Books and Ebooks and Apps, Oh My!

Opening day for Cybils 2011 is fast approaching and you know what that means — yet more changes to the contest. We thought we'd just be tweaking around the margins at this point in our six-year history. But that's an eon in the digital age, and we've had to pivot quickly to avoid becoming the Jurassic Awards.

This year is no different. We've been keeping an eye on ebooks for some time, but this was the year the market seemed to hit critical mass. I got a Nook for Hanukkah and I swear I've woken up with a Nook-imprint on my cheek some mornings. I feel like I'm eight again, sneaking books under the bed covers.

I'm not alone in my ebook obsession: Amazon announced in May that titles for its Kindle now outsell paperbacks. They began outselling hardbacks in 2010. At Cybils, we've always been happy to accept review copies in ebook format, but never had any takers. This year, we expect that to change.

Our Young Adult and Fantasy/Science Fiction panelists will also be accepting books that are ONLY out in ebook, and that have no dead-tree counterpart. It's an experiment, and we'll see if we're drowned in drek or if some lovely stuff floats to the surface. All other genres will accept electronic review copies only if the title is also out in print.

We're also happy to announce we'll be accepting nominations for some book apps. We're still discussing exactly what format that will take, but it seems likely it will be exclusively for the iPad and probably also computer- and Web-apps. More on this later, as we nail down exactly what we want.

So some new changes, but it's still the same Cybils underneath. Our criteria for excellence hasn't changed: books, ebooks and apps must have both literary merit and be "kid friendly."

Happy end of summer,

–Anne Levy, Cybils Administrator