Hosted by the Book Industry Guild of New York (BIGNY), the New York Book Show is an annual event that offers publishing and printing professionals an opportunity to mingle while honoring the best examples of quality book design and production from the previous year.
The show’s aim is to showcase the best books as judged by a panel of industry professionals. Judges evaluate manufacturing, production, and design qualities of entries in six main and a myriad of subcategories. The winners are selected from hundreds of entries sent in by publishers and suppliers from around the country. The books that are submitted for judging are donated to programs that help promote literacy following the show.
Our first book show was held in the fall of 1985, at the now-defunct 200 Club in the Toy Building, and has been relocated to several different locations since: Café St. Barts in 2004, the Manhattan Center in 2007, and Hudson Terrace in 2014. The show was moved to our current venue, Battery Gardens in Battery Park, in 2016.
Judging takes place several months prior to the show and was originally held at the Leigh Press offices. Due to an unprecedented number of entries in 1997, judging was hosted at several different locations when Lehigh Press, Lindenmeyr, Quebecor, and R.R. Donnelley all generously allowed us use of their sales offices. Going forward, judging was held at the 200 Club itself. After its closing in 2004, Random House offered the use of their offices and conference rooms for book show judging and scores of the Guild’s other meetings until 2015. Due to the swelling number of submissions, judging has relocated to various other spaces over the years including Quad Graphics’s sales office and the conference rooms at DK Books and Simon & Schuster. This year, judging will take place at Oxford University Press.
Over time, the judging process has becoming more formal. There are now five judges per category, each coming from a different aspect of the industry. We have also increased and changed the number of categories judged to reflect ongoing changes and trends in our industry. Categories now include business books, young adult novels, and graphic novels, amongst other newer and growing areas in book publishing. In 2016, we introduced a new category for self-published books to recognize the work being done by self-published authors.
The show’s catalog debuted in 1988, first in black and white then switching to full color in 1999. Notably, the 1999 catalog won its printer, Worzalla, an award in the Gallery of Superb Printing. This was also the first year we printed a poster advertising the show, a tradition that we’ve carried on every year since. With an eye toward the future of printing technology, the catalog was printed digitally for the first time in the show’s history in 2014.
That show was also the origin of our now-familiar logo. In 1990, Jessica A. Kirchoff designed the logo for the show featuring the New York skyline rising from an open book. It was later refreshed and updated by Jacquelynne Hudson in 2010.
In 2019, the Book Show is being co-chaired by Edson Atwood and Lauren Lapinski.