The Netherlands’ ‘Renew the Book’ Names Its 2021 Longlist

In News by Porter Anderson

The ‘Renew the Book’ Innovation Award is intended to support Dutch startups and organizations that promote reading. Its 10 longlisted companies next get a chance to pitch their projects.

In Amsterdam, December 20, during the city’s second COVID-19 lockdown period. Image: Fokkebok

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

Ten Startups, Invited to Pitch
The General Publishers Group in The Netherlands has announced a 10-company Renew the Book innovation award longlist, with a purse of €50,000 (US$60,832) on the line for the winner.

Renew the Book logoA shortlist is expected on February 19, with a winner’s announcement on March 20.

And while today we hear less about startups in publishing than we once did, this is a program that honors the fact that many such new companies are at work. Renew the Book is one of the industry’s recognition programs continuing to cultivate innovative efforts applicable to the publishing space.

Each criterion on which entries are judged has been tested, itself, over the five years of the program’s operation. The factors likeliest to turn the heads of jurors will be:

  • Innovation: a proposed project is demonstrably original and effective, and never brought to market previously
  • Validated: a project should have demonstrable potential for problem solving, with test-case results available
  • Feasible: a project’s promise should be achievable, “both in production and in objective”
  • Scalable: a proposed project should be something that can accommodate rising potential and “opportunities for more sales, more reach, and  more users”

Hans Lodders

In a statement released with the longlist, jury chair Hans Lodders is quoted, saying that the 34 entries received for this year’s program “were of very good quality.

“We came across entries that usually fall into three categories:

“Data-related innovations and B2B applications that ensure that the chain operates more efficiently.

“Innovations that enrich the reading experience through augmented reality and virtual reality and new interfaces.

“Relationship-related innovations that stimulate collaboration, co-creation, as well as real relationships.

“A number of entries also focused on stimulating reading in the classroom, and promoting reading by young people. The reading of young people is a social problem that has recently, rightly, received a lot of focus. ”

Renew the Book 2021 Longlist

The nominated candidates’ descriptions here are from media messaging about the longlist.

  • Book by Puck: This book bot, submitted by Studio Winegum, is designed to help readers with discovery of books that meet their tastes and interests.
  • Book in Class: A Lesson-Building Package: The jury finds this an important and innovative idea to promote reading, a digital tool that makes it easier for teachers to compile class content.
  • Booktrust with Thema: The jury endorses the importance of introducing theme coding and the need for a global code scheme.
  • Digital Literature: A New Era for Reading: This nominee is devoted to making interactive digital literature, in collaboration with a poet, graphic artist, and digital interaction designer, starting with a digital adaptation of Cent Mille Milliards de Poèmes by Raymond Queneau, “with all digital specific interactive properties that match what young people expect today.”
  • A New Book Narrative: The Online Series: The individual components of this innovative publishing model (book, podcast, audiobook, articles, videos) already exist, but bringing them together as a whole is unique and, according to the jury, also stimulates writing.
  • Immer: This app responds well to mobile behavior, offers a great alternative to use that mobile time as reading time. A very well-developed initiative that stimulates reading on new medium in an innovative way.
  • Read Fix: Based on the answers to 22 questions, students are helped to make the right choices in their reading lists.
  • Scrollbook: The jury finds Scrollbook an innovative reading concept, in which reading is made more accessible and stimulating to the younger target group. The prototype and testing look very promising, as does the interaction design.
  • Wait: An exciting B2B innovation that has the potential to regain reading time at strategic moments (waiting at the dentist, in the hospital, etc.).
  • Yedda: A new dimension in reading, this entry from Superheroes and WPG publishers adds sound and light effects and speech technology to books, making it an original offering for an important target group: children.

In the next stage of competition, these longlisted startups will be asked to provide in-depth information and specifications about their work and then to make intensive video pitches to the jury about the promise of their projects.

Shopping in Amsterdam amid coronavirus COVID-19 restrictions, December 9. Image – iStockphoto: Livinus

More from Publishing Perspectives on startups is here, more from us on publishing awards programs is here, and more from us on the Netherlands is here.
More from us on the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on international book publishing is here
About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.