International Binding Competition 2024

Society of Bookbinders > International Binding Competition 2024

How to Enter

Please register your interest in entering the International Bookbinding Competition 2024 by subscribing to the mailing list. This is the main way we will update you with the latest Competition news and information. You can subscribe to the mailing list here

All subscribers to the mailing list will be sent an entry form on 22nd April 2024, or fill in the form here.

Deadline for entries is Friday 24th May. Please make sure your book(s) arrive with us between Monday 20th – Friday 24th May 2024. Details of where to send books will be sent out with entry forms, please do not send books without completing the form.

For any enquiries please contact the competition organising team:



Prize fund of £7,000

Fine Binding
First Prize – Shepherds Bookbinders Ltd
(The John Coleman Trophy)
value: £900
Second Prize value: £450
Third Prize value: £350

Book Arts
First Prize – John Purcell Paper
(The Portnall Award)
value: £900
Second Prize value: £450
Third Prize value: £350

Case Binding
Total Prize value: £500

First Prize – George Bayntun
Total Prize value: £600

Historic Binding
First Prize – The ABA Educational Trust Trophy
Total Prize value: £600

Green’s Books Award for Best Young Newcomer 
Total Prize value: £560

Incline Press Dave Godin Memorial Award for Animal-Free Binding
Total Prize value: £250

Harmatan Leather Award for Forwarding
Total Prize value: £175

J Hewit & Sons Award for Excellence in Design
Total Prize value: £175

J Hewit & Sons Award for Excellence in Craftsmanship
Total Prize value: £175

The Sophie Schneideman Judges Award for an Entry Which the Judges Feel Deserves Recognition
Total Prize value: £175

Fine Cut International Award for Finishing
Total Prize value: £250


Competition Categories

1.Fine Binding
Entries in this category should be a binding of a contemporary nature in a codex form displaying an excellent standard of craftsmanship, along with an outstanding overall concept and design. Entries will be judged on the quality of the concept and design, the forwarding, finishing, craft skills, and use of materials.

2.Book Arts
Both the content and the binding should be designed and executed by the entrant. Entries need not be in codex format and will be judged on the quality of the concept and design, the content of the book, the binding, craft skills, and use of materials.

3.Case Binding
Entries in this category must be of a case-bound structure, i.e. the cover made separately from the text block and joined by attaching the endpapers to the cover boards. Entries will be judged on the quality of the concept and design, the forwarding, finishing, craft skills, and use of materials.

Any binding repaired in a way that returns the book to a former or original condition. Entries will be judged on the suitability of the repairs, the aesthetic of the restored book, craft skills, documentation, and materials used. Entries must be submitted with photographic documentation prior to restoration, along with a full written record of all work undertaken.

5.Historic Binding
Binding Entries should be a high-quality binding of a traditional nature. Bindings can display an element of creativity but must show excellent re-creation of a period of binding or historical structure, as well as a high standard of craftsmanship. Entries will be judged on the faithfulness of reproduction, the forwarding, finishing, craft skills, and suitability of materials.



The International Bookbinding Competition was started in 1999 and has developed into one of the most successful exhibitions of the art and craft of bookbinding. The Competition runs in conjunction with the Society’s biennial Conference and attracts entries from countries all around the world. Its success has been in the variety of work presented, with fine binding displayed alongside restoration and book arts. This year there are eighteen prizes to be awarded over five categories including prizes for forwarding, finishing and design. We are grateful to have a substantial prize fund made up from many long standing generous sponsors and delighted to have gained support from some new sponsors.

Every entrant will receive a copy of the exhibition catalogue containing colour photographs of each book submitted to the Competition. The catalogue and high-quality images will showcase the wide-ranging breadth and creativity in contemporary bookbinding. Additional copies will be available to purchase at all Competition exhibitions as well as online from J Hewit and Sons Ltd.

Winners will be announced in August 2024, winning entrants will be notified prior to the event. The intention is that all books entered into the Competition will be exhibited at the Conference. Non-winning bindings may either be collected from the exhibition or posted back to the entrants. Prize-winning bindings will travel to a number of venues across the UK on a touring exhibition. Further information and dates will be published on the website, via the mailing list, and on the Competition’s social media accounts.

Entrants submitting work to the Competition do so in the knowledge that if their work is selected for an award it will be retained by the Society for the touring exhibition and will only be returned following the final venue. Photographs of winning books and all entries will be taken for use on Competition promotional material and social media. Full entry details and instructions for delivering your books will be released nearer the time. Please subscribe to the Competition mailing list or check the Society’s website and social media for the latest news and updates.


Sponsorship gratefully received to date

ABA Educational Trust
Bernard Quaritch Ltd
Boekenmarkt – Boektotaal
Bookbinding Supplies
Cambridge Imprint
Dominic Winter Auctioneers
Fine Cut Group Ltd
The Folio Society
F J Ratchford Ltd
George Bayntun Booksellers
G F Smith Ltd
Green’s Books
Flora Ginn
Harmatan & Oakridge Leathers 2008 Ltd
Royston Haward
J Hewit & Sons Ltd
Incline Press
Jemma Lewis Marbling
The Portal Family in memory of Aidan Portnall
John Purcell Paper
Graham Lampard
The Leather Conservation Centre
London Center for Book Arts
Louise Brockman Marbled Paper
Neenah Red Bridge
Maureen Nye in memory of David Nye
The Old School Press
Payhembury Marbled Papers
Peter Harrington Rare Books
F J Ratchford Ltd
Russells Fine Leathers
Shepherds Bookbinders Ltd
Sophie Schneiden Rare Books
The Stationers’ Foundation
William Cowley Parchment and Vellum
Winter & Co UK Ltd

And other anonymous sponsors, including individual members of the Society of Bookbinders.


Competition Rules

The Competition is open to anyone except the judges and organisers.

The winning books will be decided at the discretion of the three judges only.

Entries must not have been submitted in, or have any known association with, any other bookbinding competition.

The final day for submission of entries will be Friday 24th May 2024.

More than one entry is permissible. Fees for entry are £65 for the first book and £30 for subsequent entries. The entry fee includes one catalogue per person.

All work submitted must have been completed within the two years prior to submission.

Work done by other hands is acceptable but must be declared.

A completed entry form must accompany each entry.

Your name must not appear on any part of your work.

A newcomer is defined as a person who has, within the last three years, started learning bookbinding/restoration/ book-arts from scratch, and has not yet entered another competition.

All costs for delivery and return of entries must be borne by the entrant.

Work must be submitted in a protective box or case, which will be used for its return.

Prizes take the form of cash, goods and vouchers; and are subject to variation at the discretion of the organisers.

The Society will take care to keep entries safe; however, all work is submitted at the entrant’s own risk. Entrants are advised to insure their bindings as the Society does not accept responsibility for loss or damage incurred during the competition or subsequent exhibitions.