london book fair 2008

London Book Fair
photo by FlickrDelusions
Another year, another Book Fair, another year older. Yes, Publishing Talk is one year old, dear reader; and you’ve helped develop it into one of the largest publishing communities on the Internet – now with around 1,200 Facebook Group members.
As for me, I’ve been a bad blogger. Busy with Other Things (who wants to do a guest posting? no, really…) This week I’ve been busy at the London Book Fair. Unlike last year, when I pitched up to meet mates and go to seminars, I’ve been in constant meetings, and not had time to attend sessions, despite various friends of the show – including Danuta Kean and Sara Lloyd – being involved with them. I’m starting to think I may need a stand for next year – I don’t have the stamina to flanneur around Earl’s Court for three days! Maybe a little Publishing Talk party next year too – whaddyarek?
It’s not all work, though – most stands seem to start cocktail hour as early as 3.30, so plenty of opportunities for catching up with friends. Including, today, Suzanne Ashley in her new role as Publishing Sector Manager at Skillset, which launched this month – an important development for the UK publishing industry; and publisher-turned-author Keith Mansfield, widely touted (by me) as the new J.K. Rowling.
I will be attending the social media seminar tomorrow, so will report back on that one. Meanwhile, here’s what other’s are saying about this year’s London Book Fair:

…There is no use wandering through the delights of West London, admiring the pretty clouds and listening to the birds tweeting before nipping in to the fair for some light banter. If that is your attitude then just go home now. Remember at all times that the LBF is a war zone and you have got to be Kate Adie/Martin Bell and Osama Bin Laden all rolled into one. Watch “Jerry Maguire”, “The Devil Wears Prada” and “Apocalypse Now” the night before, read The Art Of War on the way in and listen to “The Ride of the Valkyries” on your iPod as you stride through the doors to face the enemy.

If smaller publishers had the same income to invest in new technology or the resources to embrace podcast, vodcasts, email marketing and full-on public relations activities as these mighty giants, than I am sure the book industry would be a different game altogether today. Is it change that the established players fear? I don’t think so. I believe it is a mixture of ignorance and arrogance. The upshot for the small guy though is that many of these new marketing and promotional tools can actually cost nothing more than time and intelligence. Many publishers have not even embraced blogging yet…why? Opinion matters and the Internet has enabled small and large alike to influence and help change opinion through argument and constructed thought.

During a seminar today at the London Book Fair titled “How to Digitize your Content” (not to be confused with our own “Digitizing Your Backlist“), Penguin Group Digital Director Genevieve Shore shared some interesting insights about Penguin’s growing ebook program:

  • Though Penguin USA has been selling ebooks for 10 years, 2007 was the first time they saw “interesting revenue”
  • In the first two months of 2008, Penguin USA has sold more ebooks than in all of 2007
  • Readers now expect new frontlist titles to be available as ebooks at the same time they show up in bookstores

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Jon Reed

Jon Reed is a content writer, author, screenwriter, lecturer, blogger - and the founder of Publishing Talk. He was previously a publisher for 10 years. Publishing Talk aims to help new and emerging authors write, publish and sell books. Advice is available via the blog and our masterclasses and membership programme. More...

One thought on “london book fair 2008

  • 16th April 2008 at 2:10 pm
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    Keep touting! Big thumbs up for a Publishing Talk party next year. I shall try to persuade Quercus to do the same for Johnny Mackintosh, making sure it’s on a different day.

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