The Los Angeles Times Book Prizes were the idea of Art Seidenbaum who was the newspaper's book editor between 1978 and 1985. The prizes were first awarded in 1980 with separate prizes being made in the categories of Fiction, History, and Poetry together with a General Award. However the General award lasted only one year, being replaced in the following year by the two separate categories of Biography and Current Interest. A Science and Technology prize was added in 1989, followed by a Young Adult Fiction prize in 1998 and a Mystery/Thriller category in 2000. In the meantime Art died in 1990 and the Los Angeles Times decided to honour his memory by adding the Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction. In each case the winner receives a citation, $1,000 and some welcome publicity.
The Categories of the Los Angeles Times Book Prizes are as follows;