New Eligibility Rules

Nominations for the 2011 Cybils open just after the stroke of midnight (Pacific time) as Friday turns into Saturday. Check your list of favorite new books and get ready, everyone.

But — uh oh — we've had some serious changes in our eligibility rules.

Yes, we've gotten so big and la-di-da we can be a bit pickier now. The rules are actually designed to make life easier for our panelists. I get very antsy when I learn they have to shell out their own money or go to great hassle to obtain review copies. I want this to be easy for them, but unfortunately that means a few extra hurdles for everyone else.

New eligibility rules are below the jump. Thanks in advance for your careful reading.

–Anne Levy, Cybils admin.

Books (eBook criteria follow):

To be eligible for a Cybils award, a print book must be:

  1. published in the US or Canada only(*please see note). This avoids outrageous shipping costs and double jeopardy when a UK title is nominated a second time after it comes out in the US;
  2. published between one contest and the next. For this year, that means from Oct. 16, 2010 to Oct. 15, 2011;
  3. widely available for public sale. Titles available only from book clubs or publisher websites are not eligible, for example, as we cannot obtain copies easily.
  4. aimed at the youth market up to age 18. Books marketed to adult readers that may also appeal to teens are not eligible.


Note: This applies only to "born digital" ebooks that have no dead-tree counterpart.

To be eligible for a Cybils award, a born digital ebook must be:

  1. published in both the Kindle and ePub format. It can be published in additional formats (such as PDF), but cannot skip those two;
  2. marketed primarily to Young Adult Fiction and Science Fiction & Fantasy for teen readers. No other genre is accepting born digital titles this year. We'll revisit the idea if all goes well;
  3. put out by a publisher in good standing with the American Booksellers Association (ABA), Children's Book Council (CBC), Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA), or Small Publishers Association of North America (SPAN) or their regional affiliates OR;
  4. (alternate to #3) put out by a publisher who produces more than one title a year.

Book Apps

To be eligible for a Cybils award, a book app must be:

  1. aimed primarily at kids or teens;
  2. geared mainly toward storytelling and/or literacy and not just gaming;
  3. be readable on an iPad or computer.

We know the rules are more complicated. Technology makes for some new issues, but also incredibly exciting opportunities. Also, I may be updating this list as organizers recall other eligibility issues we've discussed, but I think this is pretty comprehensive.

Thank you for joining us this year!

UPDATE: Two fixes. Ebooks can come from a publisher affiliated with a trade group OR publish more than one title a year. The other fix is that apps must be for the iPad only.

*UPDATE 2: Oh, honestly people. Stop birthing so many bovines over the US- and Canada-only thing. It should be obvious that we don't care if the book is out in the rest of the freaking world. So Slovenia and Namibia have it too. Yay. If it's not published on US or Canadian soil, we have trouble getting our hands on it. So it's not eligible. You try prying copies out of British publishers who haven't heard of you, don't know if you're legit and you end up having to buy it on Amazon and pay shipping. Expensive shipping.

So, nuts to books published by them furriners who can't be bothered to furnish a few US or Canadian bookstores with copies. When an edition comes out right here in the good ol' US of A (or north of the border) and/or they make it EASILY available on this side of the pond then we'll be happy to consider it. And only then.

Satisfied? Sheesh.

Comments 12

  1. Charlotte

    I think the rule about US and Canadian publishing actually makes things a lot simpler, so I’m in favor of it! It’s been frustrating seeing the UK books on the list, and wondering about buying them oneself, and it will make determining if books are eligible a lot easier too!

  2. Els Kushner

    I agree with Charlotte. Just to clarify, though: That “*only*” in the bullet point about country publication doesn’t mean a nominated title can’t also be available in other countries, does it? That is, if a book is first published in the past year in the US/Canada *and* simultaneously in the U.K. or elsewhere, it’s still eligible, yes?

  3. Sheila Ruth

    Yes, it’s fine if books are also available elsewhere, but they have to be published in the US and/or Canada during the eligibility period to be eligible.
    Also, I had a question from a UK publisher whose books are also published and distributed in the U.S., and that’s fine. We don’t really care where the publisher is based, as long as the books are published in the U.S. or Canada during the eligibility period.

  4. Claire Hennessy

    Definitely worth clarifying that ‘published in US or Canada only’ rule! Looked at it and thought of a number of books that have been released in the UK very close to their US publication dates and from the phrasing there it made it sound as though they were ineligible! 🙂

  5. Anne

    No, Ann, sorry, it’s only one book per genre. It’s unlikely the entire series came out this year, so pick the one that’s eligible. If all six did indeed come out at once, perhaps you’d like to nominate the first one. Thanks.

  6. Janet Wong

    I was so happy to learn that my fellow poet and friend April Halprin Wayland had nominated my poetry eBook ONCE UPON A TIGER…and so sad to learn that (“born digital”) poetry eBooks are not eligible for consideration!
    It would be great if this rule were changed next year. Poetry is one of the easiest genres to read in eBook format, and especially great for reading on a cell phone while waiting in line at the post office or supermarket (no special e-reader required). Another terrific thing about poetry eBooks is their affordability–which encourages tentative new poetry readers to make an impulse buy and become poetry fans. Poetry “tree-books” usually cost more than $17 because there isn’t enough demand to make paperback versions of most titles, but many poetry eBooks can be bought for less than $5.
    A final reason to reconsider the eligibility rule: new (and even experienced) poets have a much harder time selling a manuscript to a publisher than, say, authors who can write sexy teen novels. Encouraging the growth of indie publishing in this genre is a good cause because it will lead to a greater diversity of voices and subject matter in the 811 section of the library.

  7. Sheila Ruth

    Hi Janet,
    Thank you for your suggestions and your impassioned defense of poetry eBooks. This is the first year that we’ve accepted born digital eBooks for nomination at all, and we limited it to the two teen categories as a test. Based on this year’s results and lessons learned, we’ll decide whether to continue to accept nominations of born digital eBooks, and whether to expand it to other categories.

  8. Janet Wong

    Thanks, Sheila, for your thoughtful reply. Let’s hope that things go smoothly in those two teen categories that are considering born digital eBooks! (Another possibility to consider for next year is to have a category that mixes genres but is limited to born digital eBooks.)

  9. Sheila Ruth

    Hi Janet. We talked about having such a category this year, but decided it would be very difficult to compare such different books within the same category.

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