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Old 08-12-2019, 09:26 AM
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Do E-Books win major awards?


I'm talking about books that are only e-books. Do they win any book awards, like the Newbery, the Caldecott, the Pulitzer, the Hugo etc. in the main categories and not some special "E-Book" niche?
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Old 08-12-2019, 12:33 PM
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Usually, any book that's good enough to be winning awards will get published in a dead-tree edition, even if it started out as exclusively electronic.

And I don't know if the other awards have rules for it, but with the Hugos, if they think that a work deserves recognition, they'll find some way to twist the existing categories enough to make it fit into one of them.
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Old 08-12-2019, 02:57 PM
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My wife has been a judge for some competitions which allow e-books only, and self published books. (You pay to have your book submitted.) But I wouldn't call it a major award. I'm sure there are others.

Czarcasm, do you mean traditionally published e-book only books or self-published e-book only books?
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Old 08-12-2019, 03:02 PM
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Czarcasm, do you mean traditionally published e-book only books or self-published e-book only books?
Either one.
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Old 08-12-2019, 03:10 PM
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At least as of a couple of years ago, the Edgar awards for mysteries lumped ebooks into the same category as paperbacks (i.e., there was a Best Novel category, and there was a Best Original Paperback category, which also included ebooks). However, at that time the publishers had to print a copy of the ebook to send to the judges. And might I say that some of them did a terrible job of printing their ebook, such that it was pretty much unreadable (I'm thinking of one that had a quote mark wherever a space should have been). I think the International Thriller Writers has an ebook only category. It hasn't in the past, but I believe it does now.
I would consider the Edgar a major award even though you only get a plastic Edgar Allen Poe and not a nice lamp.
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Old 08-13-2019, 12:48 PM
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At least as of a couple of years ago, the Edgar awards for mysteries lumped ebooks into the same category as paperbacks (i.e., there was a Best Novel category, and there was a Best Original Paperback category, which also included ebooks).
I, for one, am baffled that book awards would be separated out based on the kind of binding they were published with. If a book is later re-published with the other sort of binding, does it become eligible for the other category?
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Old 08-13-2019, 12:51 PM
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I, for one, am baffled that book awards would be separated out based on the kind of binding they were published with. If a book is later re-published with the other sort of binding, does it become eligible for the other category?
Isn't it kind of like the Oscars (et al) distinguishing between theatrical releases, TV movies, and straight-to-video releases?
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Old 08-13-2019, 01:11 PM
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A major award, like a leg lamp?

Last edited by peedin; 08-13-2019 at 01:15 PM.
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Old 08-13-2019, 01:16 PM
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Old 08-13-2019, 01:26 PM
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I would consider the Edgar a major award even though you only get a plastic Edgar Allen Poe and not a nice lamp.
Yeah, the Edgar is a major literary award, with a lot of celebrated authors throughout the history. When I was a crime fiction editor, it was a china head, although they may have downgraded since then.

I also remember the year that Lawrence Block was nominated and lost. One of the men at our table said “Larry, it’s only a $25 head.” And Missus Block (an artist, jewelry designer, and noted beauty) said “And later tonight, yer going to get some $100 head.”
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Old 08-13-2019, 01:32 PM
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It's trivially easy to publish an ebook as a paperback, so I doubt any author who was good enough to get a "major award" would refrain from expending the relatively tiny effort on making sure their book was available in paperpback.
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Old 08-13-2019, 01:40 PM
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I, for one, am baffled that book awards would be separated out based on the kind of binding they were published with. If a book is later re-published with the other sort of binding, does it become eligible for the other category?
Me, too.

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Isn't it kind of like the Oscars (et al) distinguishing between theatrical releases, TV movies, and straight-to-video releases?
The experience of watching a live production is very different from that of watching a recording. The difference between the big screen and "home theater" is a lot less than it used to be, with larger TV screens, smaller movie screens, and more comparable budgets for the two media, but it's still different, and people create different types of content for the two.

The experience of reading a hardcover book, a paperback, and the same story on an e-reader is very similar. I'm surprised to here there are different categories for paperbacks and hardcovers. I suppose historically publishers would have picked different kinds of books for the two bindings. And I suppose for picture books and graphic novels, it's different. (e-readers suck). But for "best novel" or "best mystery" or "best sci fi short story" I am shocked to learn anyone cares about the binding.
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Old 08-13-2019, 02:07 PM
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I, for one, am baffled that book awards would be separated out based on the kind of binding they were published with. If a book is later re-published with the other sort of binding, does it become eligible for the other category?
A paperback original is a book that is first published in paperback. They don't usually go from PBO to hardback.
A great many books are published originally in hardback, then paperback rights are sold. These paperbacks are not eligible for the Edgar paperback original award.
Up to a certain point, the Edgars allowed self-published books to enter, and a couple even got nominated and I think one won. But when I was involved in it, the book had to meet certain qualifications, i.e., some publishers' books would not be considered. There was a lot of discussion about this, but it is just cruel to make the judges read a whole slew of self-published books (or, frankly, even a whole slew of books from certain other publishers who actually do qualify). Yes there is occasionally a good one. But it's the exception. Trust me on this. And I'm not naming names, but PM me if you want to know who the bad publishers are (as in, if my agent considered selling to one of them I would fire that agent, better to not be published at all).
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Old 08-13-2019, 02:09 PM
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So.... basically you are saying that the awards rely on publishers to screen the field down to something they can manage. And it's not really about the form of the binding (or lack thereof) but about what books mainstream publishers choose to release in which format.
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Old 08-13-2019, 02:13 PM
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But for "best novel" or "best mystery" or "best sci fi short story" I am shocked to learn anyone cares about the binding.
In science fiction, the format doesn't matter. For last year's Hugo Awards, 14 of the 15 nominees in the short story category were from online sources. Novels have never differentiated source, though they are usually hardcovers. The Philip K. Dick Award is for paperback originals.

The main reasons why ebooks don't get nominated is that the voters don't know most of them exist.
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Old 08-13-2019, 02:25 PM
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While I can understand that most books wouldn't go from paperback to hardcover, we're not talking about most books, here. If a really good book happens to be originally paperback, it'll likely be republished, and some of those republishings might be hardcover. And the really good books are the ones that win awards.

For comparison, the first authorized American edition of The Hobbit was paperback, and I think the unauthorized American edition was, too. But I have a really nice leatherbound copy.
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Old 08-13-2019, 03:02 PM
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All right, but if it was originally released in PB, and then went hard, as far as the Edgars are concerned if the hardcover and PB are released in the same year, it would go into the Best Novel category, because HC. If the PB was released one year, it would go into the Best Paperback Original category. If it was released in HC the next year, it wouldn't be eligible, because they're only considered in the year they're first released in the US. And I think the Best First Novel has to be a US writer.

So every year some are DQ'd because they get put in the wrong category. Like, there was a really good one that would have been shortlisted for Best First, except the author had published previous novels that were not mysteries, under another name, so--not eligible. Another one that an author had self-published, that got picked up by a big publisher, but the self-pubbed version was considered published in a previous year, so--not eligible.

Note that I only really know about mystery novels. Sci-fi etc. I'm not that involved in, although I do read it on occasion.

So if it's a mystery, and it's a really good book, it still has to be nominated for the year it was originally published, in whatever format it was originally published. If it's re-released the next year or five years down the road in a different format, it's not eligible.

Now my finest hour as a mystery novelist was when I was on the paperback best-seller list between Janet Evanovich and Michael Connelly. But mine was a PBO and theirs were originally HC, republished in mass-market paperback. So I could have been shortlisted for PBO, although I wasn't, but most of the rest of the people on that particular list were PB reprints and would not have been eligible for the Best PBO Edgar.

(Arguably, my real finest hour was when Sue Grafton wrote me a blurb for my next book, without my ever having finished that book. I guess it's too late even though I still have what she wrote. I couldn't seem to finish that book, or any other, possibly because I felt they weren't worthy of a Sue Grafton blurb, although in fact she would write blurbs for anybody, apparently.)

Last edited by Hilarity N. Suze; 08-13-2019 at 03:06 PM.
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Old 08-13-2019, 03:18 PM
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I didn't know that you were an author. OK, yes, that would certainly make you a definitive source for how things are done with the Edgar. One might still question why they do it, but...
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Old 08-13-2019, 03:31 PM
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I, for one, am baffled that book awards would be separated out based on the kind of binding they were published with. If a book is later re-published with the other sort of binding, does it become eligible for the other category?
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Originally Posted by Thudlow Boink View Post
Isn't it kind of like the Oscars (et al) distinguishing between theatrical releases, TV movies, and straight-to-video releases?
I read somewhere (here, maybe) that all movies that Netflix makes are shown in a single theater (and maybe only one showing) just to get around Academy Award rules that state that your movie must be shown in theaters to be eligible.

It seems the same may work for other awards. If your book is E-book only, you could probably get a few versions printed just to make yourself eligible. But, like the Netflix thing, you have to remember why those rules aren't getting changed...so the big studios (or publishers) don't have to compete with them. I can understand why the studios want it this way, but I'd hope the people judging these things (books and movies) understand that in order to keep making better and better content, they have to keep up with how it's being distributed.
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Old 08-13-2019, 04:52 PM
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I read somewhere (here, maybe) that all movies that Netflix makes are shown in a single theater (and maybe only one showing) just to get around Academy Award rules that state that your movie must be shown in theaters to be eligible.

It seems the same may work for other awards. If your book is E-book only, you could probably get a few versions printed just to make yourself eligible. But, like the Netflix thing, you have to remember why those rules aren't getting changed...so the big studios (or publishers) don't have to compete with them. I can understand why the studios want it this way, but I'd hope the people judging these things (books and movies) understand that in order to keep making better and better content, they have to keep up with how it's being distributed.
A movie does have to be shown in 1 theater for an Oscar and the theater has to be in Los Angeles County.
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Old 08-13-2019, 06:59 PM
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I didn't know that you were an author. OK, yes, that would certainly make you a definitive source for how things are done with the Edgar. One might still question why they do it, but...
And I have been an Edgar judge. And let me tell you, reading over 500 books in a year (but actually less than a year, and a lot of books show pretty early that they aren't worthy), and giving each one a fair shake, can give you an unusual insight into the business.
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Old 08-13-2019, 09:53 PM
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Wait, 500 books in a year? Did you have to finish them all, or were you allowed to give up as soon as it became clear that it wasn't award-worthy?

That's a full-time job, and then some.

It'd make a lot more sense to have a multi-tiered process, with the earlier tiers being open to a large set of people who don't have to read all of them, and then narrowing it down to, say, 10 finalists for the official judges.
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