SHARP Book History Book Prize

Each year, SHARP recognizes the best book published on any aspect of the creation, dissemination, or uses of script or print with a US$1,000 award to its author.

Begun in 1997, with the origin of SHARP itself, the prize was supported from 2004 through 2022 with support from the DeLong family and was known as the George A. and Jeanne S. DeLong Book History Book Prize. The award is now supported by SHARP’s funds and continues to recognize outstanding work published in our field as the SHARP Book History Book Prize.


Publishers, to nominate your title(s), please:

  • Contact SHARP Executive Assistant at to specify which title(s) you are nominating and to request mailing addresses.
  • Mail 5 copies of each title (i.e., one copy of each title to each of the members of the jury, the Director of Awards and the Executive Assistant).
  • Contact SHARP Executive Assistant at to confirm that you have mailed 5 copies of each of your titles.
  • Please note that submissions must be in the possession of all members of the jury by Friday, January 19, 2024 and that copies of books are non-returnable.

Publishers are invited to nominate books in or related to the field of book history. All submissions must be in English and must have been copyrighted in 2023. (Translations of works originally copyrighted earlier are eligible, but the translations themselves must have been copyrighted in 2023.) Because the purpose of the prize is to honor the work of an individual scholar or of scholars working closely together writing a jointly-authored monograph, collections of essays, reference works, bibliographies, and other collaborative projects are not eligible and will not be considered.

The 2024 Winner

We are delighted to award the 2024 Book History Book Prize to Sebouh David Aslanian for Early Modernity and Mobility: Port Cities and Printers across the Armenian Diaspora, 1512-1800 (Yale University Press, 2023). 

The jurors, Daniel Bellingradt, Kinohi Nishikawa and Susan Pickford, write: 

Professor Aslanian’s monograph is an outstanding contribution to the history of the book for its ability to render unfamiliar the print landscape of early modern Europe. By tracing Armenian transregional networks of print through the dynamic hubs of port cities, Professor Aslanian recounts a story of forced and voluntary mobility that connected printers, traders, and readers across Europe and Asia. In so doing, he offers nothing less than a history of the making of the modern Armenian diaspora through a study of its print communication circuits. 

Drawing on extensive archival work in collections around the world, Professor Aslanian models a diasporic approach to histoire du livre that reconceptualizes the sociality and materiality of book production through port-city exchange. The mobility associated with seafaring allows Professor Aslanian to identify 40 Armenian presses operating in 19 locations from Venice to Amsterdam to St. Petersburg to Calcutta. For a historically marginalized people, commercial trade proved to be the means by which communication among far-flung readers could be facilitated. In turn, the circulation of books through port cities allowed Armenians to document and share knowledge about the violence and injustice they had suffered under successive waves of displacement. Thus, in Professor Aslanian’s work, we see how the global circuits of print helped the Armenian people at once resist the terms of their mass dispossession by others and fashion a new collective identity among themselves. 

In Early Modernity and Mobility, we encounter a remarkably resilient network of printers, traders, and readers from the past, but we also hear in these pages echoes of marginalization, dispossession, and resistance through transregional communication today. To the extent that it speaks to our present moment, Professor Aslanian’s study does so by combining a fresh look at the global stakes of book history with an abiding commitment to conducting meticulous archival research. We commend him for the lasting contribution that his book has made to the field, to our professions, and to the recovery of marginalized peoples’ histories as an ethical and scholarly practice.

War on Record: The Archive and the Afterlife of the Civil War (Yale University Press, 2023) by Yael A. Sternhell and The Science of Reading: Information, Media, and Mind in Modern America (Chicago University Press, 2023) by Adrian Johns, were also highly commended.

Previous awardees


  • Kirsten Silva Gruesz, Cotton Mather’s Spanish Lessons: A Story of Language, Race, and Belonging in the Early Americas (Harvard University Press, 2022) and Michelle R. Warren, Holy Digital Grail: A Medieval Book on the Internet (Stanford University Press, 2022)


  • Elizabeth McHenry, To Make Negro Literature: Writing, Literary Practice, and African American Authorship (Duke University Press, 2021)
  • Highly Commended: Margaret Meserve, Papal Bull: Print, Politics, and Propaganda in Renaissance Rome (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2021)


  • Kathy Peiss, Information Hunters: When Librarians, Soldiers, and Spies Banded Together in World War II Europe (Oxford University Press, 2020)
  • Highly Commended: Robert Goree, Printing Landmarks: Popular Geography and Meisho Zue in Late Tokugawa Japan (Harvard Asia Center, 2020)


  • Jeffrey T. Zalar, Reading and Rebellion in Catholic Germany, 17701914 (Cambridge University Press, 2019)
  • Highly Commended: Robert Culp, The Power of Print in Modern China (Columbia University Press, 2019); Jennifer Richards, Voices and Books in the English Renaissance (Oxford University Press, 2019); Fei-Hsien Wang, Pirates and Publishers: A Social History of Copyright in Modern China (Princeton University Press, 2019)


  • Brent Nongbri, God’s Library: The Archaeology of the Earliest Christian Manuscripts (Yale University Press, 2018)
  • Highly Commended: David McKitterick, The Invention of Rare Books: Private Interest and Public Memory, 1600–1840 (Cambridge University Press, 2018); Adam Smyth, Material Texts in Early Modern England (Cambridge University Press, 2018)


  • Eric Marshall White, Editio Princeps: A History of the Gutenberg Bible (Brepols, 2017)
  • Highly Commended: Tom Mole, What the Victorians Made of Romanticism: Material Artifacts, Cultural Practices, and Reception History (Princeton University Press, 2016)


  • Eva Mroczek, The Literary Imagination in Jewish Antiquity (Oxford University Press, 2016)
  • Highly Commended: Jonathan G Alexander, The Painted Book in Renaissance Italy, 1450–1650 (Yale University Press, 2016); Noah Millstone, Manuscript Circulation and the Invention of Politics in Early Stuart England (Cambridge University Press, 2016)


  • Kristina Lundblad, Bound to be Modern: Publishers’ Cloth Bindings and the Material Culture of the Book, 1840-1914 (Oak Knoll Press, 2015; translated by Alan Crozier)
  • Highly Commended: Nick Hopwood, Haeckel’s Embryos: Images, Evolution, and Fraud (University of Chicago Press, 2015); Kate Loveman, Samuel Pepys and His Books: Reading, Newsgathering, and Sociability, 1660-1703 (Oxford University Press, 2015)


  • Daniel Wakelin, Scribal Correction and Literary Craft: English Manuscripts 1375-1510 (Cambridge University Press, 2014)
  • Highly Commended: Paula Rabinowitz, American Pulp: How Paperbacks brought Modernism to Main Street (Princeton University Press, 2014)


  • David McKitterick, Old Books, New Technologies. The Representation, Conservation and Transformation of Books since 1700 (Cambridge University Press, 2013)
  • Highly Commended: Ellen Gruber Garvey, Writing with Scissors: American Scrapbooks from the Civil War to the Harlem Renaissance (Oxford University Press, 2013)


  • Helen Smith, ‘Grossly Material Things’: Women and Book Production in Early Modern England (Oxford University Press, 2012)
  • Highly Commended: Sachiko Kusukawa, Picturing the Book of Nature: Image, Text, and Argument in Sixteenth-Century Human Anatomy and Medical Botany (University of Chicago Press, 2012); Mary Franklin-Brown, Reading the World: Encyclopedic Writing in the Scholastic Age (University of Chicago Press, 2012)


  • Barbara Hochman, “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” and the Reading Revolution (University of Massachusetts Press, 2011)


  • John B. Hench, Books as Weapons: Propaganda, Publishing, and the Battle for Global Markets in the Era of World War II (Cornell University Press, 2010)


  • Catherine J. Golden, Posting It: The Victorian Revolution in Letter Writing (University Press of Florida, 2009)


  • Matthew Kirschenbaum, Mechanisms: New Media and the Forensic Imagination (MIT Press, 2008)


  • James Raven, The Business of Books: Booksellers and the English Book Trade 1450-1850 (Yale University Press, 2007)


  • Rimi B. Chatterjee, Empires of the Mind: A History of the Oxford University Press in India During the Raj (Oxford University Press, 2006)


  • Heather Andrea Williams, Self-Taught: African American Education in Freedom and Slavery (University of North Carolina Press, 2005).


  • Simone Murray, Mixed Media: Feminist Presses and Publishing Politics (University of Michigan Press, 2004)


  • Janine Barchas, Graphic Design, Print Culture, and the Eighteenth-Century Novel (Cambridge University Press, 2003)


  • Elizabeth McHenry, Forgotten Readers: Recovering the Lost History of African American Literary Societies (Duke University Press, 2002)


  • Jonathan Rose, The Intellectual Life of the British Working Classes (Yale University Press, 2001)


  • Kevin Sharpe, Reading Revolutions: The Politics of Reading in Early Modern England (Yale University Press, 2000)


  • Scott Caspar, Constructing American Lives: Biography and Culture in Nineteenth-century America (University of North Carolina Press, 1999)


  • Adrian Johns, The Nature of the Book: Print and Knowledge in the Making (University of Chicago Press, 1998)


  • Marianna Shreve Simpson, Sultan Ibrahim Mirza’s Haft Awrang: A Princely Manuscript from Sixteenth-Century Iran (Yale University Press, 1997)


  • Ellen Gruber Garvey, The Adman in the Parlor: Magazines and the Gendering of Consumer Culture, 1880s-1910s (Oxford University Press, 1996)