INSP Awards: Presenting the Best Special Edition 2019 Finalists

With a little over one week to go until we’re crowning our INSP Awards 2019 winners, today we’re unveiling the Finalists in one of our new categories for this year – Best Special Edition.

This award will go to the best one-off edition of a street paper – either a special themed edition, or a spin-off publication sold alongside the regular street paper (such as a Christmas book). Judges will consider the entire product: cover, design, concept and the extra income opportunities offered to vendors. You can see the Top 10 nominees here, which we announced in April.

Our shortlisting panel have narrowed down the Nominees to give us Finalists, who now go forward to the main judging panel to select the winner.

Winners are revealed during the INSP Awards Ceremony held as part of the Global Street Paper Summit in Hannover, Germany, on Wednesday 19 June.

We’ve also launched the People’s Cover Award voting, where – for the first time – the public have the chance to choose an INSP Award winner. Cast your vote now!

The Finalists:

1. Iso Numero, Finland

Vendor Special

Iso Numero said: Our first edition in 2019 was a special one. After eight years of publication history, the January edition featured content exclusively related to the vendors of street papers both in Finland and abroad. The idea for this special edition came from combining ideas of Nordic Christmas books and #VendorWeek. Iso Numero is a current affairs magazine with a social twist. Although as an organisation we have grown exponentially in the past few years, the magazine is created by a small editorial team with limited resources. This means that there is a biannual production bottleneck during the winter and summer holiday seasons. In previous years the holiday editions have been on sale for two months. This meant approximately 50% lower sales during the second month, so the editorial team decided to produce the January special edition. Included in the edition are articles that market the magazine as an employment opportunity to new vendors. The special edition turned out to be a success as it sold out. Furthermore, the vendors earned more than 2.5 times as much income compared to the previous January.

2. Nový Prostor, Czech Republic

Crossword Revolution!

Nový Prostor said: The idea for our Crossword special edition came from our vendors, who were asking constantly for more crosswords in the street paper (we currently run one crossword in each issue). So when thinking about a special edition, a Crossword special was number one on the list. Printed in an A5 format, it was one of our greatest successes in 2018. Why? Crosswords are easy and cheap to produce, and you can run it on cheaper newspaper-like paper, in just black and white (with a cover in colour). We were creative to be sure that we delivered to our readers more than just crosswords: we came with an idea to run a series of interviews with our vendors – about their lives, habits, hobbies, ups and downs – and the most interesting answer to the most interesting question was always hidden in the crossword. With a selling price 44 CZK (most of the readers let the vendor have 50 CZK), vendors sold 5,500 copies in six months. It delivered an extra income of 242,000 CZK (€9,000) for vendors and a little extra income for us, too.

3. StreetWise, USA

Festival Guide

StreetWise said: Chicago winters are cold and long, and we only have 100 days of summer to make the best of the city! The Festival Guide is by far our most popular issue and the 2018 edition highlights 112 festivals, street parties, craft fairs, and concert festivals that jam every weekend in the summer. The edition is available to sell in addition to our weekly magazine for the entire summer, allowing vendors to have the option of selling two editions at a time. It has become so popular, that we have started producing a follow-up “Fall Festival Guide” to accompany it in September.

4. The Big Issue Australia, Australia

Fiction Edition

The Big Issue Australia said: Our annual Fiction Edition, now in its 14th year, is Australia’s biggest-selling fiction magazine. In March, we opened submissions for short stories; 500-3000 words with free entry. We received 400-plus stories, which were judged by the editorial team and author Graeme Simsion (The Rosie Project). We chose eight stories, and commissioned five well-known local authors, from diverse backgrounds. It’s worth noting those writers discovered through past open submissions who have gone on to have substantial careers: Miles Franklin winner A.S. Patric; and best-seller Jane Harper. It’s a bumper edition of 64 pages rather than our standard 48. And we commissioned artist Paul Vizzari to illustrate the edition, giving it a beautiful cohesion. The edition is always well-publicised by our marketing team, with extra media attention and online presence. Plus, we ran special launch breakfasts in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane with the authors. The Fiction Edition generated $182,367. Sales were up 11.3% on the previous edition, and vendors continued to sell 2,000 back copies over the following month. Considered a collector’s item, the Fiction Edition helps build sales momentum over following editions, through increased brand awareness. In fact, sales for the quarter increased 1,998 copies per edition on the previous quarter, or $14,000.

5. The Big Issue Japan, Japan

Cooking and Advice: Troubles are the Ultimate Spice

The Big Issue Japan said: Our book Cooking and Advice: Troubles are the Ultimate Spice was released in December 2018 to commemorate our 15th anniversary. Ever since it began in 2005, “Advice from the Homeless” has been a popular column in our magazine. Cooking and Advice is the second collection of columns to be published as a book. The first, released in 2008, sold 10,000 copies, and a paperback edition released by a major publisher sold an additional 5,000. Cooking and Advice features responses from our vendors to readers’ questions about difficulties they are facing, including those related to lifestyle, work, relationships and feelings of inferiority. Each piece of advice is paired with a “problem-solving recipe” from chef and author Nahomi Edamoto. Readers love vendors’ advice, calling it “warm” and “not at all condescending”, helping the homeless vendors be seen in a more positive light. Some readers become fans of a particular vendor’s responses, and they go buy copies purposefully from that vendor. Additionally, media coverage of The Big Issue Japan has also increased, contributing to higher public awareness of our magazine. The book is priced at 1650 yen. Over half the sales from each book go directly to the vendor’s salary – 4.6 times more than one usual copy.


Take a look at the Finalists we’ve already announced for the 2019 INSP Awards, and use the hashtag #INSPAwards on social media to congratulate them!

Vote in the People’s Cover Award now!