Big Changes at the 19th New York Book Show
The Bookbinders' Guild of New York held its 19th annual New York Book Show gala on March 8 in New York City. The Book Show was once again timed to coincide with the BookTech Conference and Expo held at the Hilton New York, and, for the second consecutive year, shared the day with a raging snowstorm.
This year's show was held at Café St. Barts, the guild's new home, where the group moved last spring following 20 years at the 200 Club. The St. Barts venue offered an immediately apparent change from the past: Because of the smaller size of the facility, a large (and fortunately heated) tent was set up on the outside terrace to house the event. The award-winning books, covers and jackets were displayed indoors in St. Barts' Great Hall.
With balloons and flowers adorning the tent and the Great Hall, the view from the entrance was breathtaking. The books themselves were arranged on tables, with the winning jackets and covers mounted on boards around three sides of the room. A pianist tickled the ivories in the corner, adding to the celebratory mood commemorating many of the year's best books.
Winners from more than 1,200 entries were selected from five major categories—General Trade, Special Trade (which includes gift books, cookbooks and the like), School Publishing, Scholarly and Reference, and Children's Books. In addition, winners and merit award winners were chosen by a panel of judges in several subcategories. The panel includes editors, production personnel, designers and manufacturers, with a different group reviewing each category.
First Year for Electronic Submissions
Judging was held just before Thanksgiving 2004. Submissions were accepted electronically for the first time through the Guild's newly redesigned Web site (www.BookbindersGuild.org). Plans for 2005 call for a cleaner entry form on the site, and all entries will be requested electronically. Submissions for the 20th Annual Book Show are due in November.
Many committees are involved in putting together the New York Book Show, making it the largest group within the Bookbinders' Guild of New York. Aside from submissions and judging, other committees under the Book Show umbrella are catalog, graphics, fund raising/PR, and the event committee, which this year had the added task of setting up the show in a new venue for the first time in its 19-year history.
In the end, despite the onslaught of winter, the annual celebration of the book was a warm and wonderful affair. As the more than 600 attendees can attest, there is still a craft to making a good book, and it was clearly in evidence on March 8. Work has already begun on the 20th Annual Book Show, which is tentatively scheduled for March 21, 2006.
Steve Bedney is a New York-based sales rep for Ecological Fibers. He is also the current Ex Officio of the Bookbinders' Guild, as well as the Guild's program committee co-chair, education committee co-chair, and staff photographer.