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5 questions for Jacks Thomas, Director of The London Book Fair [INTERVIEW]

Portrait of Ann Bissell of Midas PRJacks Thomas is the Director of The London Book Fair and she will be BookMachine London’s speaker on 27th February. I caught up with her to find out what the new plans are for LBF14 as well as getting a bit of an insight into the running of the fair.

1. What’s new for LBF this year that visitors must make a note to see and do?

Firstly, new dates!  This year’s Fair starts on a Tuesday, rather than starting on a Monday as it has done in recent years, which means our Publishing for Digital Minds Conference will now take place on the Monday before the Fair.

Korea is Market Focus country, so there will be a full programme of professional and cultural events showcasing Korea, and we also have bestselling writer Sun-mi Hwang as our Market Focus Author of the Day. We’re very lucky once again this year as our other Authors of the Day are Terry Pratchett and Malorie Blackman.  I would definitely suggest visitors go to their talks on the PEN Literary Salon.

This year we have a brand new academic theatre located in LBF’s Academic & Scholarly zone called The Faculty @ LBF and LBF’s dedicated area for authors has been expanded and re-launched for 2014 as Author HQ, with a three day events programme for self-published writers to learn more about the industry.  We are also launching Gaming @ LBF, a dedicated space for developers and publishers to connect.

Don’t miss the virtual golf tournament either…more on that anon!

There will be over 250 free-to-attend events in LBF’s “Insights” seminar programme, with a staggering range of topics, I would highly recommend visitors attend some of these sessions.

2. Can you give us a bit more detail on the International Publishing Industry Excellence Awards, and why they fill the gaps that other awarding bodies aren’t fulfilling?

I take your point but the key difference with these awards is that they look out from the UK to the rest of the world.  To win, you will be operating outside the UK.  So these awards fill a gap in that they celebrate international achievement across the whole business of publishing and a truly global view of the book world.  The awards will hopefully be simple, slick and celebratory a fab opportunity for the UK publishing industry to recognise and showcase the achievements of their international publishing industry colleagues.

The awards cover everything from digital innovation, translation and copyright protection, through to trade, academic and children’s publishing.  There are 15 categories, and both companies and individuals are eligible to enter themselves, or put forward a nomination. PLUS! We’re really pleased that broadcaster and author, Gavin Esler has agreed to present the evening.

3. How do you ensure there is a balance between exhibiting companies and publishers that have huge marketing budgets – compared to those who are still integral to the industry, but can’t justify the marketing costs to be there (smaller publishers/service providers)?

We try to balance this by offering a number of exhibitor packages.  For example, we always  have Small Press stands which are  ideal for first time exhibitors or smaller companies to have a ‘taster’ of the fair, we have the start-up zone in Tech Central and with the new-to-show industries such as Gaming, Brand Licensing and Comics Pavilions we have very competitive packages in association with the respective Trades Associations Industry partners.

Altogether, a stand can be pretty much as large or small, fancy or simple as the customer decrees.

4. Over the last few years the scholarly, educational and seminar programme seems to have got a lot bigger. Why do you think this is and do you think exhibition events, like LBF, are expected to provide this as part of the overall offering?

In the K12 arena, technology is increasingly ubiquitous in lecture theatres and the classroom and a number of the most exciting digital innovations are happening in the educational sector.  The boundaries between education and what is entertainment are now much less defined, with new ‘edutainment’ initiatives are being launched every year. These new policies and techniques are debated at the IPA Education Conference; What Works on day 3 of the book fair.

In the academic, professional, STM sectors, we know that change is fast and that these  sectors often lead the way in innovation. We very much wanted to get a dedicated show floor feature going to complement the seminar stream in the conference programme, which is why we’ve launched The Faculty @ LBF. We are absolutely delighted with the feedback we have had and that is in no small part due to the partnerships we have with ALPSP and the PA.

5. Once all the hard work is done for 2014, what will you be doing during the book fair itself?  Do you get to participate as an observer, or are you running around on call?

Hopefully – enjoy it!  I always refer to the way it evolves once we are at Earls Court as watching a small village being built. I love seeing behind the scenes. As to what I will be doing, I very much hope to get to the Great Debate, the Faculty, The Children’s Hub, The Digital Theatres, The Bic Bar, at least a dozen of the 240 seminars and, of course, the IPA Education Conference, our new London Writers’ Fair on the Friday and kicking off the week with the Publishing for Digital Minds Conference.  In between all that I will look forward to the Korea Market Focus Pavilion Opening Ceremony, meeting our authors of the day, and getting to talk to our exhibitors and visitors. Hopefully I will also get time to buy guests the occasional drink or two at the Club at the Ivy Pop-Up, which is back for its second year. All of this should help me to prepare for The London Book Fair 2015 which – in case you missed it – is at OLYMPIA!

If you want to hear more from Jacks make sure you’ve booked your BookMachine London ticket!

 

5 questions for Matthew Cashmore [INTERVIEW]

matthewcashmore

Ahead of BookMachine Oxford on 27 February I posed five quick questions to our guest speaker Matthew Cashmore!

 

1. Which words would best descibe your approach to your role as Digital Director at Blackwell’s?

Do cool stuff, do it really well, really quickly and make a profit.

 

2. What’s the most exciting part of your job?

Doing cool stuff with books – which I love and any visitor to my house / library will attest to.

 

3. What was Blackwell’s greatest achievement in 2013?

Starting a skunkworks for digital development in Shoreditch.

 

4. Do you have a prediction for the book industry in 2014?

We will continue to sell books, more books, more interesting books and people will continue to read them.

 

5. Is there any advice you would give to publishing/bookselling professionals that are getting involved with digital?

Digital amplifies what you’re good at AND what you’re bad at – don’t do ‘digital’ if you’re not passionate and great at what you do.

 

Matthew Cashmore is the Digital Director at Blackwell’s. He has a key strategic focus on finding and executing new opportunities and guiding a digital step change – making Blackwell’s the architects of the digital academic future.

Tickets for the Oxford event are available here.

New tech company Saundz enters the world of English Language Teaching (ELT)

Sophie O’Rourke has a keen interest in ELT developments. Here she speaks to Milena Jerkov Bibic at Saundz, a high-tech pronunciation software for language learners, to find out how they are intending to help English Language Learners across the world. 

It is estimated that there are around 2 billion English language learners around the world currently trying to learn English. And of those who are being taught, in schools, on-line and with one to one tuition, very few students have access to native English-speaking teachers. And the one area of English language learning that becomes much more difficult to teach with a non-native speaking teacher is the pronunciation of sounds, phrases and words. There are many tools being developed by start-ups who are seeing the gaps in the market and identifying and creating programmes to reach large audiences. One of those new companies which is doing just this is American based Saundz.com. They are interesting because they are using technology to fill a face to face skills gap at grass-roots level but are also building a community at the same time.

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5 Questions for Emma Barnes [INTERVIEW]

emmabarnes

Emma Barnes has spent ten years at the helm of an award-winning independent trade publisher, Snowbooks. Nowadays she uses her understanding of the realities of modern publishing to build publishing management software, Bibliocloud. Emma is our speaker at BookMachine Oxford on 25th September, and will be sharing her thoughts on how to publish profitably without the benefit of a warehouse full of cash – using technology, data and pride. Charly Ford interviews Emma for BookMachine. Continue Reading →

6 Questions for Charlotte Ledger [INTERVIEW]

Charlotte LedgerCharlotte Ledger is a Content Developer at HarperImpulse, a new digital first imprint at HarperCollins. Here, she tells Emma Smith from BookMachine about how they collaborate on a global scale, the excitement of working in digital romance – and her love of Dawson’s Creek.

1. Can you tell us a bit about HarperImpulse and what you do there?

HarperImpulse is a brand new digital first romance imprint from the women’s fiction team at HarperCollins. My official title is Content Developer and I edit the manuscripts, manage authors and freelancers, buy new authors for the list, generate the epubs, support social media and marketing, and generally coordinate the imprint!

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5 Questions for Christopher Bladon [INTERVIEW]

Christopher Bladon is the Design Manager at HL Studios, sponsors of BookMachine Oxford. As well as being a talented and creative designer, Chris is the go-to guy for anything technical. A problem solving genius that has earned himself the nickname ‘The Oracle’ at work. Charly Ford interviews him ahead of the big event:

1. What makes a really strong design?

The primary objective of any design is communication, so a clear understanding of layout is essential, as it allows the viewer to scan and absorb the intended order.

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Seek permission before reproducing something

Tom ChalmersTom Chalmers is Managing Director at IPR License.

The writer Charles Caleb Colton once said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery but in reality that’s not always true, and I’m not just referring to the mocking of Craig David from the old Bo’ Selecta days. In publishing imitation can often be more aligned with litigation than flattery, especially when you throw that dreaded word plagiarism into the mix.

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5 Questions for Jamie McGarry of Valley Press [INTERVIEW]

Jamie_in_the_frame__cropped___edited_Earlier this year, Valley Press published an anthology of short stories by writers under 25 featuring yours truly called Front Lines (here’s a review and here’s a buy link, if you should so care), which is how I met Jamie McGarry. I’ve had a soft spot for small independent presses since working at Voiceworks when I was in university – they take risks on new and exciting writers in a ways which larger publishing houses may not (eg: anthologies of short stories and poetry) and are, from my point of view, an incredibly important part of our publishing landscape. With this in mind, I thought it would be a good idea to interview Jamie about what it’s like running an independent press in this day and age.

Jamie McGarry was born in Norfolk, raised in North Wales, and has lived in Scarborough, North Yorkshire, since 2006.  He likes to think of himself as a ‘creative entrepeneur’, and is currently proving it by running a small publishing house called Valley Press. Visit VP at www.valleypressuk.com, or find tweets @valleypress. Continue Reading →

5 Questions for Arantxa Mellado, speaker at BookMachine Barcelona [INTERVIEW]

Arantxa MelladoArantxa Mellado is our top speaker at BookMachine Barcelona on 3rd July. Amongst other things she is CEO of the Spanish Digital Link and Director of Actualidad Editorial.

Arantxa will be talking about globalisation, and how she thinks that this is the best way to succeed in business in the digital age. We wanted to find out more, ahead of the event.

 

Eventbrite - BookMachine Barcelona with Arantxa Mellado

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5 Questions for Tim Oliver of Macmillan Education [INTERVIEW]

Tim OliverAhead of Oxford’s next BookMachine event on Thursday 27 June, guest speaker Tim Oliver has kindly answered some questions about all things digital!

Tim is Head of the Digital Publishing Unit for Macmillan Education. Over 10 years’ experience in digital project management, extensive involvement with learning management systems and previous roles in trade, academic, NGO publishing and startups in the first dotcom era have imbued him with a passion for traditional, new and emerging publishing media.

Eventbrite - BookMachine Oxford with Tim Oliver, Macmillan Education Continue Reading →

Re-Visiting Random House’s BookScout app

BookScout

In January, Random House Inc. launched a new social reading platform on Facebooks app center called BookScout. Back then, I asked Amanda Close (Senior Vice President, Digital Marketplace Development) 6 questions about the book discovery app.

This month they have launched a new mobile version of the app so I asked Amanda some more questions about what the release involved and why developing a mobile version was important to enhance the users experience as well as to prompt more discussion and sharing of books people love.

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5 Questions for Suzanne Kavanagh [INTERVIEW]

suzanneSuzanne Kavanagh (@sashers) is Director of Marketing and Membership Services at the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP). She is a passionate advocate of collaboration and skills in the publishing industry; a perfect speaker for our Unplugged event on the 23rd. We interviewed her to find out more:

1. What are the best examples of collaboration you’ve seen in publishing?

Two that spring to mind from companies I worked for are the launch of the Routledge Classics and reissue of a biography of Cardinal Ratzinger when he elected Pope Benedict by Continuum. Both were print product launches. They involved working with internal teams across sales, marketing, editorial, design and production. But they also drew in contacts from printers, typesetters, warehouse, wholesalers, key retailers and the press.

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