Greetings from Book Club Babble! We wanted to both congratulate this year’s winners of the IBPA Benjamin Franklin Awards and keep our readers updated on next week’s ceremony. We have asked Christopher Locke, Executive Assistant & Member Liaison for the Independent Book Publishers Association to tell us more. Christopher, thank you for joining us today, can you give us an update on next week’s ceremony?
In February of this year, the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) was proud to announce the finalists for the IBPA Benjamin Franklin Awards. Normally, that announcement would have been followed in April with a grand gala event, which includes a dinner and ceremony with the finalists as the guests of honor, and the big announcement of the gold winners. Unfortunately, due to health concerns related to COVID-19 (and a mandatory “stay at home” order in California), IBPA had to cancel the gala and the conference at which it’s held, IBPA Publishing University.
All of us at IBPA were disappointed about the cancellation, not only because it’s a fun event but because we know how much passion and work went into creating these magnificent books. The books—and the publishers and authors and designers!—deserve to be celebrated. With that in mind, we knew that cancelling the gala altogether was not an option, so we came up with an idea that adjusts to the new normal: the “Shelter-In-Place” IBPA Benjamin Franklin Award Ceremony!
On May 5-8 from 4-6pm PT each day, IBPA will host online watch parties during which we will announce gold winners in more than 50 categories. The event is free and open to everyone (click here to register). It’s a great way to check out the best in indie books (you can add the titles to your to-read list) and a fantastic way to cheer on all these hard-working independent publishers. Fun prizes will also be given out to a few lucky attendees each night, including a complimentary 1-year IBPA membership, but you have to attend to win.
This is the first time in the 35-year history of the awards program that IBPA will conduct the awards ceremony virtually, and it’s slated to be an event just as fun and entertaining as the in-person program—fitting of the books that are finalists in all 55 categories, ranging from “Animal & Pet” to “LGBTQ” to “Fiction: Mystery & Thriller” and much more.
The mission of the IBPA Benjamin Franklin Award program is to recognize the excellence and innovation in independent publishing, and if you take a look through the finalists in each category you’ll note how the books showcase the great depth of diversity in independent publishing. One of IBPA’s core values is inclusivity, which reflects allegiance to a publishing industry where everyone can tell their story and find themselves in the content they read. The IBPA Benjamin Franklin Awards is a testament to this core value.
Those who can’t attend the online events live, can still watch and share the acceptance speeches. After each live event, the acceptance speech videos will post on the IBPA Benjamin Franklin Award YouTube Channel. The videos will go live at 6:30 PM PT each night. We encourage people to share the videos with everyone they know, so the entire community can celebrate the 32nd annual IBPA Benjamin Franklin Award winners!
The coronavirus crisis is having a substantial effect on millions of people’s lives, including those in the independent publishing industry. IBPA hopes you’ll attend the event to cheer on indie publishers and then share their amazing work. It’s sure to be an inspiring and invigorating evening, and we can all use a smile right now!
Maribel Garcia: Christopher, thank you so much for this information!