5 Questions for Tom Bonnick, IPG winner

Bookseller Rising Star

Tom Bonnick is Business Development Manager at Nosy Crow, and winner of the IPG Young Independent Publisher of the Year award at last week’s awards. We wanted to find out more.

1) Nosy Crow are winning all the awards at the moment – what a great time for your team to be rewarded for all your efforts. What do you think the key to all the success is?

A number of things! It’s an incredible company, filled with people who are immensely creative, intelligent and passionate about what they do. I think our small size and independence help: being small means that we’re able to act and make decisions quickly, and being independent not only allows us to experiment with new ideas, but also means that we have to absolutely believe in every book and app that we publish (our founder and managing director is fond of saying that it’s money she could otherwise be spending on cheese and wine). Most importantly, we work with absolutely amazing authors and illustrators to make incredible books.

2) In your IPG speech you mentioned that you’ve ‘grown up’ at Nosy Crow. Did you always want to work in publishing when you ‘grew up’?

Ha! I wouldn’t say “always”, no. Like a lot of people, I probably couldn’t have told you what a publisher was or did for much of my earlier life. I became interested in the possibility of working in publishing during my final year of University, discovered Nosy Crow (through Twitter) when they were very small and new, and gently pestered them until they let me intern. In the end I started working there properly before I’d graduated. As with many such things in life, there was a lot of luck and good timing involved.

3) People associate the Nosy Crow brand with winning apps. Are apps actually still the core of your business, or are you just as successful with print books?

Apps are just as important as ever for us, but they have always been a much smaller part of the business than print. To give you a very rough idea, in 2011 we published 23 books and 3 apps; in 2012, 35 books and 6 apps; in 2013, 51 books and 2 apps; and in 2014, 55 books and 3 apps. I’m always very struck by the fact that, as you say, a lot of people associate Nosy Crow with our apps, and they do account for a disproportionate percentage of our public brand (with good reason – they are brilliant), but we are, predominantly, a print publisher.

4) What has been the most rewarding project you have worked on so far at Nosy Crow?

I’m incredibly proud of the app that we’ll be releasing this Thursday (March 12) – Snow White, our fifth fairytale app. It is truly beautiful (my colleague Ed Bryan, the artist and animator for the app, has done an extraordinary job), and it feels like a version of the story that is at once both modern – it has some brilliantly innovative interactivity – and timeless. At its centre it is entirely about the story, and we have tried to celebrate reading and storytelling as much as we can with this app.

5) What advice would you give to anyone wanting to win the IPG Young Independent Publisher of the Year award next year?

Well, it’s helpful to have a boss who will enter you for it! Other than that, all of my advice is of the terribly cliched variety, I am afraid: don’t be afraid of failure, find things that you enjoy doing, and whenever you have the choice, say yes instead of no.

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