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Director’s Desk: Making the IBPA Benjamin Franklin Awards™ Even Better

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by Angela Bole, CEO, Independent Book Publishers Association

Angela Bole

In this month’s Director’s Desk I want to update you on some changes we’ve made in the IBPA Benjamin Franklin Awards™ program.

As most of you know, the IBPA Benjamin Franklin Awards™ were launched 26 years ago and represent one of the highest honors in independent publishing. Each year, nearly 1,300 books are entered in the awards program, and the fact that entrants can choose to apply in nearly 55 categories makes it extremely comprehensive as well as prestigious.

The Call for Entries for the 27th annual program opened on July 9, 2014, and books for consideration have already begun to fill the IBPA office. This is a favorite time of year for all IBPA staff; it is truly inspiring to see our members’ good work up close and personal.

The basic structure of the annual IBPA Benjamin Franklin Awards™ program remains the same. As always, each entry will be judged by three industry professionals. After the three scores are averaged to find an overall score, the entries with the highest overall scores in each category will be chosen as honorees in that category. Typically, each category has three or four honorees; one will become a Gold Award Winner while the others become Silver Award winners.

To conclude the process, the Gold Award winner and the Silver Award winners in each category are announced during an annual awards ceremony. The Gold Award winner receives a crystal trophy and both Gold and Silver Award winners receive stickers that they can use on their books and otherwise to help their awards help them.

A New Date and Place for the Ceremony

The major change for the 27th annual awards program involves the date and location of the awards ceremony. For the past several years, that ceremony has been held in May in conjunction with BookExpo America in New York City. In 2015, the ceremony will be held on April 10 in conjunction with the IBPA Publishing University, which will take place next year in Austin, Texas.

The move should be beneficial to both Gold and Silver Award winners for several reasons:

  • All honorees will be able to attend the IBPA Publishing University at a substantially discounted price to strengthen their publishing programs even further through continuing education.
  • Gold and Silver Award winners will no longer be announced during the high-traffic media window in and around BEA and its recent offshoot, BookCon, so opportunities for media coverage will be more robust.
  • Gold and Silver Award winners will have six weeks from the time of the announcement to prepare related marketing materials for promoting their award-winning titles during BEA and BookCon. This may be helpful in securing meetings and generating interest in author signings.

An Earlier Registration Deadline

To accommodate the earlier awards ceremony, the Call for Entries registration deadline has been moved from December 31 to December 15, 2014. Following registration, all books must be received in the IBPA office no later than December 19, 2014. Because the program involves so many moving pieces, we must keep the deadlines as tight as possible. Please call the IBPA office if extenuating circumstances make it impossible for you to meet these deadlines, so we can discuss what alternatives might be possible.

Any book with a copyright date of 2014 is eligible for the 27th annual IBPA Benjamin Franklin Awards™. Books with a copyright date of 2013 won’t be considered, and books with a copyright date of 2015 will be held for consideration in next year’s competition.

Best of Luck to All the Entrants

The Gold and Silver Award winners chosen during the IBPA Benjamin Franklin Awards™ program now in progress will join an impressive list of quality books that have made an impact on the business of publishing. All of us at IBPA wish each entrant the best of luck.

For more information about the IBPA Benjamin Franklin Awards™ visit ibpabenjaminfranklinawards.com.

Just before Angela Bole became IBPA’s Executive Director, she was Deputy Executive Director of the Book Industry Study Group, Inc. (BISG), which fosters conversation and consensus across all sectors of the book business. Before that, Angela served for two years as BISG’s Associate Director and two years as its Marketing and Communications Manager. Angela also serves as Treasurer on the Board of Directors of IDPF, the International Digital Publishing Forum.

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