There's something interesting about how awards interact with the world of retail. See, for example, this morning's CILIP Carnegie & Greenaway Medal longlists.
More on this below, but also - all 40 longlisted books, with Amazon Smile links.
1. The Tale of Angelino Brown by David Almond – illustrated by Alex T. Smith (Walker Books)
2. The Hypnotist by Laurence Anholt (Penguin Random House)
3. Overheard in a Tower Block by Joseph Coelho – illustrated by Kate Milner (Otter-Barry Books)
4. Wed Wabbit by Lissa Evans (David Fickling Books)
5. The Island at the End of Everything by Kiran Millwood Hargrave (Chicken House)
6. The Song from Somewhere Else by A.F. Harrold – illustrated by Levi Pinfold (Bloomsbury)
7. After the Fire by Will Hill (Usborne)
8. Welcome to Nowhere by Elizabeth Laird (Macmillan)
9. Out of Heart by Irfan Master (Bonnier Zaffre)
10. A Berlin Love Song by Sarah Matthias (Troika Books)
11. Where the World Ends by Geraldine McCaughrean (Usborne)
12. Rook by Anthony McGowan (Barrington Stoke)
13. Release by Patrick Ness (Walker Books)
14. The Call by Peadar O'Guilin (David Fickling Books)
15. Black Light Express by Philip Reeve (Oxford University Press)
16. The Explorer by Katherine Rundell – illustrated by Hannah Horn (Bloomsbury)
17. Saint Death by Marcus Sedgwick (Hachette)
18. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (Walker Books)
19. Encounters by Jason Wallace (Andersen Press)
20. Beyond the Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk (Penguin Random House)
2018 CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal longlist:
1. Wild Animals of the South written and illustrated by Dieter Braun (Flying Eye Books)
2. King of the Sky by Nicola Davies – illustrated by Laura Carlin (Walker Books)
4. Night Shift written and illustrated by Debi Gliori (Bonnier Zaffre)
5. The Bad Bunnies' Magic Show written and illustrated by Mini Grey (Simon & Schuster)
6. A First Book of Animals by Nicola Davies – illustrated by Petr Horácek (Walker Books)
9. We Found a Hat written and illustrated by Jon Klassen (Walker Books)
12. The Liszts written by Kyo Maclear – illustrated by Júlia Sardà (Andersen Press)
13. The Pavee and the Buffer Girl written by Siobhan Dowd – illustrated by Emma Shoard (Barrington Stoke)
14. Penguin Problems written by Jory John – illustrated by Lane Smith (Walker Books)
15. Town is by the Sea by Joanne Schwartz – illustrated by Sydney Smith (Walker Books)
16. Thornhill written and illustrated by Pam Smy (David Fickling Books)
18. Storm Whale written by Sarah Brennan – illustrated by Jane Tanner (Old Barn Books)
19. Under the Same Sky written and illustrated by Britta Teckentrup (Little Tiger Press)
20. The Secret of Black Rock written and illustrated by Joe Todd-Stanton (Flying Eye Books)
Appallingly, I've only read three - After the Fire, Release and The Hate U Give - but all three rank among (or at) my personal 'best of year'. Which bodes very well for the other 17...
So, all that out of the way... why don't awards all have easy CLICK TO BUY!!!! links? With blink tags and bright red font?
I suspect there are a few considerations here:
- Purchase links are grubby. Awards are about creating a historical/cultural record, not sales. By acknowledging the latter, you devalue the former. Would the Nobel Prize have an AMAZON link? WOULD IT?
- Which retailer?! The one retailer that will carry everything is Amazon, and they are THE DEVIL'S OWN TESTES. Linking to Amazon would, of course, drive sixteen flaming daggers through the twitching corpse of your local independent bookshop, and probably earn a very scathing anonymous blog post. Alternatively, you could try to link to multiple ETHICAL alternatives which may or may not have the books, or even the publisher's own book pages. Both cases pass the buck to the consumer - you feel better, but you're sacrificing the user experience. Which is the lesser evil - selling a book through the DEVIL'S OWN TESTES or not selling the book at all? Your call.
- Technology. Seriously, y'all: many awards still put out their longlists as pdfs. Expect hyperlinks to be industry standard in 2023.
- Remit specific to the award itself. In the case of the Carnegie/Greenaway, for example - awards run by, well, librarians. Do librarians see bookshops as competitive rivals? I suspect book ownership and librarian use are actually more positively correlated, but I can also see how 'go buy a copy' could come across as a philosophically conflicting position for a group of librarians to hold.
I have a great deal of sympathy for all three positions. Back in The Kitschies days, we used to bend over backwards trying to create link-or-links to multiple, ethical, local retailers - figuring that was the right balance between 'good heart' and 'make publishers happy'. But that was also about 1/10th as effective as just dumping the whole thing into an Amazon wishlist. Sacrifices were made.
More importantly, I, as a consumer, want to be able to click-to-buy all the books that look interesting. And I want to do it right now, before I'm distracted by the next thing that comes up, and I forget this ever even happened.
So, ANYWAY... While I was on Amazon finding every single one of this books (MY SOUL WITHERING WITH EACH ONE), I figured I might as well make it more broadly available. MY SOUL HAS DARKENED but #teamcarnegie stay pure. Or just bring the list to your local bookshop...
[Aside - what's also interesting from looking at all 40 Amazon descriptions: which of these are available in which formats, which are already discounted, which have crazy-broken metadata, etc. Although I wang on a lot about awards here, how publishers react to nomination/listing is just as important to an award's "success"... I'll tackle that later. Or maybe not.]