The Selection Criteria

Discover how our jury narrowed down over 10,000 recent releases to just 10 finalists, before selecting the shortlist – and finally the winners.

The jury for the 20th getAbstract International Book Award consisted of Arnhild Walz-Rasilier, who created the Award in 2001, Haike Finch-Schattka and Andreas Neisser from getAbstract, together with Monika Dunkel and Marina Zapf from Capital.

Since 2000, the getAbstract International Book Award has been awarded to the best-written and most significant books that make an important contribution to contemporary non-fiction literature. The Award intends to increase the visibility of these books, which represent a broad range of topics, origins and styles, in order to increase their impact on current social, political and economic topics.

getAbstract International Book Award mission statement

In 2020, the jury considered titles that appeared in 2019-2020. In particular, the jury selected books that are relevant to current topics and balanced in terms of content, style and diversity, applying the following considerations:

  • How original is the book?
  • How reliable is its content?
  • How focused is the author’s approach?
  • How reader-friendly is the book?
  • How effective is the book (usefulness, applicability, etc.)?

This year, we were confronted with events that we could not have anticipated when we began compiling the longlist. The nominated titles had to reflect many aspects in 2020, and I believe we were successful in achieving this.

Arnhild Walz-Rasilier

In order to compare books dealing with a broad range of subjects as fairly as possible, the editorial teams defined categories and developed differing criteria for each. Each book is assigned to one of the following categories:

  • Explanatory – such as popular science books.
  • Instructive – for example, how-to books.
  • Argumentative – books that formulate and defend a hypothesis.
  • Descriptive – historical, biographical or documentary books.
  • Prescriptive – books that analyze problems and propose solutions.

Since the last award ceremony at the Frankfurt Book Fair, where the Award has traditionally been presented, the getAbstract editorial team has seen thousands of titles, many of which are strong contenders for the shortlist.

Narrowing down the selection is not an easy task. The longlist and shortlist – and ultimately the winners – are the product of intense discussion and sometimes compromise. Compromise means that there are different perspectives and strong opinions, which are important in a jury.

Arnhild Walz-Rasilier

Who has won the getAbstract International Book Award since 2001? Discover the previous winners here.

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