BookBrowse General Information Pages

About Our Awards & Top 20 Books

About the Awards
BookBrowse's annual Best of the Year awards are an excellent barometer of great reading. The awards are particularly noteworthy for two reasons. Firstly, because voting is only open to BookBrowse subscribers - so, unlike other popular awards, there is no vote stuffing by rabid fan bases. Secondly, instead of just voting for a book (which favors the most widely read books) subscribers rate each book they've read that is on the shortlist, and the winners are the books with the highest overall rating. Each year we pick the Top 20 Books; and from these we pick our four Award Winners, which are the highest rated books in each of our four awards categories: Best Fiction, Best Nonfiction, Best Young Adult Book and Best Debut.


How are the books selected for the short list?
Books published between November of the previous year and October of the current year are eligible for entry. An initial shortlist is selected by BookBrowse's professional reviewers who recommend the books that they feel are most memorable from the year.


Can subscribers nominate books not on the short list?
Yes, there is a field on the voting form that allows subscribers to nominate additional titles. If the book has been published in the time frame that makes it eligible for entry and 2-3 people nominate it in the first hour, we will add it to the list so that it can be rated by all. Adding a title to the list within the first hour does not put the book at a disadvantage because the key factor in our awards is the average overall rating each book receives, so the total number of votes is relatively unimportant, so long as the book achieves the minimum number of votes to be eligible.


Do subscribers rate every book on the list?
No, they only rate the books they have read.


How are the winners determined?
Each of the short-listed books is rated on a 5-point scale. The winners are the books with the highest ratio of points to votes in the particular category, so long as the particular title receives the minimum number of votes to qualify.

For example, Book A receives:
  • 180 'Very Good' votes (very good = 2 points => 180 x 2 = 360)
  • 160 'Good' votes (good = 1 point => 160 x 1 = 160)
  • 50 'Average' votes (average votes carry zero points but do count towards the minimum number of votes needed to be eligible)
  • 21 'Poor' (poor = -1 point => 21 x -1 = -42)
  • 2 'Awful' (awful = -2 points => 2 x -2 = -4)
  • Total Votes = 573. Total Points = 634. Ratio = 1.15

Why not just count votes like everyone else?
BookBrowse's awards are different because subscribers rate the books they have read, instead of simply casting a vote.

The reason for the rating system is to achieve a balance between popularity and quality; so that a book does not win simply because it has been read by more people.

When a committee of judges votes on an award, all the judges will have read all the shortlisted books, so that they can make an informed decision about which deserves to win. However, most people voting in 'popular' book awards have not read all the books on the list, so they are only in a position to cast a vote for the books they have read (and might be tempted to do so even if they've only read one book on the list and even if they did not consider it particularly exceptional).

Obviously, this sort of voting favors the most widely read books, which are not necessarily the 'best' books.


How many votes are cast?
Over 8000 votes have been cast in recent years.


Don't the books at the top of the list get an advantage because people might not take so much care with their voting further down the list?
No, because the display order is randomized each time the list is viewed.


How do I vote?
Only BookBrowse subscribers are eligible to vote. A voting link is sent directly to subscribers by email. If you wish to be part of the voting process in the future, make sure that you're on our mailing list either as a subscriber to our free newsletter or as a member.


Why is voting limited to subscribers only?
Because it significantly limits the opportunities for "vote stuffing". For example, where one person enters multiple times with different email addresses, or groups of people enter for the sole purpose of voting for one particular book.

Most consumer awards allow, even actively encourage, those connected with the short listed products/books to contact others to get them to take part in the voting, because this drives up interest in the awards and the business that is sponsoring the awards. However, for obvious reasons, this behavior significantly skews the results.

The BookBrowse Awards voting process is designed to award books based on their inherent quality, not on the size of someone's mailing list!


What about new people subscribing in order to vote?
The request to vote is only sent to the existing subscriber base, it is not announced on the website at all. For votes to be eligible, the email address entered on the voting form has to match one on our mailing list at the time the voting was announced.


I need more information
Contact us

Join BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten.

Find out more

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Mystery of Mrs. Christie
    The Mystery of Mrs. Christie
    by Marie Benedict
    The Mystery of Mrs. Christie by Marie Benedict, notable author of previous historical fiction such ...
  • Book Jacket: To Be a Man
    To Be a Man
    by Nicole Krauss
    While, as its title hints, To Be a Man by Nicole Krauss is concerned with masculinity, it renders a ...
  • Book Jacket: The Office of Historical Corrections
    The Office of Historical Corrections
    by Danielle Evans
    In The Office of Historical Corrections, the second story collection from Danielle Evans, readers ...
  • Book Jacket
    The Dutch House
    by Ann Patchett

    The Dutch House is my introduction to Ann Patchett, which, after reading it, surprises me. I had ...


Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    At the Edge of the Haight
    by Katherine Seligman

    Winner of the 2019 PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction.

    Reader Reviews
  • Book Jacket

    The Fortunate Ones
    by Ed Tarkington

    An engrossing story of class, love, and loyalty for fans of Kevin Wilson's Nothing to See Here.

    Reader Reviews
Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
The Moment of Lift
by Melinda Gates
How can we summon a moment of lift for women? Because when you lift up women, you lift up humanity.
Who Said...

If you want to build a ship, don't drum up people... but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the...

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

T M T C, T M T Stay T S

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.