When the Governor's Writers Awards was established in 1967, it was based at the Washington State Library in Olympia. In 2001, the Washington Center for the Book based at the Seattle Public Library took over the administration of the program, renaming it as the Washington State Book Awards.
In 2005, an additional category was added to represent children's books. Since established, two children's books are honored each year with the Scandiuzzi Children's Book Awards. One book is honored for picture books, while the other for middle grades and young adults.
In 2006, the Center for the Book divided the entire awards program into categories, significantly reducing the number of awards presented. From 2006 through 2010, the genres of History and Biography formed one category. In 2011, Biography was regrouped with Memoir, while History was regrouped with General Nonfiction. As of 2013, the categories encompass General Nonfiction (History), Biography and Memoir, Fiction, Poetry, and two to four Scandiuzzi Children's Books Awards.
In 2017, the Washington Center for the Book became a joint partnership of the Washington State Library and The Seattle Public Library. The Washington State Book Awards continue as a project for the Center for the Book.
The 2017 Washington State Book Award winners (for books published in 2016) will be announced on Saturday, October 14, 2017. The deadline for the 2018 awards (for books published in 2017) is February 1, 2018.