The medalists in the 23rd Annual Independent Publisher Book Awards have been announced, and if you are looking for a more enjoyable “beach read” than The Mueller Report, our list of independently published stand-outs is for you.

Launched in 1996 and conducted each year to honor the year’s best independently published books, the “IPPY” Awards recognize excellence in a broad range of styles and subjects. Independents authors and publishers are known for being on the cutting edge of social and environmental issues, and three of our Outstanding Book of the Year winners exemplify this awareness:

Winner of the “Most Original Concept” medal, Angels Unawares: Portraits of the Homeless in L.A (Brown Books Publishing) photographer and humanitarian Casey Coates Dawson writes, “Los Angeles, California, is a city of contrasts when it comes to its inhabitants, the affluent living right around the corner from the homeless and starving.” A long-time designer of energy-independent buildings, she used color photographs of luxurious homes she’s worked on and digitally combined them with black-and-white studies she’s taken of L.A.’s homeless, asking readers, “What angels walk our streets? Where are they missing in our homes?”

As if to emphasize the fact that 60% of this year’s IPPY Award-winning authors are female, our “Independent Voice” gold medal went to I’m a Girl. See what I can be! by Eunice Olsen. Through her poems about ten talented Chinese women, illustrated by ten young artists, Ms. Olsen inspires girls to have “resilience in your spirit, and compassion for those around you.”

“For the best way to live,
and the way to stay true,
is to do what you love,
and to love what you do.”

In the “Most Likely to Save the Planet” medal-winning, The Future of Packaging: From Linear to Circular (Berrett-Koehler Publishers), by Tom Szaky and “15 Industry Leaders in Innovation and Sustainability,” we are reminded that the more convenient packaging is, the less recyclable it is, and the more damaging to our environment it becomes. Each step down the ladder from the returnable glass bottle, to the aluminum can, to the plastic bottle, to the pouch, reduces its recyclability by half, from 100% down to zero. In the book’s foreword, Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever, says, “Players in all facets of consumer goods production and consumption need to collaborate to reexamine what we create—and take responsibility for it.”

All of the IPPY medal-winning books will be celebrated on May 28th during the annual BookExpo publishing convention in New York, with gold, silver and bronze IPPY medallions awarded in 85 national, 24 regional, and 11 e-book categories. This year’s contest drew 4,500 entries, and medals will go to authors and publishers from 42 U.S. states plus the District of Columbia and Guam; 5 Australian states, 7 Canadian provinces, and 10 other countries overseas.

“The creators of our IPPY medal-winners are truly out to make a difference,” says Jim Barnes, director of the Awards. “With the inspirational storytelling of the fiction and the problem solving of the non-fiction, independent publishing is all about compassion for people and dedication to improving the world.”

Congratulations to all the medalists for their independent spirit and dedication to making the world a better place!

See complete results listing for the 2019 Independent Publisher Book Awards: