Whom to Address
What to Send
If you wish to submit materials for review consideration in Booklist or Booklist Online, specific guidelines for various formats and types of materials are provided below. Any publisher of a book reviewed in Booklist will receive a tearsheet of the review. Due to the volume of submissions (more than 60,000 per year), we are unable to notify publishers whose books have not been selected for review. All submissions of materials for review become the sole property of the American Library Association; request for return of materials or other restrictions cannot be honored.
Send review materials to:
American Library Association
50 E. Huron St.
Chicago, IL 60611
Brad Hooper, Adult Books Editor
Books for Youth (Children’s and YA):
Gillian Engberg: Editorial Director, Books for Youth
Sarah Hunter: Associate Editor, Books for Youth
Media: Contact Joyce Saricks, Audio Editor, for specific audio recording and audiobook procedures. Contact Sue-Ellen Beauregard, Video Editor, via her assistant, Rebecca Hayes, for specific video procedures.
Reference Materials: Contact Rebecca Vnuk, Reference and Collection Management Editor, for specific reference procedures.
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Vital Information. Review copies in all categories must include a publication slip specifying prices and ISBNs for all editions, publication date (month and year), and publisher/distributor. Audiovisual media must be accompanied by running time and distributor name, address, and telephone number. For audiobooks, children’s music CDs, and spoken-word audios, please indicate the names of the performers, readers, and authors when applicable. Please read our current policy concerning ebooks.
Galleys: Adult Fiction and Nonfiction. Send one galley, bound if possible, of all original adult fiction and nonfiction titles, paperback as well as hardcover. Month of publication should be clearly indicated. Galleys should arrive at Booklist at least 15 weeks prior to publication. In cases where no galleys are available, photocopied manuscript, page proofs, folded-and-gathered sheets, or other forms of prepublication copy are acceptable. Galleys received less than 15 weeks before publication will be considered provided they are sent to Booklist no later than to Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, and Library Journal.
Galleys: Children’s and YA Books. Send two copies of folded-and-gathered sheets for picture books, nonfiction, and other titles primarily dependent on illustrations. Send bound galleys for other children’s and YA books including original paperbacks.
E-Book Only Submissions: We are currently only accepting select e-book originals if they are easily available to libraries (via Overdrive, Axis 360, 3M Cloud Library, etc.). Please query the relevant editor via email.
Graphic Novel Materials: If galleys or finished versions of original graphic novels or comics collections are unavailable before the date of publication, send submissions as soon afterward as possible.
Media Materials: Send one copy of newly released videos, DVDs, audiobooks, spoken word audios, and children’s music CDs.
Galleys: Reference books. Galleys or other prepublicaton copies of reference books (dictionaries, encyclopedias, etc) may be sent, but two finished copies are required before a review can be published. Titles will not be reviewed more than six months past their publication date.
Finished Copies. When galleys are not available, Booklist will consider finished copies for review. As with galleys, it is vital that finished copies be sent to Booklist no later than to other prepublication media. (Many publishers depend on United Parcel Service, Express Mail, or Federal Express to reduce the number of lost or late materials.) Reference Books Bulletin requires two finished copies before a review can be published.
Finished Copies of Books Submitted in Galleys. Regarding books submitted for review in galley form, please send one finished copy of all adult titles, and two finished copies of all others, as soon as they become available. These copies are submitted to reviewers and used throughout the year in the compilation of bibliographies and Editors’ Choice lists.
Catalogs, Announcements, and Brochures. Automatically send Booklist four copies of your Fall/Winter and Spring/Summer seasonal catalogs. Also include Booklist on your mailing list for all other catalogs, announcements, and brochures.
Thank you for your interest in Booklist.
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Booklist operates under policies established by the Publishing Committee of the American Library Association. Its primary purpose is to provide a guide to current library materials in many formats appropriate for use in public libraries and school library media centers. The needs of small and medium-sized libraries receive special consideration in all selection decisions. All materials reviewed in the Adult Books, Books for Youth, and Media sections are recommended for purchase by libraries and media centers. This recommended-only policy, in place since Booklist’s founding in 1905, has been adapted over the decades to reflect changes in the philosophy of public library service. Thus, materials are recommended for reasons relating to both quality and demand. That is, books and media found wanting in terms of quality may still be recommended if the reviewer anticipates strong demand from library patrons. All reviews reflect critical evaluation and include comments on weaknesses and limitations as necessary.
Reviewers recommend materials judged to be of interest to libraries representing a great variety of communities, readerships, and resources. Recommendations are made from works written or produced in English and distributed in the U.S. Periodicals, pamphlets, vanity publications, and highly technical, specialized, sectarian, and free materials are outside the scope of the regular reviewing program.
A star indicates a work judged by a reviewer to be outstanding in its genre. Certain nonstarred reviews sometimes appear in the magazine in boxes; this special placement is not necessarily an indicator of quality but rather denotes an item of special interest—details about which are spelled out in the review.
Booklist editors and reviewers participate in evaluation as an open-ended process and follow standard selection criteria consistent with the Library Bill of Rights and its various interpretations as adopted by the Council of the American Library Association. In selecting materials for review, Booklist editors reflect many of the same attitudes as professional librarians selecting materials for purchase. The words of Lester Asheim, in his classic essay “Not Censorship but Selection” (Wilson Library Bulletin, 1953), remain apt:
“The selector begins, ideally, with a presumption in favor of liberty of thought; the censor does not. The aim of the selector is to promote reading not to inhibit it; to multiply the points of view which will find expression, not limit them; to be a channel for communication, not a bar against it.”
The selection policy statements in the following sections on Adult Books, Books for Youth, Media, and Reference Books Bulletin clarify those particular approaches and the types of materials considered.
Recommendations in the Adult Books section of Booklist are based on the premise that any library collection must include both works of current interest and those of lasting value, regardless of their ideological point of view. Works appealing to popular interests or serving recreational functions are recommended in accordance with standards appropriate to the subject matter and to the needs of the intended audience. Books of outstanding literary, aesthetic, or intellectual value are recommended provided they are likely to be used by the general reader.
Realizing that adult library patrons often request materials before or soon after they are published, Adult Books staff strive to review new books as early as possible. Titles judged likely to be in high demand—due to the quality of the book, the status of the author, the popularity of the subject, or any combination of these and other factors—are reviewed well in advance of publication and included in a special section called “Upfront: Advance Reviews.”
Current fiction and nonfiction titles are evaluated in galley proofs or folded-and-gathered sheets, or from finished books when no galleys are available. Both hardcover and original paperback materials are considered for review. Revised editions of previously published titles and newly published versions of titles long out of print are usually determined out of scope but may be considered based on individual merit.
In addition to reviews, the Adult Books section includes columns and special features of interest to both readers’-advisory librarians and general readers.
Books for Youth
Children’s and YA books considered for review include fiction, nonfiction, and picture books. The decision to review—and, thus, to recommend for library purchase—is based on both literary quality and content suitable to the interests and needs of children and young adults from preschool through high school. In nonfiction, books of borderline quality but considerable usefulness may also be reviewed. Materials are evaluated in galley proofs, folded-and-gathered sheets, paperback, or hardcover. Periodicals, textbooks, workbooks, pamphlets, stapled paperbacks, and books designed for home rather than library use are excluded.
A book’s grade-or age-level assignment is decided according to its format, reading level, style, subject interest, and appeal. The books reviewed are separated by general age groups. Books reviewed in the “Older Readers” section are evaluated in terms of their relevance to junior-high and high-school students and recommended for individual recreational reading or curriculum-related use and reference. Reviews in “Middle Readers” evaluate books for grades three to six and in “The Young” for preschool through grade two. Because of the special need and criteria for evaluating easy-reading materials, these books are treated in a separate section. Special professional publications of interest to young-adult and children’s librarians and school library media specialists are also covered in a separate section. After evaluation by reviewers, books in ongoing nonfiction series may be recommended without a review in the “Series Roundup,” with imprint information and citation to the last full series review given.
All books for youth are evaluated for acceptable literary quality according to standard criteria for different types of writing: for fiction, characterization, point of view, setting, plot, theme, and writing style; for nonfiction, content, organization, balance, format, style; and for picture books, style and quality of the art, relationship of art and text, and suitability of the whole to the intended audience. Nonfiction works that discuss currently controversial elements (e.g., sex, drugs, or the occult) are judged for the integrity of their overall treatment. Nonsensationalized presentations on different sides of controversial subjects are considered for recommendation. Fiction titles for children and young adults that contain potentially controversial elements, including sexual, religious, political, or racial subject matter, or that formulate a worldview or life philosophy of hopelessness, may be recommended for purchase depending on artistic value.
Adult books deemed of interest to teens, either as personal reading or curriculum-related material, are also recommended. Following full-length reviews of the selected titles in the Adult Books and “Upfront” sections of the magazine, Books for Youth staff append a brief statement targeting the YA audience or distinguishing elements of particular YA interest. Appearing with the statement is a symbol denoting primary use or appeal: YA, for those books of general YA interest; YA/C, for books of curriculum use; YA/S, for books that will appeal most to teens with a special interest in a specific subject; and YA/M, for books most suitable for mature young adult readers of any age capable of adult judgment and able to respond to the book as a whole rather than reacting to isolated parts or incidental aspects.
The great variety among young library users in city, rural, and suburban areas calls for consideration of a book’s appeal to children who are sophisticated or immature, advanced or slow, from diverse ethnic backgrounds, and with disparate interests and lifestyles. Curriculum-related materials, representing a wide range of intellectual and social development and a broad range of student needs and subject areas, include those that deal with current issues and concerns as well as those that treat the traditional categories of literature, history, government, the arts and sciences, etc.
In addition to reviews, the Books for Youth section publishes bibliographies, columns, and special features designed to aid those doing collection-development and readers’-advisory work.
Mirroring the way many libraries are now structuring their graphic novel collections, books reviewed in the monthly Graphic Novel section of Booklist are grouped into one of three subsections—Adult, YA, and Children's—depending on evaluation of content, appeal, and reading level. As many comics publichers make no distinction of audience outside of their own ratings system, if at all, we place reviews into the collection we feel is most appropriate, and will address in the review if a book might have a wider audience and reason to be included in one of the other sections as well.
The Media section of Booklist includes reviews of materials for school library media centers and school district collections; for public-library media collections; for use within libraries by children’s, adult, and young-adult librarians in program contexts; for public-library circulating media collections; and for civic, community, religious, and special-interest groups and individuals who use the resources of libraries. These reviews serve as a highly selective buying and programming guide for these collections and libraries. Many educational and special-interest videos include public performance rights; others are for home use only. Booklist Media reviews note public performance status when possible, but media librarians should always verify the availability of public performance rights when videos are purchased.
Only those materials released for purchase in the U.S. within the previous six months are considered for review. In addition, programmed instruction and self-tutorial programs are not reviewed.
The Booklist Media staff and contributing reviewers evaluate new video, children’s and spoken-word audio, and audiobooks in all subject areas for ages preschool through adult. The editorial staff and contributing reviewers also periodically prepare special lists and features on specific media formats and issues and on topics of current interest.
The Booklist Media editors and reviewers use many of the same selection criteria applied to the evaluation of print materials, such as quality, authenticity, and utility. Media reviewers, however, also evaluate production techniques unique to specific formats and through which the content of a given work is conveyed.
Recommendations reflect changing trends in the media field and the concerns and needs of the audiences for which the materials are designed.
Reference reviews in the Adult section cover reference sources in print and electronic format. Reference sources are those designed by their arrangement and treatment to be consulted for specific items of information rather than to be read consecutively. They may include, but are not limited to, almanacs, atlases, bibliographies, indexes, electronic databases, dictionaries, directories, encyclopedias, guides, handbooks, and Web sites that would be of interest primarily to public libraries and school media centers. We recognize, however, that reference reviews are often pertinent to the needs of many academic libraries.
Highly academic, specialized, or technical titles, regional titles, annuals, how-to books, most directories, and titles more than six months old are generally excluded from consideration for review. Preference is given to new titles (as opposed to revisions, supplements, etc.). Print-on-demand or e-only reference titles are only accepted for consideration if the item is readily available through standard library vendors (such as Baker & Taylor, Ingram, Overdrive, etc.).
Final selection of reference titles for review rests with the editor.
Among the factors considered in reviews are a work’s purpose, authority, scope and content, organization, and format. Unlike in the other sections of Booklist, reference titles not recommended for purchase may still be reviewed if the editor feels it is important to place such works in the context of similar sources in the field.
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