I want to take a moment to thank our customers, suppliers, freelancers, business partners, authors, staff, and the many supportive friends of our company.
2020 began with the optimism and excitement of the first full year trading as an independent company while celebrating the 60th anniversary of the David and Charles name. The COVID pandemic has forced a different path, bringing with it the many challenges we have had to overcome. We have been fortunate to weather the storm this year, and I am in no doubt that this is due to the strength and resilience of the people that work for, and alongside, our company.
New Title Success
There is no escaping the dominant narrative, but I want to highlight the many positives. We have published 35 brilliant new books, not far off double our output in 2019, and with great success across the board. We have won industry awards, our books have been well-reviewed, and we have reached readers in markets around the world. Everyone that has worked on our books, our authors, freelancers, and staff, should be very proud of our 2020 list.
Sales and Marketing
The sales and marketing landscape has changed dramatically. Our team has adapted quickly and intelligently, with a relentless approach to seeking out new opportunities. We are incredibly grateful to our distributors, particularly Ingram Two Rivers (US) and GBS (UK). They have maintained our business and have been communicative and collaborative throughout. We have also appreciated the great relationship we have with Dover Publications, whose books we distribute in the UK and the Royal School of Needlework, with whom we partner to offer online learning courses. Years like this amplify the importance of these business relationships.
Behind the Scenes
There has also been so much unseen change this year. Like so many companies, we have adapted to new working practices and I am incredibly proud of how well our team has done this. We did not skip a beat as we moved to home working and adapted to new ways to work and communicate. Behind the scenes, we have improved processes and systems, changed how we manage our royalties, evolved print and shipping partnerships, developed our print-on-demand business, evolved our fulfillment and customer service approach to online learning, and much more. This has not been a year of just getting by, and I am delighted to see how much the company has moved forward.
We made a commitment this year to rewrite our approach to sustainability and equality, diversity and inclusion. We appointed two ‘Guardians’ from the team to be a voice in our decision making and day to day business. This is already bearing fruit in changes to our production decisions, such as paper sourcing, and in how we attract new talent. We will build on this in 2021.
It’s no surprise that we have been reliant on customers that trade online this year, but we are committed to supporting the high street and independent book, art and craft trade as this business begins to return to normal. We were pleased to be advocates of the timely launch of Bookshop.org.
Finally, we are incredibly grateful to the readers who have sought out our books during this year of so much change. The enthusiasm, feedback and passion for our books and authors that we see through customer service feedback and social media is a constant source of inspiration for us.
This will be a disrupted Christmas, but I hope you are able to enjoy the festive season as much as possible. I am optimistic about 2021 for many reasons, not least as we look forward to a return to more normal times. We are not sending corporate cards or anything like that, but are making a donation to our charity partner, the WONDER Foundation.
Merry Christmas, and all best wishes for the New Year.