ITW Thriller Awards

By Joe Moore

DSC_0373 (Small) It’s Thriller Awards submission time again. ITW announced the winners of the 2009 awards in July during ThrillerFest. Jeffery Deaver won Best Thriller for THE BODIES LEFT BEHIND. Tom Rob Smith took home Best First Novel for CHILD 44. Alexandra Sokoloff grabbed the Best Short Story award for THE EDGE OF SEVENTEEN.

ITW_Award_black_72dpi As previously discussed on this blog, the hard cover and paperback originals were lumped together into Best Thriller for 2009. For the most part, this was based upon the belief that a good book is a good book no matter what the format.

For 2010, things have reverted back to separating the hardbacks from the soft. So the categories are Best Hard Cover original, Best Paperback Original, Best First Novel, and Best Short Story.

ITW has announced the call for submissions. Competition is open to anyone who meets the requirements which include being published by one of the organization’s recognized publishers. You don’t have to be an ITW member to enter. A complete set of rules can be found on the Big Thrill website.

Thrillerfest D3 '09 (Alan Jacobson) (194) [640x480]For a look at the 2009 Thriller Awards Banquet and ThrillerFest conference, visit the ITW photo gallery.

Now that the Thriller Awards are back to separating the hard cover from the soft, do you think there’s a preconceived prejudice between the two? In other words, if a book is published in hard cover, do you think readers consider it to be “better” that one released as a paperback? Or is it true that a good book is a good book?

8 thoughts on “ITW Thriller Awards

  1. Joe, I think for thriller readers a good book is a good book. If they find a new author in pb, and the book is a great read, they aren’t thinking, “I’d like this guy better if he were in hardback.”

  2. The PBO Prejudice, as I call it, is not so much rooted among rank and file readers as it is rooted among fellow authors and the publishing industry. I think it’s baseless and ultimately counterproductive, but it exists, just as a prejudice exists for actors who perform rolls on television vs. feature films vs. the stage.

    I wrote a blog post about PBO Prejudice here on the Killzone a few months ago, but Allison Brennan said it much better a few days ago over on Murderati:

    John Gilstrap

  3. I think there’s definitely a difference in perception. First, most newspapers won’t review paperback originals. Second, most libraries don’t stock paperbacks, though that might be for durability issues. And third, none of the Best Novel nominees was a paperback original, which seems outside the bounds of random chance if PBOs are just as respected as hardcovers.

  4. There’s absolutely a difference in perception-from hardcover to trade paperback, and particularly from trade to mass market, which is why it is nearly impossible to get a mass market paperback reviewed.

    The San Francisco Chronicle doesn’t even consider mass market paperback originals for the bestsellers’ list. I know for a fact that the week a friend of mine made that list with her trade paperback, I outsold her in the Bay Area ten to one.

    Which is why it was so incredibly disheartening last year when the ITW eliminated the PBO category. And as suspected, every nominee for best novel was a hardcover. I’m glad that the category was re-instated- especially since as thriller writers, MMP is how many of us start our careers.

  5. As a reader, my only consideration is the story. After that the price, and I do tend more towards ppbs than hardcovers, especially if I’ve never read the author before. Hardbacked books have gotten ridiculously pricey, and for a four to six hour read, why spend four or five times as much for the same book? I never did get that one.

  6. Thanks for your comments, guys. I, too, believe that all books should be considered equal no matter the format, but they’re not. It’s unfortunate.

  7. “The only difference I see between a hard cover and a paperback is the cost.”

    And weight, don’t forget weight . . . I left a Tom Clancy hardcover in Paris after I had finished it because I really didn’t want to haul it home again.

    The PBOP (for short) is ridiculous. It will be interesting to see how the hardback question plays out in the new economic climate and if the lines will blur as hardback sales continue to fall.

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