It should be noted that The Irish Book Awards are different in character from conventional literary awards where winners attract the subjective approval of a jury normally comprising 3-5 judges. To decide fifteen awards in this way would be impractical and inimical to our aim to canvas the widest possible sector of the reading public.
The shortlists are compiled by a combination of two panels from over 300-400 books submitted annually by publishers. One is an industry panel of booksellers and librarians, but from 2015 onwards, to ensure the widest spectrum of opinion, a group of literary journalists and critics are also invited to submit their candidates for inclusion on the shortlists. The panels select the books which, on merit, represent the best of Irish publishing in a given year including titles which have raised the profile of books, both in terms of publicity coverage and performance. These will often include books published late in the year which are widely expected to make a substantial impact. Such books will have been presented to individuals on the panels months before publication date.
The winners are decided by an online web-poll divided into two constituencies, a public vote and a specialist Academy vote*, weighted equally and combined to produce the winners. The purpose of the academy vote is to counter-balance the potential skewing effect of campaigning in the public vote. For example, a title may accumulate a massive public vote but if academy support is slight, success is unlikely. Winning titles must score heavily in both constituencies. In the event of a tie, the academy vote counts as decisive.
*The voting academy comprises around 300 booksellers, librarians, non-shortlisted authors, reviewers, and journalists.
The Book of the Year
From the individual category winners, the title of overall Bord Gáis Energy Book of the Year will be decided by the same method as the individual category winners ie a combination of public vote and academy vote weighted equally.