s Digital Book in 2013.
In even more of a turn-up for the books, I was named Inspiring Digital Publishing Person of the Year. I had – really – not considered this a possibility, so my acceptance speech was unprepared to say the least. Frankly, I was also a bit nervous about going on stage with Nigel Roby, since my embarrassing attempt to accept an award we hadn’t won (but were highly commended for) at The Bookseller Awards earlier this year. Stefan Nickel, Marketing and Communications Director of The Frankfurt Book Fair, which sponsors this award, wrote a speech which there wasn’t time to deliver, he said, but which he gave to me on two bits of card torn from the notebook in his hotel. The authenticity of the provenance of this makes me feel almost OK about quoting it in full.
Stafan (would have) said: “We are delighted that Kate Wilson is this year’s winner. Not only is Kate a very inspiring person, but her company, Nosy Crow, is widely recognised for its innovative digital products. It also fits perfectly with the Frankfurt Book Fair: Nosy Crow’s business, like ours, is global – three quarters of its app revenue and two thirds of its print revenue comes from outside the UK. And Nosy Crow’s success story isn’t only about digital: by September 2013, its third year of publishing, it had become the 19th biggest publisher of children’s books in the UK and the 13th biggest publisher of picture books in the UK. What makes Nosy Crow so successful is that it seems to be perfectly mixing its traditional publishing skills with new business skills and products.”
If ever there were a case of an individual winning a prize that really belongs to many people, this is it. I am hugely proud of founding a company and hiring a team that produces remarkable digital products and marketing from our story apps to Stories Aloud and our latest app, Nosy Crow Jigsaws, but I rely, every day, on the technical skills of the team for our success.
I am not 100% clear how this award is awarded, but I know that there’s a public voting component. If you voted for me, thank you very much: this prize means a lot to me, and, more importantly, it’s a tribute to the Nosy Crow team.