The Book Shows Go On: Everything you need to know about book production and design awards and shows in 2013
Is there some law of rightness we can apply to books by which we can judge whether they are good or superior in design and production? As I see it , successful bookmaking requires two main kinds of goodness. First, the book must do its practical duty well-that is, be legible, logical and convenient to read. Second, its form should be pleasing and appropriate to the subject treated. That is, it must say what it has to say in a way which pleases us by its physical presence
—AMANDA WICKS FREYMANN
New England Book Show, 1957-87, A Retrospective
The six major annual book design shows listed below continue to anchor our industry in its traditions of craft, even though painfully unadorned ebooks and cluttered multimedia platforms proceed apace, charting their own course. Whatever the wide range of book show presenting criteria, as shown in the survey that follows, ultimately the purpose of book design is to enhance the readability and message of the book itself.
Print will survive and thrive in those areas where it continues to fulfill that purpose. Where digital media prevail, irrepressible design aspirations will soon follow.
While some shows are beginning to provide digital edition categories (mostly fixed format and multi-media), print editions continue to be foundational platforms for book design and organization — at least for the time being. Leading edge designers are exploring ways to bring design criteria into the reflowable formats.
In this piece I have surveyed book industry sponsored events only—and hence have omitted the designer, advertising and art director’s world of competition originated outside the book industry. As a consequence, I have not included the grand-daddy of book design awards, The American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) “50 Books/50 Covers of the Year” show first started in 1924 (www.aiga.org/about-50-50). This competition itself is undergoing a transition as the AIGA has transferred its hosting to a new partner.
Whatever the future case, in the present there are half a dozen major annual book shows that celebrate book production and design in all of its glory, and reward with recognition not only the publishers, but the designers, production managers, pre-press houses, manufacturers and materials providers who provide their substance. They devote their careers to enhancing the reading experience and supporting the authors, illustrators, photographers and editors who tell our stories and document our society.
Each of these shows establishes categories for review and display, set criteria for entries, select judges, and hold an awards ceremony and exhibition at the time. Four issue a print catalog. Two issue a program listing only (IBPA and PAW). One, the AAUP, also organizes an annual September-May tour of its exhibit to university presses around the country. All require entry fees and have entry eligibility requirements.
Here are overviews of the distinguishing characteristics and backgrounds of each of the shows:
New York Book Show
27th Annual. April 9, 2013, Hudson Terrace, 621 W. 46th St.
Book Industry Guild of New York – (BIGNY) (www.bookindustryguildofny.org)
Criteria: Four criteria categories have been established to recognize the intended use of the book as well as the demands, constraints, challenges, and opportunities that exist” in each category: Books, Books in a Series, Cover/Jacket, and Cover/Jacket Series. All book entries will be judged on interior and exterior and component quality. Detailed design, production and manufacturing standards are provided.
Categories: Five judging categories, with 30 further subcategories: Children’s Trade (9) General Trade (8); School Publishing (El-Hi and College), Scholarly and Professional (3), Special Trade (7)
Judges: Submissions were received on a tight four-day schedule at the New York Random House offices, and 25 judges met for the fifth day for the judging. Judges are chosen for the most part from production directors, with a lesser number from among design directors.
Entries: About 750 entries. Entries must have been published between January 1, 2012, and December 31, 2012. Entries date for next year’s show will be announced this summer.
Awards: About 100 winners. Best in Show: The Jedi Path, Chronicle Books, by Daniel Wallace. Designer: Rosanna Brockley, Senior Designer, becker&mayer! Belleview, WA.
Prime movers: Show Co-Chairs: John Sinclair of Thomson-Shore and Michele Rothfarb of Courier Industries; Lora Friedenthal with Oxford U Press; Evan Johnston with New York Review of Books; Janet Behning, Princeton Architectural Press; Erika Schwartz at Hachette, and Steve Bedney at Ecological Fibres.
From Steve Bedny “The committee continues to grow, and everyone works hard to make it a special evening. Some of this year's winners are truly spectacular. Some very tough choices for the judges back in November. We had 25 judges. They were originally asked to be available for judging the first Friday in November; however, in the post-Sandy world we had to delay three weeks, and almost all of them were flexible enough to come on the new date after Thanksgiving (which is also the reason the show itself was pushed back three weeks...to give everyone a chance to catch their breaths after the storm, and to start again)”
Background: The recently renamed Book Industry Guild of NY (BIGNY) is the oldest of the book production and design groups. Started in 1925, the membership originally consisted of a charter group of 35 craftsmen from the many binderies in and around New York City. This event “honors, celebrates, and encourages excellence in book design, production, and manufacturing.”
New England Book Show
56th Annual. May 7,2013 Boston Symphony Hall
Bookbuilders of Boston (BBB) (www.bbboston.org)
Criteria: Entries are accepted from any publisher, supplier engaged in designing, producing, or manufacturing books, artist who has produced a book as an art object, or student who has produced a book for a class. The only criterion is that the entrant be in one of the New England states: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, or Vermont. Entries need not have been produced exclusively in New England. Jury members will consider design, composition, paper, printing, and binding.
Categories: Print Books (College, El-Hi, Juvenile, General Trade, Professional and Reference Illustrated); Pictorial Print; e-Books; Multimedia Products; Covers/Jackets; Publishers’ Sales Catalogs
Jurors: Nine jurors took six hours. The judging took place at Emerson College. The mix of judges: editors, designers, production managers, owners of small imprints, authors and professors.
Entries: More than 300. Entries must have been published or produced between September 1, 2011, and December 31, 2012.
Awards: About 50 winners announced. Best of Categories: Illustrated Trade: Litchfield / The Making of a New England Town. Rachel Carley, Litchfield Historical Society. Non-illustrated trade: Imaginary Logic/Poems, Rodney Jones, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Awards include 4 e-books and 5 multimedia books.
Prime movers: Chair of the show: Michele Brennan, Bridgeport National Bindery: “Books entered into the show were over 300. Ten years ago it would have been more like 500. Things have changed. In the last two years membership and interest has increased due to our outreach to schools to play the role of designing the catalog, with plans to keep these students as honorary members for one year.” Brennan is particularly proud about student engagement as book show catalog designers. “their professors are the Art Directors, and the catalog becomes part of the students curriculum . Heather Shaw was the Art Director last year. She is a professor at Curry College. Her book was printed at Freisens. The year before the students of Framingham State College designed the book and the professor was Stephanie Grey. And this year it is with the Art Institute at Lesley College with professor George Restrepo as Art Director.” SG360 in Chicago is printing the catalog and Kase Printing of Hudson NH will be binding the book.
Background: “Bookbuilders of Boston, founded in 1937, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing together people involved in book publishing and manufacturing. Its members represent all facets of the book-making industry including editorial, design, production, manufacturing, and marketing. Bookbuilders of Boston offers a forum for the exchange of information, technology, and industry trends.” The New England Book Show recognizes the year's most outstanding work by New England publishers, printers and graphic designers. Winning books are selected for their design, quality of materials, and workmanship.
BBB maintains a scholarship fund for local colleges offering publishing-related programs. It sponsors the W.A. Dwiggins award for the most outstanding contribution to book building in New England. Awarded this year to Jack Foley, for 40 years senior designer at WGBH.
Ben Franklin Awards
May 29, 2013 Marriott Marquis Hotel, New York, NY
Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) (www.ibpa-online.org)
Criteria: Titles that enter the Benjamin Franklin Awards are judged for their overall editorial and design excellence. Open to IBPA members. Non members can enter for a fee that includes one year Membership.
Categories: There are 55 categories including: 41 genre and subject categories and 14 categories embracing cover and interior designs, best new voice, and Bill Fisher awards for best first book.
Judging: 165 professionals from around the industry (reviewers, librarians, publishers, designers, etc.).
Entries: Both last year and this year about 1,300 entries. To assist judges and ensure they have enough time to review each book, there are separate calls for entries in September and December.
Awards: Two silver award winners and one gold award winner will be awarded in each category.
“The awards both honor the best in the trade and assist the independent publisher in becoming better at his/her chosen profession. The judging forms are returned to the participants after the winners are announced so that they can determine where their specific title is excelling and where it can use a little help. The judges are also encouraged to make comments on the forms to assist the publisher in further developing his/her line of titles. This is the only award that allows participants to obtain comments on how to become better at the art and craft of book publishing”
The Benjamin Franklin Digital Awards honor achievement in electronic book publishing by individuals and organizations of all sizes, including publishers, developers, designers, manufacturers, institutions, and technology leaders. The awards are administered with the help of more than 50 book publishing professionals representing all segments of the book industry.
Prime movers: Staff members Terry Nathan, COO, Lisa Krebs, Assistant Director, staff member Patti Grasso and intern Carly Cunha. According to Terry Nathan, “This is a very labor intensive program, but well worth it because every single participant receives direct feedback about their book”
Background: “The Benjamin Franklin Awards were developed in 1985 by the Independent Book Publishers Association (then known as PMA or Publishers Marketing Association) to honor individuals who have helped the industry of independent publishing become visible to the trade. Two years later, the award was expanded to recognize those publishers who produced excellent titles throughout the previous year. Achievement Awards for Excellence within the independent publishing community include: Workman Publishing, Hungry Minds Publishing (formerly IDG Books), Ian & Betty Ballantine; John Huenefeld; Jonathan Kirsch; Dan Poynter; Jan Nathan; Joe Bruchac; Judith Applebaum; Tom Drewes; Charlie Winton; Richard Bye; Jim Levitt and more.”
IBPA’s annual Publishing University attracts 250 to 500 attendees each year. This year’s Pub University will be at Palmer House, Chicago, April 26-27. IBPA’s Affiliate Scholarship Program awards one scholarship to each affiliate, each year to attend the annual event.
AAUP Book Show
48th annual. June 20-22, Seaport Hotel, Boston.
Association of American University Presses (www.aaupnet.org)
Criteria: Member presses may submit any number of books, covers, and jackets published in the current calendar year and journals published at least twice during 2012. Books may have been manufactured anywhere in the world, but imports or co publications from another publisher are not eligible. Judging is based on excellence in design and manufacture, with attention to challenges posed by the materials used and to creative design solutions
Categories: Scholarly Typographic, Scholarly Illustrated, Trade Typographic,Trade Illustrated, Poetry & Literature, Reference, Jackets & Covers -
Jurors: Mark Abrams, Designer, Vintage Books,; Alex Camlin, Creative Director, Da Capo Press; Barbara deWilde, award-winning book jacket designer; Charlotte Strick, Art Director, Faber and Faber and Farrar, Strauss, and Giroux. They met for two days of judging at the AAUP New York offices in New York City and will appear on a panel at he annual meeting in Boston.
Entries: Approximately 273 books, 331 jackets and covers, and 4 journals.
Awards: 51 books and 44 jackets/covers were chosen by the jurors. Among the last year’s awards Duke University won six and the U of Chicago won two of the 9 citations for scholarly typographic works.
Traveling Exhibits: A unique feature of the AAUP show is that each year some 30 or more presses host campus shows of the exhibit from September through May.
Prime movers: Chair of the committee, Lindsay Starr, designer at the University of Texas Press. Heavy lifting on staff by Kim Miller, AAUP marketing and membership coordinator. Printing and binding contributed by Thomson-Shore.
Background: (From AAUP) -The Association of American University Presses was officially established in 1937. As early as the 1920s, with the total number of university presses in America numbering about two dozen, press representatives regularly met for dinner following the annual gatherings of the National Association of Book Publishers.” Over the following decades, growth remained the pattern.... Looking ahead, the future of AAUP will continue . . . to assist our more than 130 member presses through professional education, cooperative services, and public advocacy.” The first book show was in 1965. As one of the two jurors, former Linotype Corporation promotion director: Paul Bennett said, it was intended to find books that could “spur the imagination of editors and prod creative and designing minds.”
PubWest Design Awards
Nov. 7-9 in Santa Fe, NM, at the LaFonda Hotel.
Last date for entries to be received: April 12, 2013
Criteria: Entries are open to all publishers in North America, along with the designers, typographers, and printers supporting them. Books must have been published or produced between January 1, 2012, and December 31, 2012. Entries will be judged on format, layout, typography, jacket, materials, and production quality
Categories: There are 20 print categories: including trade, children’s, academic, graphic albums (graphic novels), genre non-fiction, jackets and covers; and 3 e-book categories: standard, enhanced and apps.
Judging: “A diverse panel of interdisciplinary judges will review each submission. Judges will be selected from industry professionals with book design and production expertise.” Judges are presented with uniform criteria for evaluating each category and provide a numerical rating based on the perspective of the judge’s individual discipline. Apps and eBooks will be judged on a variety of devices including iPad, Nook, and Kindle eReaders.
Entries: 166 entries were received for the last 2012 show.
Awards: Approximately 70 awards are announced. “A pool of finalist entries for each of the categories will be determined, from which three levels of awards may be chosen (Gold, Silver, and Bronze). Winning entries may be displayed at regional and national trade shows and other events throughout the year by PubWest. The award winners will be acknowledged at the 2013 PubWest conference November 7 -9, 2013.” last year’s Judges' Choice Awards was awarded to photo-journalist Dan Eldon’s Safari is a Way of Life, published by Chronicle Books.
Prime movers: Kent Watson does all of the "heavy lifting" along with help from local PubWest member Doug Pfeiffer of Graphic Arts Books in Portland who chairs the PubWest Book Design Awards. Also Julie Tripp of the Boon and Crockett Club in Montana. Associate Members provide the design work for the marketing materials. The 2013 materials were put together by Arizona designer Rudy Ramos.
Background: “Our association is a trade organization established in 1977 as the Rocky Mountain Book Publishers Association, a professional group to serve the needs of its members and as a forum for the discussion of publishing issues. Our membership ranges from small independent presses to publishing companies with worldwide operations. Our associate members include printers, designers, binderies, and publishing freelancers. Membership is based primarily in the western United States and Canada.” Currently there are 120 publisher members and about 100 associate members. The first book show was held in 1985.
PPN Book Show (formerly Bookbuilders West)
42nd annual 2012 show held Jan. 30, 2013 at Chronicle Books. 43d annual 2013 show dates in 2014 to be announced. Publishing Professionals Network (www.pubpronetwork.org)
Criteria: Entries may be submitted by any publisher or supplier to the book publishing industry engaged in designing, manufacturing, or publishing books in any of the Western States: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, or Wyoming. Entries need not be manufactured exclusively in the Western states, nor is membership in Publishing Professionals Network required. Judging is based on standards set for design, production and manufacturing.
Categories:¨Nine categories: Trade, Image Driven; Trade, Text Driven, Children’s Trade, Professional Trade, Special Trade, Reference and Scholarly, School Publishing (including higher education), Product Catalog, and Green Publishing.
Judging: The nine judges met at the Chronicle Books offices in San Francisco. Seven are designer or art directors “It seems the print industry is being ‘interrupted ‘by new technologies and perhaps a change in reading habits. . . I am grateful to close the computer or the pad device screen at the end of the day and read something in depth on actual paper. The book Show was a joy with the great diversity of entrants and it was wonderful seeing old friends and making new.” Duncan McCollum, Spectrum Print Group
Awards: 37 books and 14 jackets and covers. Getty Publications and Oro Editions claimed all of the seven awards in the Trade, Image Driven category, with Judges Choice also going to Oro’s HKU Architectural Papers. Three of five awards in Trade, text Driven went to the University of California Press, with one each to Heyday and the University of Nevada Press,
Prime movers: Co-chairs are Michele Bisson Savoy of Qualibre and Tona Pearce Myers, Production Director of New World Library / H J Kramer. Tona Myers also produces the show catalog and will be heading up the show next year. Edwards Brothers/Malloy contributed the printing of the catalog
Background: “Publishing Professionals Network, or PPN was founded as Bookbuilders West in 1969. It was rechartered as PPN in 2012 to reflect the changing nature of long-form content publishing and embrace all the partnerships that exist within our industry.”
This year’s Distinguished Service Award went to Andrea Helmbolt, Design Project manager at Zendesk. Each year, PPN awards one or more scholarships to students enrolled in a college, university, or technical school in the Western States on the basis of book and cover design projects.
Bill Ralph of Edwards Brothers/Malloy, one of the early founders and presidents of Bookbuilders West (when he was in charge of manufacturing at Wadsworth), and now on the PPN board, writes that PPN “is going strong with aggressive plans for the coming year including our 43rd book show next January. I'm very pleased that there is a new generation of folks that are eager to step up and to continue the legacy.”
The “new generation of folks,” that Bill Ralph mentioned are bringing continued vitality to the production of books and the book shows. I’ve attended many over the years and have never tired of rediscovering the myriad ways in which designers and book producers can reinvent ways of presenting a book so that it says what it has to say “in a way which pleases us by its physical presence.”
Beyond that classical goal, I look at cover and jacket designs today, and interior illustrated book layouts and marvel at the stunning artistry now being applied by today’s designers. That energy will take the book into a lively graphic future, whatever the medium. And when I review he array of artisans, artists , editorial, production and service provider people across the country enthusiastically producing, using and evaluating books, as illustrated by this book show survey, I am reminded of how integral to our way of life the book has become and how assured its future will be in whatever the medium.
- Ben Franklin
Eugene G. Schwartz is editor at large for ForeWord Reviews, an industry observer and an occasional columnist for Book Business magazine. In an earlier career, he was in the printing business and held production management positions at Random House, Prentice-Hall/Goodyear and CRM Books/Psychology Today. A former PMA (IBPA) board member, he has headed his own publishing consultancy, Consortium House. He is also Co-Founder of Worthy Shorts Inc., a development stage online private press and publication service for professionals as well as an online back office publication service for publishers and associations. He is on the Publishing Business Conference and Expo Advisory Board.