(San Diego, CA – May 5, 2023) – At a gala dinner ceremony on May 5 in San Diego, CA, the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) celebrated 168 Gold and Silver award-winning titles in its prestigious 35th Annual IBPA Benjamin Franklin Award™ program. The awards ceremony sponsored by Ingram Content Group took place at IBPA’s annual conference—the IBPA Publishing University—which also celebrated the association’s 40th anniversary.
For the second consecutive year, CamCat Books emerged as the biggest winner of the night – taking home four golds and three silvers. CamCat stepped on stage to receive the Benjamin Franklin gold awards for Jester by Brielle D. Porter (Teen: Fiction 13-18 Years), Death Warrant by Bryan Johnson (Best New Voice: Fiction), Heroes Ever Die by J.A. Crawford (Fiction: Mystery & Thriller), and The Girl in the Corn by Jason Offutt (Fiction: Horror).
The Answers Are There from Blue Chair Press won four awards — the Bill Fisher Award for Best First Book (Nonfiction) for author Libby Hoffman in addition to three silver awards in the categories of Body, Mind & Spirit; Cover Design Small Format, Nonfiction; and Multicultural. The book shares stories of transformation in Sierra Leone—where the culture of community was nearly destroyed by civil war—achieved through a tradition called Fambul Tok or “family talk.”
Page Two Books’ Write a Must Read won two silvers in addition to its gold in the Business and Career category. The book by author AJ Harper promises to teach readers how to “craft a book that changes lives—including your own.”
“We are delighted to see such diversity in this year’s slate of winners…we saw a range of publisher types, authors and subject matter represented,” said IBPA COO Terry Nathan who has managed the award program since 1992. This year’s winning publishers include traditional indie presses such as Brown Books; hybrid presses such as She Writes Press and Wonderwell; universities like John Hopkins University Press and North Dakota State University Press; and non-profits including The White House Historical Association, and the Lakota Language Consortium.
“It is also very exciting to see first-time publishers such as Bunny Books, and self-published authors like Carol Walker, Esther Siegel and Spencer Brewer winning awards alongside well-known indie publishers,” said Nathan. “A great book demonstrates excellence in content and production value, and it deserves recognition, regardless of who publishes it.”
Other gold-winning titles in the awards’ 56 categories include: A Girl’s Guide to Military Service, Elva Resa (Teen Nonfiction 13-18 years), Detroit Steel Artists, Beaver Pond Press (Coffee Table Book), Voices of Navajo Mothers and Daughters, Soulstice Publishing (Multicultural), My Cat Hates Me, Brown Books (Graphic Novel), A Practical Reference for Transgender and Gender-Nonconforming Adults, Bainbridge Books (LGBTQ+), and Dispatches from the Cowgirl, W. Brand Publishing (Memoir).
IBPA received close to 1,800 entries in this year’s program, below the previous year’s record-breaking 1,900 entries but nonetheless making this the second highest number of entries received since the award program began more than 35 years ago.
About the IBPA Benjamin Franklin Award ProgramThe IBPA Benjamin Franklin Awards, which include 56 categories recognizing excellence in book editorial and design, are regarded as one of the highest national honors for independent publishers. The awards are unique in that the verbatim judging forms are returned to all participating publishers, providing entrants with direct feedback on each submission.
The awards are administered by the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA), with help from over 170 volunteer book publishing professionals including librarians, bookstore owners, reviewers, designers, publicity managers, and editors.
When the IBPA Benjamin Franklin Award program launched in 1985, it had two goals: (1) to celebrate excellence in independent publishing and (2) to foster that excellence by sharing a written critique from each judge with the submitting publisher.
Both goals continue today, and each of the nearly 1,800 entrants will receive a written critique from three individual judges—meaning more than 5,000 written critiques will be shared. These critiques include constructive feedback to help each publisher transparently understand how the book was perceived by each judge.
IBPA is incredibly grateful to the volunteer judges—librarians, booksellers, design and editorial experts—who brought their decades of book industry knowledge and experience to this year’s program.
The 36th annual IBPA Benjamin Franklin Award™ program’s call for entries for books with a copyright date of 2023 will open in June 2023. For additional information, please contact IBPA Chief Operations Office Terry Nathan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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