Organized by Reed Business Information, which publishes Variety, Library Journal and Publishers Weekly, and NBC television, the Quills Awards consist of 19 categories, from sports to debut fiction, with five finalists for each.
Winners will be announced at an Oct. 11 ceremony hosted by NBC anchor Brian Williams, to be aired Oct. 22.
Some of the proceeds from the ceremony, for which admission will range from $1,000 for a single ticket to $25,000 for a sponsorship table, will be donated to the Quills Literacy Foundation, launched earlier this year with funding from Reed.
The Quills themselves carry no cash prize, although the publishing industry hopes attention given to the awards will help increase sales.
"This is the first consumer-driven awards program that acknowledges the power and importance of the written word and celebrates literacy," Jay Ireland, president of NBC Universal Television Stations, said Thursday in a statement.
From Aug. 15 to Sept. 15, the public can vote online at quillsvote.com.
The nominees range from Rowling's multimillion selling "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," a finalist for best children's narrative for middle graders, to a new translation of the ancient epic "Gilgamesh," nominated in poetry. Voters can choose a "book of the year" by selecting a finalist from any category.
Dylan was cited for biography/memoir for "Chronicles, Volume One," while King and Stewart O'Nan were nominated for best sports book for "Faithful," a chronicle of the Boston Red Sox in 2004, when the baseball team broke a decades-long jinx and won the World Series.
Philip Roth's "The Plot Against America" is among the fiction nominees, which also include Marilynne Robinson and her Pulitzer Prize-winning "Gilead." David McCullough is a history/current events/politics finalist for "1776."
Other categories include mystery, humor and science fiction/fantasy. The finalists were chosen by a panel of thousands of booksellers and librarians and were required to meet one of several possible criteria that included an appearance on the best seller lists of Publishers Weekly, Barnes & Noble or Book Sense, a list based on sales at independent stores.
By Hillel Italie