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The Publisher's guide to the Southern Book Prize
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The Southern Book PrizeEach 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 Southern Book Prize was created to recognize great books of southern
origin. For a book to be eligible, it must be set in the South, or the author must be Southern (preferably both) and it must have been published within the previous calendar year. Books must be in print and available to order via normal channels. As with the Okra Picks, SIBA offers marketing support for Southern Book Prize titles.

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. Publishers are encouraged to promote books for nomination, either by encouraging booksellers to nominate titles, or calling for nominations on their book’s behalf. Since the Southern Book Prize focuses on titles from the previous calendar year, it is a good opportunity to generate extra momentum for your southern-oriented titles that are newly out in paperback.

Click here for the online nomination form

Marketing Support from SIBA

Each stage of the book award process receives extensive coverage in SIBA's conumser-targeted newsletter, Lady Banks' Commonplace Book. The "long list" of nominated titles are featured until the finalists are chosen, and the finalists receive coverage up until the winners are announced.

SIBA Book Award finalists & winners are highlighted on the Southern Indie Bestseller list when they appear, in the ARTS calendar of bookseller events, and the winners featured in the SIBA Holiday Catalog.

SIBA Bookstores receive downloadable materials for in-store displays, and SIBA holds a Book Award Display Contest at the SIBA Discovery Show, featuring all the winners. Bookstore with the winning display receives $1000, ensuring high-quality participation.

An online version of the catalog is made available to all of SIBA's booksellers.

The Book Award Calendar:

February 14 - Nominations close for the current year.
April 1 - Finalists are chosen
July 4 - Winners are announced

FAQs about the SIBA Book Award

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 SIBA Book Award finalists and winners?
The Current and Archived SIBA Book Awards


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