Canada's Third National Book Collecting Contest 2011-12

The National Book-Collecting Contest was created by the Bibliographical Society of Canada (BSC) in 2008 to encourage young Canadians to collect books and study the discipline of researching and writing bibliographies. Our partners, the W.A. Deacon Literary Foundation (DLF) and the Alcuin Society are passionate about reading, collecting, and studying book history.


First Place: $1,000
Second Place: $500
Third Place: $250

The prizes will consist of money and gifts from our partners and co-sponsors. There will be three prizes including first, second and third place. A one year membership membership subscription to the BSC and its papers will be part of the prize(s).

Requirement for Entry

Entries will not be returned and become the property of the Bibliographical Society of Canada. Entrants agree to allow the BSC and its partners to publish their essay in full or in part, in print or electronic form in a future issue of the BSC Papers and its web site.

Entries must be postmarked no later than 5 March 2012.

Entries should be emailed or mailed via Canada Post to:

The Bibliographical Society of Canada
P.O. Box 575, Postal Station P
Toronto, ON
M5S 2T1

Winners will be notified by 12 May 2012.

The winners' names will be publicly announced and prizes awarded at the the 2012 Annual General Meeting of the BSC. The winning essay and possibly photographs of the collection will be posted on the BSC website.

A sampling of the winner's collections may be exhibited in a display case at the BSC annual conference and possibly at another location(s) with our partners.

The required submission materials:

Cover sheet:

Proof of age
Street address
Telephone number
Email address
Collection title

Additional contact information for the month of May 2012 should be provided if the entrant will be away during this time.

The Essay

The contest requires participants to write a 1,500 to 2,000-word essay on their collection, including where appropriate, the description of the books: binding, cover decoration, illustrations, and bibliographical features such as format, printing, and publication data. Example collections include children's books, illustrated books, artists books, flip books, Arthurian legend, Generation X, eighteenth and nineteenth-century literature, serial fiction, graphic novels, a single author, cookbooks, modern authors, travel, experimental poetry, little magazines, etc. The essay may be written in French or English.

Past winning essays: The Works (and Quirks) of Alexandre Dumas père; The L.M. Montgomery Collection in the Forest City; The Complexities of Ordinary Life: Autobiographical Comics and Graphic Novels; A History of Fish; The Tudors & Stuarts; Superlative Works from the Subcontinent.

The List

The list of books must be organized according to some logical principle: most probably by author or by subject. Each book listed should include at least the following information: author, title, date, place, publisher, format (e.g. hardback or paper), and an indication of condition.

Full Contest Rules are located here and on the sponsoring partners' websites.

These Rules are subject to change.


The ury is comprised of senior bilingual representatives of the Bsc, DLF, Alcuin Society, and a possible outsite guest. The panel of judges will include no more than five persons.

Judging Criteria

The criteria for judging collections include the focus of the collection, method of collecting, progress made in creating the collection, and the quality of the explanation of the collection's focus. Where appropriate, the quality of the description of the books, that is, of the physical characteristics such as binding, publication details, etc., are taken into consideration. Collections will not judged on dollar value or size.

Suggested reading that may prove useful in answering questions about book collecting:

Bowers, Fredson. Principles of Bibliographical Description. Winchester (1994)
Carter, John. ABC for Book Collectors. (revised by Nicolas Barker). London (1994)
Kirsop, Wallace. Bibliographie matérielle et critique textuelle, vers une collaboration, Lettres modernes. Paris (1970)
Laufer, Roger. Introduction à la textologie. Vérification, établissement, édition des textes. Paris (1972)
Malclès, Louise-Noëlle. Notions fondamentales de bibliographie. Paris (1955)
Peters, J., (editor). Book Collecting: A Modern Guide. New York (1977)
Peters, J., (editor). Collectible Books: Some New Paths. New York (1979)
Tanselle, G. Thomas. Selected Studies in Bibliography. Charlottesville (1979)