Friday, November 19, 2010

So Just How Meaningful Are These Things?

The National Book Awards were announced very recently. I don't know. Yesterday? The day before? Blog of a Bookslut linked to a NBA page with a video of the ceremony.

I haven't watched the ceremony, but I did get kind of blown away by the Stats list on this page. I was aware that only publishers nominated books, that they had to pay a fee to do so, and that they had to agree to pay $1,000 toward a promotional campaign if the book they nominated made the short list. Under those circumstances, I assumed that publishers didn't nominate everything on their lists by a long shot. I'm also assuming publishers try to guess what kinds of books usually win and then try to nominate something similar from their list. I'm not being critical when I say that, by the way. We can't any of us throw money away.

What totally stunned me, though, was how few books are nominated for these awards. We've been told that around a million books were published last year. Of those, 1,115 were submitted for consideration over four categories? Even when you consider that a lot of crap is published every year, some of it by traditional publishers, that is still a very, very small portion of the whole to be considered worthy of consideration.

I know that my thoughts are easily provoked, but, come on...Last year the publishing industry only published that many books that publishers, themselves, felt were award worthy? Does anyone else find that odd? Are these awards really given for the best of a year's publishing or for the best of the few hundred books the judges are able to consider?

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