The world's first annual literary prize for webloggers launched today, designed specifically for books based on blogs.

The Blooker Prize was set up by, a self publishing site for authors. Prizes will be awarded for fiction, non-fiction and comic books with one overall winner.

Blooks differ from traditional books because they are more collaborative, often using the blog community to test ideas and develop story threads. Blooks are also usually written very quickly and are more likely to be in serial form.

"Blooks are the latest landmark in the history of books," said Bob Young, CEO of Lulu, who launched the prize to coincide with the 450th anniversary of Gutenberg's revolutionary movetable type printing press.

"They are a new stage in the life-cycle of content, if not an whole new category of literature, with its own creative process and emerging literary style."

English call girl blogger Belle de Jour is tipped for the prize, although the majority of entries are expected from the US and Canada where blogging is far more established.

Judges include Slashdot editor Robin Miller, iBiblio editor Paul Jones and author and Boing Boing co-editor Cory Doctorow.

"Blogs encourage their authors to publish in small, partially formed chunks," said Mr Doctorow.

"Previously, such jottings might have been kept in the author's notebook but something amazing happens when you post them online: readers help you connect them, flesh them out and grow them into fully-fledged books or blooks."

Prize money is $1,000 for each winner. Information on entering is on the Blooker Prize website. The shortlist will be published in March 2006 and the winner announced on 3 April.

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