Two Nobel Prizes in Literature were awarded today due to last year's controversies. Are awards, big or small, worth the money and effort to publishers and authors? Nobels aside, there are many awards open to a variety of publications from books, textbooks, journals, magazines, digital products, blogs, publishers, authors, and more.
Some organizations require a submission while others survey the landscape and choose who to long or shortlist. Many require a formal submission application and many an entry fee. Then there is the time by the judging panel to comb through entries based on a specific criteria. I have been on three panels (all volunteer) and can confirm they do take time.
Publishers or authors may question if these non-major awards are worth the time and effort. My answer is either yes they are worth it or "it depends."
If an award is bestowed on a book, especially early on its publication, then it gives great marketing and promotional opportunities. Who doesn't love to see on a cover, in the description, or at the website: Winner of the 2019 XYZ Award for Best ABC? Even if the publication has been out awhile, an award may give an opportunity for a new promotional push.
Deciding factors not to submit to an award include: lack of confidence in the possibility of winning it, prohibitive costs, or concern that is really a scam and does not carry any prestige.
Look at competitors and see what awards they note having won. Notice your own habits of seeing or being influenced by awards when you are evaluating publishing efforts.
Don't shy away simply because of costs. Give it a shot and perhaps you two might be able to say, "Winner of the 2019..."