Reading the West Book Awards

2018 Awards Year

For books published January 1, 2018 through December 31, 2018.

The Reading the West Book Awards provide an opportunity to promote authors, increase book sales, expand reach, and create awareness.

Reading the West is a program sponsored by Mountains & Plains Independent Booksellers Association that assists publishers, authors, and booksellers in promoting and building sales for exceptional books and authors in the Mountains & Plains region.

These adult and children’s titles exemplify the best in writing and/or illustrations whose subject matter is set in the region or invokes the spirit of the region: Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming.

The author’s place of residence is immaterial for this award.

2018 Deadlines

Publication date for titles:
Published for the first time January 1, 2018 – December 31, 2018

Nomination period: September 1, 2018 – December 31, 2018
Nomination form: Online form posted in September 2018
Nominations close:
December 31, 2018

Payment deadline:
For publishers, on submission of Nomination Form. Payment must be received before selection committee names/addresses are released for sending out review copies of titles.

Shortlist announcement: April 30, 2019
Winners announcement: May 31, 2019



Winners 1990 through 2016

Click here to download a five-page PDF of the Winners from 1990-2016.
This award was previously known as the Regional Book Awards.


How does the Reading the West Book Awards program work?

• Nominations: Nominations will be made from September 1 through December 31 by booksellers from any MPIBA member store within the region. Publishers, sales reps, and authors may also nominate titles they feel are appropriate candidates for this program.

• Publisher participation for a nominated title: When a book is nominated, the publisher will be notified so they can support the title’s inclusion on the list by supplying MPIBA with the $150 nomination fee to help defray program expenses. MPIBA will gather book images from websites to publish nominated titles on its website. After receipt of the fee, publishers will receive the names and addresses of the Reading the West Book Awards selection committee, in order to send an ARC or finished copy of each nominated title to committee members.

• Selection Process: The Reading the West committee creates a Shortlist of five adult fiction, five adult nonfiction, and five children’s titles. In collaboration with the previous year’s winning authors, they then choose one adult fiction title, one adult nonfiction title, and one children’s title as the Winners. (Having two adult categories is solely at the committee’s discretion.)

Judging criteria

• Spirit of place: Does the author understand our region emotionally as well as geographically? Is the book’s portrayal of the region reliable? Does the book contribute to the reader’s understanding of the region?

• Inspiring: Does the book capture the indefinable quality that inspires MPIBA booksellers to help a title get the attention it deserves?

• Quality: Is the book is of a high artistic quality and/or extremely well-written?

How do publishers participate?

• Get booksellers excited about nominating your titles: Encourage your sales reps to share titles, promotional materials, and ARCs with booksellers that would be outstanding choices for the Reading the West Book Awards program.

• Place your titles into nomination: When a title crosses your desk that you feel would be an outstanding Reading the West Book Awards candidate, go ahead and complete the Reading the West Nomination Form when it is available.

Why should publishers participate?

• Increased book sales: Reading the West title selections are uniquely suited for our region, making them appealing to MPIBA booksellers. With the combination of marketing support and key bookstore participation, titles will be well positioned for enhanced sales throughout the region.

• Publicity and promotions: Publicity for the Shortlist and Winners will include title display on the Reading The West webpage, e-mail announcements to full e-distribution list, announcements to major media outlets including Publishers Weekly and Shelf Awareness, and social media exposure.

The winners will be announced in May, with the winners speaking and receiving an award at the Reading the West Book Awards Luncheon at the Fall Discovery Show (trade show) in October; this allows time for the winning titles to be featured in MPIBA bookstores and on the website throughout the spring and summer. Member stores will receive shelf talkers to distinguish the winning titles.

• The power of collaboration: Access our extensive knowledge of the region, leverage our familiarity of consumer preferences, and collaborate with the independent booksellers who care about bringing attention to your titles.

Posted September 1, 2017
Updated May 31, 2018