Association of American Publishers to honor book critics

America's book critics are getting a pat on the back from the industry they cover.

The Association of American Publishers announced Wednesday that it will give its annual AAP Honors prize, for "significant achievements in promoting American books and authors," to the National Book Critics Circle.

"As newspapers across the country slashed book review space and fired experienced book editors in the name of belt-tightening, the NBCC decided to fight back," the AAP said in a statement, noting the NBCC's "Campaign to Save Book Reviews," which has included panel discussions, blogs and interviews with book editors "in the trenches."

The NBCC was founded in 1974 and has around 800 members.

AAP president and CEO Pat Schroeder said in a statement: "Since its founding more than three decades ago, the NBCC has played a central role in this country's literary dialogue, but never has its voice been stronger or more urgently needed."

Previous winners of the award, to be presented next March at the AAP's annual meeting, include Oprah Winfrey, Dolly Parton and the USA Today newspaper.