Each year, hundreds of booksellers across the South vote on their favorite "handsell" books of the year. These are the "southern" books they have most enjoyed selling to customers; the ones that they couldn't stop talking about.
The SIBA Book Award, now The Southern Book Prize, was created to recognize great books of southern origin. All the finalists and winning books are promoted to the media, included in the SIBA-produced holiday gift catalog, and featured on SIBA’s web sites.
All nominations must come via a SIBA bookseller—
making the Southern Book Prize a true “readers’ choice” award and one of the most well-known awards for Southern literature. For a book to be eligible, it must be set in the South and/or the author must be Southern (preferably both!). It must have been published within the previous calendar year.
This is a great opportunity to involve your customers in choosing nominees and generating excitement for titles you are especially passionate about. Host an in-store award before sending the collected nominations to SIBA!
New for 2017: The Conroy Legacy Award! | Display Contest | FAQs & Calendar | Store Ideas | Logos & Badges | Downloads
The Conroy Legacy Award
The Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA) announces the creation of a “Lifetime Achievement” category for their annual book award program, The Southern Book Prize (formerly known as The SIBA Book Award). The new category, the Conroy Legacy Award, honors the example of beloved author Pat Conroy and recognizes writers who have achieved a lasting impact on their literary community. Recipients will have shown the following attributes:
- Support for independent bookstores, both in their own communities and in general.
- Writing that focuses significantly on their own home place.
- Demonstrates support of other writers, especially new and emerging authors.
The Conroy Legacy Award is given to one writer in SIBA territory per year. A juried panel of SIBA member booksellers representing all of SIBA's states will choose among nominated writers to determine the year’s winner.
Although it is not necessary for a nominated writer to have a new book out in the award year, nominated writers must be living, and must have books in print. Nominations must come from SIBA member bookstores. The Legacy Award provides an opportunity for its member stores to recognize writers who have been important in their community.
Both a donation to the Pat Conroy Literary Center and a donation to a literary entity close to the heart of the writer will be made in the name of the Legacy Award recipient.
$1000 Southern Book Prize Display Contest
Every year SIBA hosts a display contest at the SIBA Discovery Show. Stores can pack up their best displays and bring them to the show. We’ll recreate them on the show floor and show attendees vote on the best display. The winning store receives a $1000 cash prize. Participate and earn 5 B3! points. See photos of past display contest entries
FAQs about the Southern Book Prize
What books can be nominated?
A book must be set in the South, or the author must be Southern, or both, and it must have been published in the previous calendar year. Books must also be in print and generally available to the industry at standard wholesale terms.
Are self published books eligible? If they meet the above criteria.
Who can nominate a book?
Anyone can nominate, but all nominations must be associated with a SIBA member bookstore. That means you can get your customers involved, and ask them to nominate their favorite books on your behalf, and create displays of the books that your customers think were the best of the year.
How do I nominate a book?
Click here for the online nomination form
How are winners selected?
After the nomination period for the year closes on Valentine's Day, SIBA produces "The Long List" -- a ballot of every nominated eligible title. During the month of March, SIBA member booksellers vote for 3 books in each category. Every bookseller whose store is a current member of SIBA can vote. Votes are tallied by SIBA and "The Short List" of finalists is then sent out to a group of judges (also SIBA booksellers) for each category in April. Judges read the books in their categories and come to a juried decision to pick the winner. Winners are announced on July 4, "Independents Day."
Where can I see a list of Southern Book Prize finalists and winners?
The Current and Archived Southern Book Prizes
Using the Southern Book Prizes in your store
One of the goals of the Southern Book Prize is to extend the shelf life, and therefore the sales, of booksellers' favorite "handsell" titles. Every step of the book award process is an opportunity to bring renewed interest to favorite titles from the previous year that are often being released in paperback. From nomination to the final announcement of the winners, stores have six months to highlight their most popular Southern books:
- Get customers involved in the nomination process. Nominations can be submitted by anyone, and all nominations have to say which SIBA bookstore they work for or shop at. Stores receive points for every nomination made on their behalf.
- Use The Long List. Check stock on favorite hand sell titles and check the titles that have been favorites for other stores. Create your own sub categories from the ballot for displays and reading list suggestions. There are 100-150 titles on The Long List in any given year. Use the list to highlight the diversity of Southern literature.
- Promote The Short List. Usually 15-20 different titles, The Short List of Finalists is a natural tool to use with book clubs, class rooms, and backlist promotions. Use the downloadable bookmarks and shelf talkers (see below) to create "staff picks" displays of Book Award finalists or create endcap displays in different sections.
- Celebrate the Winners. A natural for window displays and high-visibility areas. Get creative, and then be sure to take pictures and to pack up your display and bring it to the SIBA Discovery Show. It could win your store $1000! These books are also great for creating authorless events.
Logos and badges:
Book Award Downloads: