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Christian Book Award® Program Rules


Article I - General Rules

1) Submitting Companies
All publishing companies submitting entries must be ECPA members in good standing.

2) Publication Date
Eligible books must be originally published in English by an ECPA member anywhere in the world, and carry a publication date (as listed in Bowker's Books in Print) from October 2019 through October 2020. Re-issued books are not eligible.

3) Book Formats
Books eligible for entry are defined as "bound volumes," either case bound, paper bound, or spiral bound or may be "non-bound volumes" including non-bound print and digital-first or digital-only. Audio productions are submitted as chaptered MP3 files. Series and sets are not eligible.

4) Mixed Media Products
Books packaged with supporting mixed media (CD, DVD, cassette, video etc.) are eligible for consideration. The supporting media must be supplementary to and released simultaneously with the book.

5) Certification
Publishers will be asked to certify that all information on the entry form is correct and complies with all rules. An authorized representative of the publisher, qualified to certify that the publisher is the original publisher and all rules are adhered to, is to be listed on the entry form.

6) Category Classification and Eligibility Review
Each book must be entered only in the category that best describes the book's primary focus. The ECPA Recognition Committee shall have the final and absolute responsibility for determining the correct classification and eligibility for all entries. Should it be determined that any entry has been entered in an incorrect category, or is ineligible, ECPA will notify the publisher accordingly.

7) Content
To be eligible for entry, each book must include explicit Christian content, an overtly Christian message, and/or a distinctively Christian world view (e.g., allegorical fiction). The Christian content in each entry must be evangelical in nature and may not be contrary to ECPA's Statement of Faith as follows:

ECPA Statement of Faith

I. We believe the Bible to be the inspired, the only infallible, authoritative Word of God.
II. We believe there is only one God, eternally existent in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
III. We believe in the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, in His virgin birth, in His sinless life, in His miracles, in His vicarious and atoning death through His shed blood, in His bodily resurrection, in His ascension to the right hand of the Father, and in His personal return in power and glory.
IV. We believe that for the salvation of the lost and sinful, regeneration by the Holy Spirit is absolutely essential.
V. We believe in the present ministry of the Holy Spirit by whose indwelling the Christian is enabled to live a godly life.
VI. We believe in the resurrection of both the saved and the lost; they that are saved unto the resurrection of life and they that are lost unto the resurrection of damnation.
VII. We believe in the spiritual unity of believers in our Lord Jesus Christ.


Article II - Categories

This award is for new proprietary material (full text of the Bible or New Testament) which meets the following criteria:

a) a new translation or paraphrase of the Bible text;
b) a new full-scale revision or media presentation of an already published Bible text; or
c) a Bible published with substantive new material or at least 50% new supplementary material (notes, commentary, etc.) for works previously published.

Subsequent publication of substantially the same proprietary material with another Bible text does not qualify, but a complete Bible published after publication of a New Testament or other portion does qualify.

This award category accepts nominations for fiction and nonfiction material for children ages 0-8 (preschool and elementary) to include: children's picture books, early readers and chapter books, nonfiction material for children.

This award category accepts nominations for nonfiction material for children ages 9-16 to include: YA-based nonfiction. (Note: Fiction works for this age group are now eligible for The Christy Award™ program in the Young Adult category.)

This award is for material that is devotional in nature -- including daily and/or guided reading collections -- and for gift-packaged books (coffee table, small-bound works) and poetry. This category is inclusive of the following: devotional, gift-packaged book and poetry.



1. Bible Reference Works
This award is for scholarly or ministry-related material inclusive of the following:

  • Reference Works/Commentaries including dictionaries, concordances, encyclopedias and other reference works in the area of theology, doctrine, church history, and biblical studies including books that offer any analysis, exposition, or annotation of specific biblical texts.
  • Works of Theology, Doctrine, or Church History, including explanatory, expositional or analytical works.

2. Bible Study
This award is for Bible study material including Bible Study books offering in-depth personal or group Bible study.

3. Ministry Resources
This award is for ministry-related material inclusive of the following:

  • Christian Ministry including books for professional and lay leaders in the areas of Christian education, pastoral ministry, or preaching, discipleship, counseling, and church administration.
  • Christian Education including books primarily intended for use in Church-based spiritual education programs.

Note that curriculum and/or mixed media product may be entered as long as a book is the central core of the package.


1. Biography & Memoir
This award is for nonfiction material presented as a biography, autobiography or memoir (narrative composed from personal experience) to include: autobiography, biography, memoir.

2. Faith & Culture
This award is for nonfiction material that is directed at the intersection of faith and culture to include: Christianity & Society, diversity, political themes.

3. Christian Living
This award is for nonfiction material that facilitates or models what it means to live as a Christian in all areas of life to include: Christian living, family, parenting, marriage, missions/evangelism.

Note that if the book submitted is part of a package, the additional materials (video, workbook, etc.) are evaluated under "Format."

This award is for material whose audience is children or adult and includes both fictional (children's category only) and non-fictional material.  Entry must be the author's first book-length work in print by a domestic, commercial publishing house. (A prior self-published work is allowed.) This category is inclusive of the types of books submitted in the other award categories and will be judged according to the category specifications in which it fits. Note: A book may be entered in both the New Author category and the applicable genre category.


This award is for AUDIO productions of books produced by ECPA member publishers (fiction, nonfiction, Bible).


Article III - Entry Process

1) Number of Entries
Any ECPA member publisher, imprint or division of a larger publishing house may enter as many titles in each category as it wishes. Each title may be entered in only one category with the exception of a title entered in the New Author category (which can also be entered into its applicable category of genre). The Recognition Committee will determine the correctness of the category placement if a question should arise.

2) Entry Fees
All ECPA member houses in good standing are eligible to submit titles and will pay according to their annual sales volume the following fee per entered title:

     Annual sales volume
     < $ 5 million $175 per title - $99 per title (reduced for hardship of covid-19 season)
     >= $ 5 million $299 per title - $199 per title (reduced for hardship of covid-19 season)

The entry fee is to accompany the Christian Book Award® Entry Form and is not refundable under any circumstances. Online payment form available in the ECPA Store will provide opportunity to pay online or to be invoiced by ECPA.

3) Submission of Entries

  • The Entry Forms by category are here.
  • Entry submission and payment is two separate steps and must be completed by September 30.
  • One (1) sample book of each book entered must be sent to the ECPA offices (for arrival by October 1st) at:
    ECPA / Christian Book Award®
    5801 S. McClintock Dr., Suite 104
    Tempe, AZ 85283
  • For digital-first or digital-only entries, a watermarked pdf must be emailed to the program manager for distribution to the judges.
  • For AUDIO productions, a chaptered MP3 file, book cover and all corresponding metadata (title, author, narrator, producer and book publisher (if applicable), 13-digit ISBN) must be emailed to the program manager for upload to the secure judges library.
  • Nine (9) copies of each entered title will be used in program judging. Ingram/Spring Arbor, our program distributor, has agreed to drop ship copies of each entry to program judges.  You will not need to send copies to our distributor, as they keep them in stock.  You will be invoiced separately by the distributor for these review copies.

4) Entry Form

  • The Entry Form requires title, author, ISBN, publisher (and producer, where applicable) and publication date (month and year).
  • Make sure each title complies with the certification called for in Section 1.5.
  • Please do not abbreviate. The exact format in which the title and author is submitted will be the format used in all publicity regarding Christian Book Award® finalists and winners.


Article IV - Judging Process

1) Evaluation Criteria
Judges will be given a group of books in a particular category to evaluate each title on each category's specific criteria.

2) Tabulation
The judges will evaluate each book based on the official score sheet provided by ECPA, and will not have access to any other scoring information. Tabulation of the judges' scores is online and will be electronically tabulated and managed by the ECPA office.

3) Judge Selection
Each group of judges will consist of two retailers, two authors, and two experts related to the category (scholars, pastors, counselors, educators, editors, literary reviewers, etc.)

4) Judging Process
Each group of judges will score their group of submitted titles according to the category's evaluation criteria. The score for each title will be tallied and the top five (5) scorers in each of the six (6) sections will be named as finalists for that program category. The top scorer in each category will be announced as the winner for that category. The Christian Book of the Year™ will be selected from the finalist pool based on significance of impact.

5) Awards
Winners will be announced May 4, 2021 at the ECPA Leadership Summit.


2021 Christian Book Award® Program Schedule:

  • 2020 Sep. 1-30: Submission period
  • 2020 Oct. 1: Books received in ECPA offices
  • 2020 November: Books shipped to judges by Spring Arbor for review process
  • 2021 March 31: Finalists announced.
  • 2021 May 4: Category winners and Christian Book of the Year™ announced at Awards Celebration at the ECPA Leadership Summit.

If you have any questions, please contact ECPA.


Christian Book Award® is a registered trademark of ECPA

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