New Prize: Independent Booksellers Choice Awards
From Shelf-Awareness accessed 3/5/11
In announcing the debut of the 2011 Independent Booksellers Choice awards, sponsor Melville House Publishing noted that the prize was created because "indie booksellers know books best. They are the people who guide readers past the flavor-of-the-moment titles to the hidden gems. No Amazon algorithm recommendation or Oprah book club pick can compete with your local bookseller when he or she says, 'You might not have heard of it, but this book is going to blow your mind.' "
To celebrate this partnership between indie booksellers and indie publishers, booksellers will vote for their favorite indie press books published in 2010, regardless of category. Five winners of the grand prize--featured displays in participating stores--will be named during the Book Expo America convention in May.
"It’s the ultimate shelf-talker," said Melville House publisher Dennis Johnson. "Rather than give a prize to an author or a publisher or a translator, we wanted to do something that really boosted the eco-system we live in. With any luck, we can get some deserving titles to sell a few more copies, which is good for the store, good for the publisher, and good for the authors and translators. It lets all of us not only keep doing what we do, but thrive."
"It’s a terrific idea," added Elaine Petrocelli, whose Book Passage bookstores in the San Francisco Bay area will be participating. She is pleased her entire staff "will have the pleasure of nominating books we love and giving recognition to great books from independent presses."
Other bookstores on board for the project include the Elliott Bay Book Company, Seattle, Wash.; Skylight Books, Los Angeles, Calif.; and St. Mark’s Bookshop, New York City. Only staff members of independent stores will be eligible to vote, though anyone is welcome to follow discussion about the nominees on the project’s website, booksellerschoiceaward.com. Ideas for a better name for the prize are being sought as well, since "Independent Booksellers Choice Award doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue."
Voting began 3/1/11. A longlist of 25 titles will be announced on April 1, followed by the shortlist a month later.