Not the London Book Fair (II): an alternative to #LBF?

So, as I explained in my previous post, this year I decided not to attend  the London Book Fair, but instead to visit Publishing & Media Expo.

What, as a stray book publisher at a magazine guys’ event, did I learn?

Some specific information of use in my industry – mainly concerning print and technology software, such as e-book creation tools.

More useful than the specific information, however, was the stimulus to think laterally.

I attended one session called ‘The way forward for print’. To my delight, it got way beyond the oh-so-boring discussion of the media’s relative market shares to analyse specific qualities and uses of print media.

I asked the panel what the strongest redoubts of print were. They gave three answers:

1. university prospectuses;

2. sports programmes;

3. supermarket magazines.

(1) surprised me: apparently foreign students often find it convenient to take a print prospectus with them when applying for a visa. This has made me think about what consumers actually do with marketing collateral. As a result, we’ve been experimenting with library recommendation forms in print as well as digital form.

I’m not sure I agree about (2). On a recent trip up the east cost mainline I met the editor of Sunderland AFC’s programme. During our conversation he told me he could see the day when spectators in their seats will be able to read screens embedded in the back of the chairs in front, as on aeroplanes now.

(3) provided one of those ‘oh, yeah’ moments: I’d been thinking about the role of print for years; at the same time I have become increasingly aware of supermarket magazines; but somehow I’d never connected the two.

If you’re a book publisher who likes to think laterally, Publishing & Media Expo may prove worth a visit.


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