Frequently Asked Questions
Thanks for your interest in our awards! Here are a few things we are commonly asked – along with some answers:
Why do you do this list?
There are two reasons we do this list: first and foremost because we love books and we don’t believe there are enough efforts within the industry or media to promote non-fiction books specifically. The second reason is that we’re invested in building the brand of Non-Obvious. We believe in the power of non-obvious ideas, and want to honor them whether we’re the ones coming up with them or not!
How are books chosen as winners?
We consider every aspect of a book, from its writing and quality of the ideas to the originality of the work. We are, of course, looking for “Non-Obvious” ideas above all. What this means to us is a concept or way of thinking that we haven’t seen before. Something uniquely interesting and useful. An idea that makes us think.
How can I submit a book?
Books can be submitted directly by authors, publishers, publicists, moms or anyone else who believes a book might be a good candidate for an award.
We don’t place artificial limits on books that can be submitted and we do consider EVERY book that is suggested to us. Every year we also specifically approach certain authors and publishers to request books that we believe have strong merit for consideration in our awards program.
In order to submit your book to the program, just fill out our submission form here and then send 2 review copies to the address noted on the form. Submissions for the 2020 Non-Obvious Book Awards closed on November 30, 2020. The program for our 2021 awards will open in January, 2021.
Will you reimburse me for the shipping expenses?
Nope, but good on you for wondering. We admire your frugality.
Why don’t you use industry-standard categories?
Most book awards will subdivide books they consider into categories such as management or sales. The problem with this is, well … obvious. What category would you put a book on sales management? So instead of forcing submissions into a single limiting category (or having you worry that maybe you unintentionally picked the wrong category and therefore made it harder for your book to win), we have created our own categories for how we award winners (see below). Books are NOT submitted to a particular category. Instead they are simply submitted and we will award them based on the category we believe fits best.
What are the main categories for winners?
As noted above, we don’t segment our award winners into industry categories. Instead, we select our five favorite books of the year in the following categories:
How many books do you consider every year?
It’s hard to say since we are always reading and evaluating – but our best guess is that we review between 500 to 600 titles every year and politely decline to review many others that aren’t a great fit for the awards. Making our list is highly competitive and we believe that’s an important element of keeping the quality of our winners high.
Is this award a big deal?
That is a hard question for us to answer, but yes — yes it is. We might be biased though. Objectively, we can tell you that we receive and review a LOT of books and every year less than 10% merit inclusion either on our Longlist or Shortlist. And there are only five top award winners – so mathematically that’s pretty selective.
Your branding doesn’t suck. Is that intentional?
Yes it is, thanks for noticing. When putting together this program, we did an extensive review of ALL the other popular book awards programs in the industry. A sad many of them have pitiful branding. Our founder, Rohit Bhargava, should know – his last book Non-Obvious Megatrends won almost all of them (see the full list here).
For us, branding is very important and we want everything we do to look great. We want you to use it too. So if you do win, you can expect we don’t use sneaky tactics like charging you money to download a high res JPG of the award badge.
You will get the materials and you can use them however you like. And hopefully you won’t be embarrassed by them when you do.
When are winners announced?
We will announce our Longlist selections in December 2020. A week or two later, we will then announce our 15 selections for the Shortlist, as well as five individual winners in each of our main categories.
I’m angry that you missed [insert book title here]. Where do I direct my outrage?
Since we’re limited in what we can select, every year there are great books that don’t make the long or short list. We’re sorry that the one you loved didn’t make it, but we do take a lot of time to try and be as inclusive as we can. If you do want to suggest one, though, please do and we’ll definitely add it to our own personal reading list!