Designer Bookbinders International Bookbinding Competition 2017
In association with Mark Getty and the Bodleian Libraries, Oxford, Great Britain

Binders worldwide are invited to enter Designer Bookbinders third International Competition. The event is being organised in association with the Bodleian Libraries, Oxford, and supported by Mark Getty. There will be no set book. Instead the Competition will have the theme of Myths, Heroes & Legends. Binders may choose a text which celebrates extraordinary figures, both real and imaginary, from any age.

It is hoped that entrants will be stimulated by the opportunity to source and work with a text of their choice and feel encouraged to use a wide range of structures, materials, and design techniques. It is worth noting that many collectors who purchase work from the competition place great importance on the quality of the text as well as the style of the binding.


ENTRY FEE £85.00 (All prices are quoted in £ sterling)
This fee includes:

Registration for ONE submission
ONE copy of the International Competition catalogue
A signed Diploma of Participation
Insurance cover from date of receipt of binding in Oxford, during the exhibition and tour, and in postal transit back to the binder
Postage for return of the binding and catalogue

Registration and payment can be made in two ways:

By Post: completing the Registration Form (click here) and returning it using one of the 3 payment methods indicated on the Form.


Online: You must complete the Registration Form (click here) and return it to the organiser by post or email and then pay via PayPal here. Please note that it is not necessary to have a PayPal account.

Registration fees are non-refundable.


Two major prizes will be awarded in honour of Sir Paul Getty KBE (1932-2003), one of our greatest book collectors and a passionate advocate for the art and craft of bookbinding.

The Sir Paul Getty Bodleian Bookbinding Prizes:
1st Prize £10,000
2nd Prize £6,000

A further 25 highly-commended entrants will receive a Silver Prize

Oxford University Students’ Choice: £500

It is a stipulation of entry that the 1st prizewinning binding will be given by the binder to the Bodleian Library, and that the 2nd prizewinning binding will be given by the binder to the Getty Collection at Wormsley in Oxfordshire.


The Jury will comprise of an international panel of who will be looking for a high standard of craftsmanship and technical ability with relation to the bookbinding process, together with original, innovative and accomplished design.


The closing date for submission of bindings to reach the Bodleian Library is 30 September 2016 and bindings should arrive no earlier than 1 September 2016.
Work arriving after 30 September 2016 can only be considered for judging at the organisers’ discretion.

Judging will take place in Oxford in November 2016.
The Judges’ decision is final and neither Designer Bookbinders nor the judges can enter into any correspondence.

The award ceremony and opening of the exhibition (two-day event) will take place in June 2017.
Dates will be communicated to all entrants in good time.


An exhibition of work will be selected, including all the prizewinners, from the total number of bindings submitted. This exhibition will open at the Bodleian Library, Oxford, in June 2017 and a small tour is planned. The remaining bindings will be returned to the binders after judging.


A full-colour catalogue will be produced to record the International Competition 2017 with a photograph and description of every binding submitted. All entrants will receive a copy of this Competition catalogue together with a signed Diploma of Participation.


Registration Forms must be completed, signed and sent back with full payment by 1 October 2015.
Your finished binding must arrive in Oxford by 30 September 2016. Your name, or any kind of identifying personal mark or symbol, must not appear on any part of your submitted binding. Except for edge-gilding, all work submitted must be made entirely by the individual binder. Any binding made by more than one individual will not be accepted.

Size limitations
Maximum dimensions: 350 x 350 x 100mm
Minimum dimensions: 100 x 100 x 10mm

Weight Limitation
Maximum weight of the binding and its display box must not exceed 5 Kilograms.

Due to the space limitations of the showcases, any binding exceeding the maximum dimensions will not be considered.

Entry Forms and full details of where to send your binding will be sent to you with your submission number in November 2015. These Entry Forms must be completed giving a full description of your binding which will be used in the catalogue. Information must be typed in upper and lower case. However, if a binder needs to hand-write the form, capital letters must be used for legibility.

You must email your Entry Form as a Word document to
and also make sure you include a hard copy with your binding.


Binders are requested to make sure that the packaging used gives adequate protection in transit. On previous occasions some bindings have arrived damaged due to insufficiently robust packing. Binders must ensure that the book fits snugly in an bespoke box or slipcase and then packed with bubblewrap and placed into a sturdy double walled cardboard postal box which can be reused to send back the binding. The final package should not exceed 600 x 400 x 300mm and the finished postal weight should not exceed 7 Kilograms.


Binders are responsible for insuring their work in transit to the delivery address in Oxford. The work will then be insured by Designer Bookbinders from the date it is received by the Competition organisers in Oxford to include the exhibition in Oxford, the exhibition tour and the return to the binder.


The organisers cannot handle any sales, but will be happy to pass on enquiries to the binder.
The Competition is open to all binders except the Board of Judges. The organisers can submit work but cannot be eligible for a prize.


There are a number of websites which good quality texts in a wide selection of versions, language and price. Here are a few examples to help with your search:
Small Press and publishing sites in your country.



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