Review of 2012 London Book Fair
My review of the 2011 London Book Fair (LBF) focused on the mismatch between the Jeremiah-ish Lamentations of the fair’s seminar programme and the buzz of the trading floor.
In 2012 I went to very few seminars – I was too busy doing my own bit to contribute to the buzz on the ground – so I found it difficult to judge how far that mismatch persisted. For what it is worth, my impression was that there was less lamentation about.
Over the course of the fair I try to walk round every part of it, just to get an overview and to try to ensure I’m not missing anything. My perambulation this year tended to tended to confirm Monographer’s First Law of Publishing (introduced in ‘Is publishing creative?’), i.e. “the larger the company, the less creative it will be”.
Certainly the most grandiose stands looked the most sterile. It seems too that there is a correlation between the size of the stand and the number of people required for each conversation. In hypothetical form: size of stand is (a) inverse correlated with creativity and (b) positively correlated with size of conversational group.
So it follows that size of group is inversely correlated with creativity. Could there be a causal link there, one wonders: larger discussions create a committee culture that privileges the obvious and drives out innovation?
The stands that intrigued me most belonged to smaller players. They included:
2. Preses nams Baltic, a printer from Riga exhibiting high-quality books that they had printed. I haven’t yet written anything in the notebook they presented me with: it seems a shame to scrawl in such a finely produced memento!
3. Desmyttere from the Netherlands, exhibiting a very disciplined, readily understood, series of books on marketing. Each book contains 22 tips. As the publisher of a series of books (the Professional and Higher Education series), each of which contain precisely 53 ideas, I felt a certain kinship.
Are there, I wonder, any other series out there devoted to numbers (apart from, that is, the obvious round numbers, such as 50 or 100)? If you’ve been publishing a series of 37s or 71s or whatever, please get in touch and we can form an association (or at least invent a handshake).