Tonight saw a celebration of achievements in Publishing and Bookselling at the annual Australian Book Industry Awards, held at the Four Seasons Hotel in Sydney.

Last year, I had a brief look at Australian innovation over the years – lifesaving devices for surfers, Speedo swimwear fondly termed “budgie-smugglers”, improved sheep shears and the Anthrax Vaccine.  Of course these could be viewed as stereo-typical so were counter-balanced by the world’s first feature length film, the heart pacemaker, permanent creases trousers, the black-box flight recorder and night/day contact lenses. And who would have guessed that our headache woes would be long-lived if it were not for the considerable brains of Melbourne pharmacist George Nicholas and experimenter Henry Woolf who’s high-grade aspirin product “Aspro” took the world by storm in 1915?  Where would we have been without the automatic letter-sorting machine first developed by the Australian Postmaster General’s Office in 1930?  Diagnosis of nasty illnesses would be a lot more difficult without the use of Ultrasound Scanners first developed by George Kossoff and David Robinson in 1961 at the ultrasonics institute in the Commonwealth Department of Health, and the world’s first pregnancy using IVF technology in 1973 occurred at Monash University.  The list goes on and on.

This long line of innovation continued tonight at the ABIAs where Ingenta was proud to sponsor the Book Industry Digital Innovation Award tonight, with a wide range of very high standard entries from all sectors of publishing and book-selling. It made the job of the judging panel very difficult indeed. Whilst we extend our congratulations to all of the entries that were short-listed, we offer our most heart-felt congratulations to Bolinda Publishing for its Borrowbox Digital Library Solution, who was announced as tonight's winner.

A special mention also goes out to the legendary publisher, Bob Sessions, who won the much-anticipated and highly acclaimed lifetime achievement award. Many congratulations.

The short-listed finalists for our Book Industry Digital Innovation Award tonight were:

HarperCollins Publishers Australia for: Around the World in 80 Hours – Twitter Fiction Festival.   At the end of November 2012, Twitter hosted a five day Fiction Festival — a virtual storytelling celebration held entirely on Twitter and curated a festival program from a global call for participation.  HarperCollins Australia submitted a proposal for Around the World in 80 Hours; a globe-trotting, media-mixing, collaborative storytelling, told in a series of broadcasts (17) in total over an 80 hour time period.  Twitter accepted the proposal and HarperCollins formed one of twenty-nine entrants globally, and the only Australian contingent.  The audience followed the adventures of Philomena Fogg as she travelled around the world unravelling a family mystery.  The story was delivered using the real-time Twitter updates, mixing the unexpectedness of Theatresports with the global window of live webcams to deliver an innovative and international narrative. The project was a real-time collaboration between HCPA staff and authors, including Greg Barron, author of Rotten Gods, Anna Campbell, author of Seven Nights in a Rogue’s Bed, and romance author Amy Andrews.

Bolinda Publishing for: Borrowbox Digital Library Solution.  Bolinda is an innovative market leader and expert in library and school markets as well as Australia’s leading audiobook publisher.  The initiative was to design the world’s first interoperable eAudiobook solution for Public Libraries and Schools, that enables members of public and school libraries to borrow content for limited periods by way of digital loans both online and through Apps for iOS and Android. The solution is known as BorrowBox.  Once successful they then launched an eBook add-on to make available eAudiobooks and eBooks through one solution which was launched in March 2013.

HarperCollins Publishers Australia for:  Cranium Universe.  Cranium Universe is a multi-media exploration of Reg Mombassa’s creative output that enables readers/viewers to go ‘behind the scenes’ of Reg’s creative process and explore both new and archival work.  The content ranged from lyrics, poetry, paintings, illustrations, music and video interviews. The goal of the project was to give justice to Reg’s enormous creativity across all modalities. Previous publications had only been able to explore text or images, or allow audio exploration through a separate CD.  This product allowed the consumer to jump in and out of these different formats in the single unified product.

National Gallery of Victoria for: Rally: Contemporary Indonesian Art – Jompet Kuswidananto and Eko Nugroho.  The NGV’s first digital publication (available on the iTunes store at:, was published to share scholarship easily, and more widely than ever before, at the click of a button. The NGV felt this project was suited to the medium and wide reach of digital publishing due to the artists’ international following and the nature of the artists’ works.  Digital publishing provided readers with a wealth of background information on the artists’ practice, something a print publication would not have been able to deliver as well as an illustrated ebook.

Cambridge University Press and Cambridge HOTmaths for:  Essential Mathematics for the Australian Curriculum and Cambridge HOTmaths Integrated Programme.   Cambridge HOTmaths is an interactive, online website that includes learning resources for students and their teachers, combined in a sophisticated Learning Management System. It is an innovative learning resource that takes into account the necessities of the classroom environment while catering to students of different learning styles, ability levels, and technological literacy.  The Essential Mathematics and HOTmaths integrated program enables students and teachers to move between the two resources with ease, allowing them to learn and teach in the manner that suits them best.  In the textbooks, icons direct students to related content on HOTmaths, and a guide for teachers offers additional support and suggestions about how to combine the two resources.  On HOTmaths, students can follow the Essential Mathematics digital course that has been carefully mapped to the Essential Mathematics series, and is laid out according the to Chapter and Unit structure of the textbook.  This consistent structure ensures students and teachers are always working on the same ideas and concepts, regardless of the format.