The Reading the West Book Awards honor the best fiction, non-fiction, and illustrated books for adults and children set in one of the twelve MPIBA member states, or created by an author or artist living or working in the region. The awards celebrate the spirit of the west and the rich variety of writing in and about our region and reflect the extraordinary diversity of our reading public.


  • Adult Fiction
  • Adult Narrative Non-Fiction
  • Adult Photography, Art, Illustrated Non-fiction
  • Young Adult (for ages 13+)
  • Young Readers (for ages 7 – 12)
  • Picture Book
  • Eating the West: Regional Cookbook/Culinary Writing
  • Reading the West Advocacy Award
    • Given to an outstanding book that promotes equity and inclusivity and addresses themes of social, economic and/or environmental justice. Submissions from all genres of fiction and non-fiction including kids and teen books are encouraged to apply.



  • Titles originally published: January 1, 2019 – December 31, 2019
  • Books written by authors who live or work in the MPIBA region (Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Wyoming), AND/OR
  • Are set in our region, AND/OR
  • Invoke the spirit of the West.



  • Nomination Period: October 1, 2019 – January 15, 2020
  • Long-list Announced: February 5, 2020
  • Short-list Announced: April 15, 2020
  • Public Voting: April 20 – May 17, 2020
  • Winners Announced: May 20, 2020
  • Regional Bookstore Display Contest: April 15 – June 30, 2020



  • Accepted via on-line form, October 1, 2019 – January 15, 2020
  • MPIBA member booksellers may suggest titles for consideration.
  • MPIBA member publishers, sales reps, authors, and industry professionals may submit nominations.
  • Nomination fee is $150 per title.
    • Publishers and authors must pay when submitting a title for consideration (invoice due upon receipt).
    • Other nominations will be accepted when approved and paid for by a publisher or the nominator.
  • Publisher or nominator must commit to providing reading copies for the appropriate award selection committee members (up to 15 copies depending on the category).
  • Nominated titles must be available to booksellers via mainstream distribution channels.



  • A long-list is created from all nominated titles.
  • Reading the West Book Award reading committees, made up of regional booksellers, will read the nominated titles (long-list) to create a shortlist of five titles per award category.
  • The shortlists will be announced in April, and voting will begin with promotion to bookstores and booksellers and the reading public.
  • Category winners are determined by bookseller and public voting.



  • 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? Do the story, characters and/or subject matter speak to the diversity of readers in our 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 of a high artistic quality and/or extremely well-written?



  • Long-list titles promoted on new public facing website – readingthewest.com – with links in e-newsletters and social media.
  • Long-list titles read by regional booksellers to create shortlist.
  • National media release for shortlist announcement.
  • E-newsletter and extensive social media outreach for shortlist announcement and opening of public voting.
  • National media release for announcement of winners.
  • E-newsletter and extensive social media outreach for announcement of winners.
  • Region-wide bookstore display contest for the shortlist and winning titles.
  • Downloadable fliers, bookmarks, shelf-talkers, and signage provided to MPIBA member bookstores for promoting the Reading the West program and titles.
  • Digital assets for e-newsletters, websites, and social media provided to MPIBA members for promoting the program and titles.
  • Winning titles promoted in Fall 2020 Holiday Gift Guide Catalog.