Diversity Apparent at the New England Book Show
As the founders of Bookbuilders of Boston decreed in their 1937 mission statement, the organization affords “an excellent opportunity to become informed about new materials and processes ... to become better acquainted with fellow associates in the trade of bookcraft, and finally, to aim toward an improvement in the making and appearance of books.”
This quote was featured in the Letter from the President that was included in the award catalog for this year’s New England Book Show, highlighting the show’s purpose in fulfilling the Bookbuilders’ mission. Celebrating its 49th year, The New England Book Show was held on March 15 at the Fairmont Copley Plaza in downtown Boston.
After attending a second consecutive show, a striking aspect of it became apparent: The diversity in entries and judging criteria has been matched by the diversity of the backgrounds of the entrants, judges, committee members, and other attendees. This year, entrants other than traditional publishers included the Mechanick’s Workbench, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the Town of Groton. Educational (elementary through collegiate) and trade publishers, large and small, abounded again as well.
The judges were asked to consider the attributes of books in nine categories, covers in four categories and multimedia packages. The judges hail from publishers, printers, design houses and one broadcast outlet. Some are in sales, whereas others are in production.
The show committee was co-chaired by designer Kelly Bower; Doug Buitenhuys, from a book manufacturer; and Bill Henry, from a manufacturer and supplier of bookbinding materials.
The event, which drew a crowd of almost 400, is also under the wings of Bookbuilders mainstays as President Victor Curran, Jim and Sandra Rigney, Mike Prestigiacomo, Board member Eileen Ly, and Second Vice-President Carol Heston.
By the evening’s end, the crowd had chosen “The Smaller Majority” (Harvard University Press) as best in show and best design. Voted the best cover or jacket was “86 Years: The Legend of the Boston Red Sox” (Brown House Books). And best manufacturing was credited to “Encyclopedia Prehistorica Dinosaurs” (Candlewick Press).
The award catalog, running about 150 pages, bears another telling quote: “Bookbuilders’ social activities provide forums for meeting peers, sharing information, and learning about new trends and technologies,” borrowed from the association’s current mission statement. Once again, the book show was in keeping with that tradition. For more information on Bookbuilders of Boston, visit www.BBBoston.org.
Chuck Brandstater is a freelance editor, and translator of technical books and other materials.