There’s been a lot of bad shit going on in publishing of late. Stuff that genuinely makes me worried, and I think rightfully so, about the future of the industry. But hell, if the Frankfurt Book Fair is the Glastonbury of the publishing industry, then surely London Book Fair is Reading, where a bunch of publishing people get together and share some ideas – though not app sales figures – and rock out to some cool conference sessions, and, from what I understand, share the love for authors and books. Which is why I think it’s the perfect time to take some advice from The Singing Detective (yes, that’s a thing) and accentuate the positives.
One such positive comes in the form of the International New Publishing Network. These guys sprouted like a tadpole from the loins of the Society of Young Publishers here in the UK but have grown legs and… arms… and will be walking on dry land for the first time at the London Book Fair this year.
So, what is it? They describe themselves as aspiring “to be a platform that allows people to collaborate globally, and offer on-the-ground resources and support built through local networks and knowledge-sharing.”
Sans jargon, they’re a bunch of people who are more interested in sharing ideas than competition and want to know what people are doing to either adapt or challenge the current book market across the world. I think.
Their first session at LBF (Wednesday 18th April, 2:30 – 3:30pm) will bring together six publishing professionals from six different countries, each of whom will “showcase an innovative idea, project or publication, and engage in an open forum with people looking to work together and be inspired beyond national borders.”
They’re looking for new ideas, basically, but across an international market. And with the focus firmly on asking questions and sharing mind juices, I hope it’ll generate some pretty outrageously cool ideas. Sessions with a focus on formulating ideas are the guts of what conferences should be about. Collaboration, learning from each other’s mistakes and successes, and sharing suggestions about the future and applying other industry’s practices to create new business models.
New! Innovative! International! Other buzz words! Seriously, I do think that it’s important.
I have heard some people say that the London Book Fair has something of a Big 6 focus – often speakers will address issues with answers that rely on finances or infrastructure no smaller publisher could ever consider. I expect that the International New Publishing Network will probably buck this trend and cater more towards those with small budgets, big ideas and the ability to mould themselves to a new market quickly.
So instead of sitting inside, slowly rocking back and forth while you watch the price of books plummet across the world, go and see what good things are happening in the industry. Because there are good things. That’s something we need to remember, and share with each other.