Not the London Book Fair (I)

Regular readers will know I usually attend the London Book Fair and post reviews afterwards (for example, here). This year there’ll be no review – I’ve decided against going to the fair.

Why? For years now I’ve been attending mainly to show that (a) I haven’t died and (b) we haven’t gone bust or ben taken over. Now it’s dawned on me that I can use social media to get those messages across, the raison d’être has gone. I must say, I feel a sense of relief.

Even better, I took the decision this year to attend Publishing & Media Expo instead. I hadn’t been before: the ‘Publishing’ in the title refers primarily to magazine publishing. If there were other book publishers there, I didn’t meet them.

My experience was very positive. In particular:

  • there was a good rhythm to the day, with lots of 40 minute sessions and gaps in between;
  • the scale of the event was manageable;
  • the speakers I heard were markedly well informed;
  • the presentations tended to be both forthright and informative; 
  • the more upfront, sales-y, feel of the floor (rather than people standing defensively behind tables) meant one tended to obtain required information rapidly.

As a book publisher I was treated with polite interest as a visitor from a neighbouring country, rather than from another planet.

Some of the specific information that I learnt could be applied to book publishing — mostly concerning potential suppliers. But the most useful stuff was more general. On which, more tomorrow.


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