International Binding Competition

Society of Bookbinders > International Binding Competition

How to Enter

Entry to the SoB International Bookbinding competition 2022 is now live!
Please click here to fill in and submit your entry form.
For news and updates on the competition you can also subscribe to our mailing list .
Deadline to complete your entry form.
Friday 20th May 2022

Please make sure your book(s) arrive with us between
Monday 16th – Friday 20th May 2022

Please do not send books without completing an entry form.

For any enquiries please contact the competition organising team:



Prize fund of £6,000

Fine Binding
First Prize – Shepherds Bookbinders Ltd
(The John Coleman Trophy)
Value: £900
Second Prize – Value: £40

Book Arts
First Prize – John Purcell Paper
(The Portnall Award)
Value: £600
Second Prize – Value: £400

Case Binding
First Prize – The F.J. Ratchford Trophy
Value: £800

First Prize – George Bayntun
(The Bernard Middleton Trophy)
Value: £900

Historic Binding
First Prize – The ABA Educational Trust Trophy
Value: £900

Green’s Books Award for Best Young Newcomer 
Value: £355

Fine Cut International Award for Finishing (Fine Cut Trophy for Finishing)
Value: £150

Harmatan Leather Award for Forwarding
Value: £175

Incline Press Dave Godin Memorial Award for Animal-Free Binding
Value: £250

J Hewit & Sons Award for Excellence in Design
Value: £175

J Hewit & Sons Award for Excellence in Craftsmanship
Value: £175


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 incorporate bookcloth and 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
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 will be thirteen prizes awarded over five categories including prizes for forwarding, finishing and design.

Every entrant will receive a free 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. The intention is that prize winners will be announced at the Society’s Conference at the University of Bath, UK, 25-28th August 2022. Winning entrants will be notified prior to the event.

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. Should the conference and award ceremony need to be cancelled or postponed due to Covid we will notify everyone as soon as possible.


Sponsorship gratefully received to date

ABA Educational Trust
Bernard Quaritch Ltd
Boekenmarkt – Boektotaal
Dominic Winter Auctioneers
Fine Cut Group Ltd
F J Ratchford Ltd
George Bayntun Booksellers
Green’s Books
Flora Ginn
Harmatan & Oakridge Leathers 2008 Ltd
London Center for Book Arts
Royston Haward
Incline Press
J Hewit & Sons Ltd
John Purcell Paper
Leicester Print Workshop
Louise Brockman Marbled Paper
David and Maureen Nye
Payhembury Marbled Papers
Peter Harrington Rare Books
Russells Fine Leathers
Shepherds Bookbinders Ltd
Stuart Southall
The Stationers’ Foundation
William Cowley Parchment and Vellum
Wyvern Bindery
Dr William Zachs
Jemma Lewis Marbling
… and many kind anonymous sponsors


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 deadline for submitting an entry is 20th May 2022. Your book(s) must be delivered between 16th – 20th May 2022 along with an entry form.

More than one entry is permissible. Fees for entry are £55 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 three 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 ‘young newcomer’ is defined as a person who is under the age of 30, and has, within the last five years, started learning bookbinding/restoration/book arts from scratch and has not won 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.