Book Fairs Broadening Their Horizons

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This is a guest post from Tom Chalmers, Managing Director at IPR License.

The last few years have certainly seen a rise in the importance of the children’s and YA books/ebook sector within the publishing industry. This rise in profile is further underlined by recent figures emerging from this year’s Bologna Children’s Book Fair which suggested that attendee numbers were circa 35,000, representing a 15 per cent increase from 2014.

There were also reported to be 1,200 exhibitors from 77 countries and a 10 per cent rise in the number of non-Italian visitors compared to last year. These are very encouraging figures and it’s clear that this event will be at the core of much ongoing business and is one which we are looking to work with more closely in future years.

Interesting trends and titles always emerge from any of the major book fairs and one of the more attention-grabbing developments from Bologna was the notable lack of any one dominating title at the fair itself.

This observation was highlighted in a recent Publishers Weekly article entitled ‘Bologna 2015: Early Impressions from a Busy, Sunny Fair’ which included the comment from scout Mary Anne Thompson of Mary Anne Thompson Associates who was quoted as saying: “There’s no big book, but I think that’s better for business.”

Agent Miriam Altschuler of the Miriam Altschuler Literary Agency also suggested that without a frontrunner for a big book, “Everyone can feel like they got the book they wanted. People can pay more attention to more things.”

This response is a particularly relevant one as paying ‘more attention to more things’ can often open up more doors to generating additional business. The value attached to book rights and licensing is evident at any trade book fair; having said this, increasing numbers of opportunities are emerging for those content providers looking to earn valuable incremental licensing revenue outside of the book world.

Of course innovation is key to this and with this in mind it’s great to see the upcoming London Book Fair incorporate the CMC Rights Exchange, which is being described as a must for anyone looking to buy and sell children’s IP – especially for those looking to build partnerships to take content across platforms.

This is sure to form an exciting element of the fair and further serves to emphasise how even the most consistently successful events are constantly looking beyond their historic formulas to generate additional opportunities for a range of content providers. And long may they continue to do so.

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