NEW YORK — The National Book Awards are getting a rewrite.

New rules announced Tuesday include a "long list" of 10 nominees to be offered for each of the four competitive categories before being narrowed to the traditional five finalists. And the pool of judges will be expanded beyond writers to include critics, booksellers and librarians.

The changes are the most extensive since the mid-1990s for the awards, presented each fall by the National Book Foundation, as the major New York publishers attempt to broaden their appeal. The publishers have been unhappy with the selection of fiction finalists in recent years and the omission of such high-profile works as Jonathan Franzen's "Freedom" and Marilynne Robinson's "Gilead."

The expansion to 10 mirrors a recent change in the Oscars, but foundation board members said they had been looking to Britain's popular Man Booker Prize as a model.

"We just basically borrowed some of their ideas," said foundation board vice president and Grove/Atlantic CEO Morgan Entrekin, citing the Bookers' use of long lists and non-writers as judges. "The Bookers do a fantastic job at getting a conversation going about good books. With the long list, for instance, you get this conversation bubbling up about what made it and then about what doesn't get on the short list."

Entrekin said that some of the recent National Book Award fiction lists, which usually get the most attention, had been "very eccentric" and that allowing critics and booksellers as judges could open up the process. The results, he thinks, will be a "little more mainstream," and less likely to include "a collection of stories by a university press."

"I think there are plenty of awards that recognize those kinds of books," Entrekin said. "If one of those books is truly the best book of the year, that's no problem. But it seemed like the judges had been recognizing lesser-known authors for the sake of choosing lesser-known authors."

The revisions cap a year-long process during which the book foundation hired an independent consulting firm to discuss the awards with booksellers, editors, writers and others in the literary community. Some ideas were rejected, such as allowing celebrities to be judges. The board also voted not to limit the number of books a publisher could submit, a suggested solution to the complaint that the time commitment needed to read hundreds of new works had made it difficult to find judges.

"We're asking people to read a lot of books, but some of these librarians and booksellers we hope to bring in are reading a lot of books anyway," Entrekin said.

"Our mission is to celebrate literature and expand its audience and we chose the path most consistent with our mission," said David Steinberger, chairman of the foundation's board and CEO of the Perseus Books Group.

This fall's long list will be announced Sept. 12, followed by the short list on Oct. 15 and the winners on Nov. 20.

The National Book Awards have changed several times since being founded in 1950. Winners, who have included William Faulkner, Ralph Ellison and Saul Bellow, were originally announced in advance of the ceremony. The number of categories and nominees have expanded and contracted, with 17 finalists for nonfiction in 1957 and more than 20 competitive categories in the early 1980s.

Awards for translation, "contemporary thought" and first novel have been added, then dropped. For a brief time, even the awards' name was changed, to the American Book Awards.

The format had been stable in recent years: competitive awards given for fiction, nonfiction, poetry and young people's literature, and five finalists announced for each category, picked by five-judge panels of writers that change annually. Over the past two decades, the National Book Foundation has attempted to draw more attention to the actual ceremony, bringing in such celebrities as Steve Martin and Andy Borowitz to host and moving the venue from a Marriott hotel ballroom to the more upscale Cipriani Wall Street.

Like the Academy Awards or the Grammys, the National Book Awards ceremony is an industry's showcase for itself, a balance between rewarding excellence and increasing sales that ideally achieves both. Major publishers are directly invested. They're represented on the board of the National Book Foundation and pay thousands of dollars for tables at the ceremony.

Ironically, publishers were happy with the fiction nominees of 2012, the last group to be voted on under the old rules. The finalists included a mix of well-known writers (Louise Erdrich, Junot Diaz, Dave Eggers) and debut novelists (Ben Fountain and Kevin Powers).

For years, foundation executive director Harold Augenbraum has issued oral instructions to judges that they should not pick books based on the publisher or commercial success or the author's reputation. In 2012, the point was reinforced in written guidelines that stated "fame or obscurity, small press or large, should have no bearing" on their decisions.

"I have no idea if that made any difference," Augenbraum said. "In fact, one judge thought the rules meant not to overlook the smaller presses."

Related on HuffPost:

Loading Slideshow...
  • Ninety Days: A Memoir of Recovery by Bill Clegg

    A raw, honest and very well-written tale of alcoholism and drug abuse by a big-name literary agent. -Andrew Losowsky, Books Editor

  • The Yellow Birds: A Novel by Kevin Powers

    At its best, it's a lyrical, unpretentious book about the Iraq War. -Andrew Losowsky, Books Editor

  • My Heart Is an Idiot: Essays by Davy Rothbart

    Big hearted, honest and self-deprecating tales by the co-creator of Found magazine. -Andrew Losowsky, Books Editor

  • Lifespan of a Fact by John D'Agata and Jim Fingal

    Fascinating examination of the gap between truth and literary truth. -Andrew Losowsky, Books Editor

  • Immobility by Brian Evenson

    A dark and compelling dystopian vision. -Andrew Losowsky, Books Editor

  • Page 1: Great Expectations by GraphicDesign&

    A reminder that the best book design is as much content as the text. -Andrew Losowsky, Books Editor

  • Suddenly, A Knock At The Door by Etgar Keret

    Amusing takes on the surreality of reality. -Andrew Losowsky, Books Editor

  • Object Lessons: The Paris Review Presents the Art of the Short Story

    Short stories by the masters of the genre, introduced by some of the biggest names in contemporary literature. -Andrew Losowsky, Books Editor

  • The Elephant Keepers' Children by Peter Hoeg

    A lovely escapist farce with a serious core. -Andrew Losowsky, Books Editor

  • Zona: A Book About a Film About a Journey to a Room by Geoff Dyer

    Dyer's part memoir, part commentary is incredibly artful and engaging. -Andrew Losowsky, Books Editor

  • No One is Here Except All Of Us by Ramona Ausubel

    An achingly lyrical tale of a Jewish village that chooses to reinvent its entire world to protect themselves against the impending Nazi arrival. -Andrew Losowsky, Books Editor

  • Swimming Home by Deborah Levy

    Short, simple and haunting. -Madeleine Crum, Assistant Books Editor

  • How Should a Person Be?: A Novel from Life by Sheila Heti

    Heti's smart, hilarious book is perfect for fans of HBO's "Girls." -Madeleine Crum, Assistant Books Editor

  • Farther Away: Essays by Jonathan Franzen

    If you haven't read Franzen's nonfiction, it's worth a look - I'd even say it's his strength. -Madeleine Crum, Assistant Books Editor

  • Birds of a Lesser Paradise by Megan Mayhew Bergman

    These short stories paint our complicated relationship with nature, from the hypocrisy of Greenpeacers to the sometimes animal-like capriciousness of our emotions. -Madeleine Crum, Assistant Books Editor

  • American Dervish by Ayad Akhtar

    A young boy falls in love while studying the Quran, and battles with the complicated, contradicting emotions that arise. -Madeleine Crum, Assistant Books Editor

  • Swimming Studies by Leanne Shapton

    These gorgeous fragments illustrate the weird world of competitive swimming in a way that is both funny and poetic. -Madeleine Crum, Assistant Books Editor

  • As If by Michael Saler

    Saler explores the motives behind members of societies devoted to imaginary worlds, such as those created by Tolkien and Doyle, and in doing so uncovers some fascinating truths about society. -Madeleine Crum, Assistant Books Editor

  • When I Was a Child I Read Books by Marilynne Robinson

    Robinson's nonfiction is as beautiful and engaging as her fiction. -Madeleine Crum, Assistant Books Editor

  • Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

    I hadn't read a thriller since high school, but this book came so highly recommended that I had to read it. It certainly didn't disappoint. This tale of the aftermath of a woman gone missing will keep you up reading all night just so you can get to the very satisfying, very chilling ending. -Zoë Triska, Associate Books Editor

  • This is How You Lose Her by Junot Díaz

    I read this book BEFORE I read "The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao" and it was so amazing that I immediately started reading his earlier work. -Zoë Triska, Associate Books Editor

  • Penelope by Rebecca Harrington

    Rebecca's debut novel is a witty, hilarious take on a girl's freshman year at Harvard (and Rebecca actually went to Harvard, so it's pretty accurate). It'll make you simultaneously miss college and be glad that you've already graduated. Full disclosure: She's the totally amazing College Editor at the Huffington Post. -Zoë Triska, Associate Books Editor

  • The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

    John Green's funny, touching portrait of a teenage cancer patient's first experience with romance will have you laughing and crying. It might sound corny, but I assure you that it's not. -Zoë Triska, Associate Books Editor

  • Billy Flynn's Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain

    This funny, scary, touching tale feels so true that it's sometimes hard to remember that it's fiction. Bonus: this book will make one heck of a movie.