The aim of the International Bookbinding Competition is to promote the art of bookbinding. It is organized every 2 years by the association World Art Binding Biennials.


The principle of the competition is simple: the association prints a work of its choice taken from French literature and proposes it, numbered and ready to bind, to amateur and professional binders and bookbinding schools around the world, from the month of January of odd years.

Each book is unique and benefits from high-quality lead letterpress printing, on 160 g rag Vélin d’Arches. The books to be bound are printed in France by printing house Cheyne labeled “Entreprise du Patrimoine Vivant.”

Illustrations are included, created by an artist chosen by the association. Bookbinders are free to insert the illustrations as they wish.

No constraints are imposed on the shapes, techniques and materials used. But the perfection of the realization takes precedence above all in the choice of the winners by an international jury.

Each candidate has until May 25th to create the binding of their choice.

Participation form and shipping instructions

Sending your binding

  • The binging must be carefully packaged, with disposable packaging material (that will not be returned to you)
  • The binding must be sent accompanied imperatively by the completed participation form. Please fill in on line, then print and attach the document to the binding before sending.
  • The binding must be sent to the address:

Biennales Mondiales de la Reliure d’Art

2 rue Victor Hugo

F-78470 Saint-Rémy-lès-Chevreuse (France)

  • Each Biennial ends with the presentation to the public in September of all the bindings received in Saint-Rémy-lès-Chevreuse (78-France).

Restitution of bindings

The bindings will be returned to the bookbinders :

  • either at the end of the exhibition on sunday at 5 PM
  • or sent back by carrier at bookbinders’ cost. If you wish this service, please follow this link to order it : reshipping the binding after exhibition.

Awarding of prizes

The awards are given by public and private partners, all associated with the event.

On reception, the bindings are assigned a number, in order of arrival. All, without exception, are presented anonymously to the Jury. Each member selects around twenty works from among them. These are gathered together on a table.

Each juror then gives all the selected bindings a score for the following criteria: quality of execution, adequacy with the subject of the book, aesthetics, originality of the materials and technical performance. We add up the scores obtained and the prizes are awarded in descending order of the results.

We proceed the same way for the schools, after having placed back the bindings that  had been preselected, which gives the school an extra chance.

Regarding the prizes given by the sponsors: we show them the books preselected by the Jury but a sponsor may have a “crush” for another work and not follow its advice.

Only after all the prizes have been awarded, the names of the winners are revealed.

Approximately 15 prizes are awarded.


An international jury composed of 6 to 8 professionals, recognized in the world of fine bookbinding or bibliophiles, meets in June of the even year.

Theme of the contest

The “World Art Binding Biennials” put French literature in the spotlight: Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Joseph Kessel, Albert Camus, Victor Hugo, Michel Tournier, Maurice Leblanc, Jean de la Fontaine, Charles Perrault, Beaumarchais, Jules Verne, …

All candidates create a binding on the same theme, which makes the specificity of this competition.

Contest rules

Close 1

The “Biennials of Art Binding” Association organizes an art binding competition every two years, on a book chosen by the association and especially printed for this purpose.

Close 2

The association informs professional and amateur bookbinders by email and via social networks of the opening of inscriptions. By participating in the competition, the competitor accepts these rules.

Close 3

Registration for the competition includes the purchase of the book to be bound at the unit price indicated on the website.  For schools and binding workshops, a reduced price is granted for any group-purchase made by at least 10 participants. Bookbinding schools and workshops can compete for the special “Inter-school” prize.

Close 4

Registration for the competition entitles you to:

  • the mailing of the book to be bound (supplied in sections), as well as the illustrations; the book is numbered;
  • the presentation of the binding at the exhibition;
  • publication in the catalog if  presented at the exhibition;
  • free access to the exhibition for the bookbinder and one accompanying person,
  • reshipment of the binding with the catalog after the exhibition; additional shipping costs depending on the country of destination payable by the binder.

Close 5

The association reserves the right to accept or refuse registration without having to justify the reasons.

Close 6

The association alone determines the theme of each competition and the amount of the prizes awarded.

Close 7

The rewards consist of vouchers from suppliers present at the exhibition. They can only be given to the winner or their duly authorized representative. No shipment is made. In the event of non-delivery of the prize, it remains the property of the Association.

Close 8

The members of the Jury are appointed by the association and their decisions are final. The other prizes are awarded at the discretion of the sponsors, in the presence of the members of the Jury.

Close 9

Protests will be examined by the Board of the Association and its decision is irrevocable.

Close 10

The Court of Versailles has sole jurisdiction to settle any dispute that could not be resolved amicably with the Board of the Association.