Most of us would agree that a book that has won an award is more likely to be picked up and viewed by the general public than one which has not... Especially if they are sitting next to one another on a shelf.
That being true, I try to give the "other guy" a look as well, out of general respect and the fact that I don't know who gave the award, or why.
I also have experience in the art show world. I am constantly astonished at some people's bad taste, and complete lack of any taste whatsoever. I'm not talking about a difference in style, I'm talking about a basic level of quality that has just not matured in any unique way. I have seen people overpay to purchase "art" that is just plain bad; yet they hand over their hard earned money and smile as they leave the booth.
It frustrates me.
I feel the same way when I see some of the picture books that win awards. Awards should exemplify excellence achieved, not attempted. I recently read a number of gold medal winners of the "award-not-to-be-named". One book was rhyming. I found the meter and rhythm to be off in a number of places and the settling for near-rhymes infuriating. Another wasn't really for children at all, or young people of any age (I don't know who the target is). The art was fair but did not illustrate, and I could not bring myself to read the whole thing, it was that bad. It might have included some interesting sermon concepts or therapy group questions, but I couldn't get through more than a few pages because the author used a passive voice in her writing.
And yet they had beautiful gold seal stickers proudly on their covers.
I guess my point is this: ignore the awards. They help sell the book, but they don't make the book good. Take the time to look at it before you buy it, and look at those without the fancy seal as well! Demand and buy quality, regardless of who the mysterious "they" give the award to.