The Bookseller has acquired The British Book Awards, also known as the Nibbies, from the estate of Publishing News founder and editor Fred Newman. The deal means that in 2017 The Bookseller will run a unified book awards event for the first time since 2004, when the British Book Awards split into separate trade and book awards.
The British Book Industry Awards will now be known as The British Book Awards (or the Nibbies) with the 2017 ceremony to be expanded to include additional book awards: Crime & Thriller titles are to have their own category, while Non-Fiction will be split into Narrative and Lifestyle. The awards will be presented at a gala reception on 8th May at Grosvenor House Hotel, with the trade awards including the coveted Publisher of the Year and Book Retailer of the Year.
The British Book Awards were launched in 1990 by Newman, with Faber the first winner of Publisher of the Year. The Bookseller launched its awards, The Bookseller Retail Awards, in 2005. Following Newman’s death in 2008, The Bookseller created The Bookseller Industry Awards by merging the Retail Awards and the trade categories spun out of The British Book Awards. The last British Book Awards took place in 2009. In 2016 The Bookseller Industry Awards became The British Book Industry Awards, including, for the first time, four new book categories along with a host of trade-specific gongs.
Chief executive of The Bookseller Nigel Roby said: “I am delighted to have brought the industry awards and The British Book Awards together under the Nibbies name. For publishers, bookshops and authors to be able to celebrate their successes under one unified awards scheme has been a long-standing aim of both The Bookseller and the book trade itself. We can now look forward to honouring the best of 2016’s publishing work and output at the awards ceremony on 8th May.”
Fred Newman’s son, Mark Newman, said: “Even though The British Book Awards were last presented in 2009, the Nibbies and its associated nib-shaped trophy remain a much-loved and missed event in the book publishing and retail calendar. Founded in 1990 by my father as the proprietor and editor of Publishing News, we are delighted to announce that a new home for the Nibbies has been found with The Bookseller, which is well positioned to continue his legacy to the publishing industry.”
How to apply
Submissions for The British Book Awards 2017 are now open, with a deadline of 10th February 2017. The full list of categories can be found online.
The chair of the judges for the trade categories is Philip Jones, editor of The Bookseller, and chair of the Books of the Year strand is Cathy Rentzenbrink, The Bookseller’s contributing editor. There are also individual chairs for each book category: Children’s (Fiona Noble), Début Fiction (Matt Bates), Fiction (Alice O’Keeffe), Crime & Thriller (Joe Knox), and Non-Fiction Lifestyle (Caroline Sanderson) and Narrative (Rentzenbrink).
Of the expanded books categories, Rentzenbrink said: “There are, of course, endless possible ways to categorise books, as anyone who has ever worked in a bookshop knows, but this seems a good and sensible way to allow the judges more room to highlight and reward the excellent publishing we have seen in 2016.”