In the early fifties Germany’s political division led to an almost simultaneous establishment of two book art competitions: parallel to the West German vote, begun in Frankfurt am Main in 1952 and organised from 1965 under the auspices of the Stiftung Buchkunst, »Die schönsten Bücher der DDR«/»The Best Books of the GDR« were honoured in Leipzig from 1953 on.

One decade later, when a new phase in the history of the Leipzig Book Fair began with the inauguration of the Messehaus am Markt, the international competition »Best Book Design from all over the World« was founded. The Ost-Börsenverein/Leipzig Book Traders’ Association and the commune planed it as a link between the international book art exhibitions reinvested from 1959 on in five-year intervals.

Since 1968 the exhibit was further upgraded by an affiliated thematic special show. The »Goldene Letter«, first given as a prize for the best contribution of these thematic exhibitions, later advanced to become the highest award of the contest. With the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989 the organisation of two parallel book art competitions had become obsolete. Since 1991 the Stiftung Buchkunst holds the competition and exhibition »Best Book Design from all over the World« in Leipzig.