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Brexit post

Scholarly Publishing Through the Brexit Lens

However, whenever and possibly even if ever, those were questions confronting Parliament throughout the week of London Book Fair, as the United Kingdom moved ever closer to March 29th, 2019, the then-scheduled date for Brexit, when the country was set to exit from membership in the European Union.

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Get involved with BookMachine at The London Book Fair

BookMachine are huge Book Fair fans. Not only does the annual event allow us to meet our readers, members and clients in one place, but we also enjoy organising an event in the tech zone each year.

This year is no different.

And this year we will also be launching something new.

So if you want to connect with more publishing people than you have done before, read on.

Monday 13th March – morning

Keep a careful eye on your inbox, ready to enter this year’s Book Fair competition. The winner will receive an annual promoted BookMachine Membership (worth £90) and a bottle of bubbly.

Wednesday 15th March – 4.00pm

First up we have the BookMachine talk. This year, it’s about events. “Hurrah for Publishing events! An essential guide to event success” – having organized, hosted and marketed over 100 events over the past 6 years, we have a few tips to share. At the end of the talk we will be spilling the beans about the launch, and full details about what that might mean for you.

Register for this and get a link for half-priced entry to the whole London Book Fair exhibition, saving you £20.

Wednesday 15th March – 4.30pm

Once the news is out and the suspense is over, it’s time to celebrate. We will have drinks vouchers for the first 50 folks to find Katie Dodson (BookMachine’s favourite intern) at the BookMachine pop-up banner in the Tech bar. Over 200 people have registered for this part, so expect to meet an interesting cross-section of the industry – you’ll find designers, editors, publishers, marketeers, sales professionals. There are also book lovers and writers. And not to forget, a few app developers, games designers and publishing students.

Register for this and get a link for half-priced entry to the whole London Book Fair exhibition, saving you £20.

BookMachine Members, remember you can get a free exhibition pass. Email us for your special link.

We hope you are as excited about all of this as we are. In the meantime, prepare to potentially meet some royalty, and read these 10 tips for avoiding a riot on your stand…


Inclusivity and diversity in publishing [EVENT]

A new conference is being launched in November, programmed by The Publishers Association with event management by The London Book Fair (LBF), to address the issues around inclusivity and diversity in publishing.

The Publishers Association has worked with diversity organisations and other engaged parties across the publishing industry on the preliminary planning of the conference to ensure a balanced and relevant programme.

Conference themes will be increasing inclusivity in publishing from discovering new writing talent, diversity in published content, reaching new audiences, diversity in the publishing workforce, accessibility, bookselling and mentoring. The conference will look at progress so far, existing initiatives and organisations as well as discussion of ways to promote diversity across the industry.

Speakers and participants will include authors, publishers, agents and booksellers.

Tickets for “Building Inclusivity in Publishing” are priced at £99 plus VAT and are available now from:

10 lessons from Non Fiction: Following the Money at #Quantum16

At the Quantum Conference on Monday, Roger Domingo (Planeta Hipermedia), Elizabeth Baldwin (Harvard Business Review) and Richard Sullivan (Osprey Publishing) shared their insights into how they have furthered their revenue from projects alongside traditional non-fiction publishing. Here are our top 10 takeaway points from the talk.

Planeta Hipermedia

1) Planeta Hipermedia have built a successful series of online multi-media courses based on the 20 most successful business books they publish.

2) The consumer message is clear for this product. For the same price as the book, 20 euros, you can get the same knowledge as you would do reading a book, but you gain it via a variety of media.

3) Planeta Hipermedia have over 500,000 users signed up to use these courses – mostly B2B customers, who come via their companies. Planeta Hipermedia have secured numerous corporate deals for these packages, including Banco Santander and Telefonica

Harvard Business Review

4) Harvard Business Review has seen a 21% growth by offering access to content in print and online; together with access to their archives. The archives offer subscribers 25 years of content to review

5) HBR also offers a visual library. This is a clever way of taking content and offering it to subscribers to download, whitelabel the design to their own company branding and use in meetings and presentations as they see fit.

6) HBR publishing arm is essentially a niche, high-level business publisher, publishing 35-40 books a year.HBR has grown their social media following to over 7 million since 2011, which has helped to raise awareness of the brand

Osprey Publishing

7) Osprey Publishing started to offer supplements for their niche titles from 2008 as an extra revenue stream.

8) From 2012 Osprey established a relationship with figure manufacturers so that they could offer plastic figures as a bolt on to their books. This is seen to be key to maximizing the revenue which can be obtained from their IP

9) Since 2015 Osprey have also started creating board games and card games in order to capitalise on this further.

Countdown to The London Book Fair

This is a guest post by Isheeta Mustafi, Editorial Director at RotoVision in Brighton.

RotoVision is part of The Quarto Group’s co-edition arm, so rights fairs like London Book Fair are basically what we plan our calendars around. It involves a fair few months of preparation and although it can be a hectic time fuelled by a lot of hard work, I still (this is my 7th one) really enjoy the buzz of creativity in the weeks that lead up to it.


This is when we start getting our admin ducks in a row. We have systems in place from previous fairs so its quite easy to sort out standard things like packing lists, boxes, paper orders and so on. On the creative side though, this time is all about schedules and forward planning.


The start of the month is usually a flurry of emails arranging meetings, and then the prep goes up a few gears for the creative teams compiling the huge amount of presentation material that we use.


Four weeks suddenly feel more like two! We (I) have been known to dramatically complain about the inconvenience of the Easter break but really, the extra days of holiday go a long way to recharge our batteries before the final push.


1 week to go

The office is like a little hive now. There’s a small mountain of boxes collecting by the doorway. Frantic typing, frequent muttering, colourful language directed at the printer, and copious quantities of tea and biscuits are our mainstays. Theoretically, we should be reviewing and making minor amendments to our presentations but, in reality, we’re nearly always running behind. Some late nights occur. Our Publisher will order in pizza, sometimes there’s beer. The casual observer may notice the gentle sound of spreads being trimmed to the beat of the Rocky theme tune.

Two days to go

We’re packing up the last of the material, proofing our presentations and checking meeting notes. The focus is now entirely on the three days of back-to-back meetings to come.

The day before

I love the before-and-after of book fair set up. At 5:00 in the evening, it’s still a mess of duct tape, wiring, boxes and bubble wrap; and the next morning you come in to a complete transformation. The carpets are laid, the boxes have disappeared and everything looks so shiny! The exhibition teams do an impressive job and it all comes together like a massive jigsaw. The high-octane days ahead are a culmination of months of hard work that really reflect the passion that goes into publishing. I can never resist a proud photo of our books gleaming away on the shelves.

We’ll sometimes make time for a quick revision session with the rights teams, and then—for me, at least—an early night.

I’m sure every team has their own magic formula but my top five tips would be:

  1. Plan ahead
  2. Plan ahead
  3. Plan ahead
  4. Prepare for your plans to go wrong
  5. Buy a new printer.


Isheeta spends her days making books on art, lifestyle and design and has been doing the book fair boogie since 2010. She’s on Twitter and Instagram as @IsheetaM. For more on Quarto, follow @TheQuartoGroup and @QuartoKnows

14 things we learnt about the future of academic book discovery

On Tuesday night London Book Fair held their Tech Tuesday event during Academic Book Week. With the overarching question: ‘Academic book discovery; will the role of the publisher enhance discoverability in the future?’ The panel was comprised of Tom Hatton, founder of RefME; Simon Kerridge, Director of Research Services at University of Kent; Martha Sedgwick, Executive Director of Product Innovation at SAGE, and Simon Tanner, Digital Humanities academic at Kings College London.

The panel discussion was guided by 4 key questions. Here are our 14 top things that we learnt from the night.

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Book fairs

Top Tips for Attending Book Fairs

This is a guest post from Alex Hippisley-Cox. Alex is a freelance publicist and Head of PR for the Frankfurt Book Fair in the UK. She also works with many of the top publishing houses, and handles for the PR for book prizes and the Daily Mail Chalke Valley History Festival. You can find her on Twitter at @AHippisleyCox

Book Fairs can seem like daunting places, especially for those who are relative newcomers. All fairs are different, but they all work on similar principles, so ahead of the Book Fair I thought it might be helpful to pass on some friendly, and hopefully useful, tips.

1. Planning

Try and make as many appointments in advance as you can. People’s diaries get very booked up, so grab that slot in plenty of time. Make sure you have a schedule, and confirm every meeting before you arrive. Each half hour slots counts, so prepare exactly what you want to discuss in advance, so you don’t waste time.

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skills for publishing

Book Fairs Broadening Their Horizons

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.

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London Book Fair opens poetry competition

Next week’s London Book Fair is, for the first time, incorporating poetry, with its Poetry Pavilion space giving publishers of poetry a place to exhibit. To mark the occasion, the Fair and Inpress have joined forces to bestow the inaugural Poetry Pavilion Prize. The prize is open to anyone either attending the event, connected in any way with exhibitors or otherwise working in the international book trade.

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Two Sides to Every Story: London Book Fair through the eyes of a Fledgling Print Author and a Digital Native

Gill Guest (56)

Gill Guest is an aspiring children’s author and sheep-keeper based in Shropshire. Previously a freelance garden journalist, her work has appeared in The Times, Telegraph and numerous glossy gardening magazines. You can find her on twitter @gillguest

Welcome to the London Book Fair. A three day assault and battery by words. It’s my first visit and I follow the wordpath snaking across the tarmac and up the Earls Court steps with some trepidation.

Duly badged, scanned and deluged with more leaflets than I can cope with, I find myself teetering on the edge of a vast shanty town of stalls bursting with books that completely fills the cavernous Earls Court space. I feel completely overwhelmed.

Where to start? What to look at? Who to talk to? I squeeze onto a white banquette next to a woman in killer heels and we beat our handouts into submission. We consult our maps and she heads off, heels clacking. Determined. Professional. Scary.

I phone a friend.

Well, actually, my daughter, who propels me firmly to my first seminar in the Children’s Hub, where I sit on a foam pillar and listen to two illustrators talk about picture books. I take careful notes then stay for another on App and Digital Development: brilliant. Encouraged, I explore the stalls, and eventually get my head round navigating the warren of similar passageways: left at Penguin, right by Switzerland, past the Hatchette book tower and over the irresistible interactive goldfish pond floor mat, creating digital ripples as I go. Virtual paddling is almost as much fun as the real thing.

I’m getting the hang of this now. I meet up with the agent who’s been reading my children’s manuscript, Annette Crossland from A for Authors, for a face-to-face session. I’m invited for networking drinks at the BIC Bar in Tech Central. There I’m told alcohol is free, but tea I will have to pay for. I crook a surprised eyebrow at my daughter and she shrugs.

“What?” she says, “This is a publishing event.”

Clearly, I still have lots to learn next year, at Olympia.

Natalie Guest (27)

Natalie Guest is Digital Content Executive at Ixxus, a tech company building digital solutions for the publishing industry. She curated the Tower Hamlets Writeidea Festival 2013 Literary Fringe, and has written for The Independent, The Sunday Times and New Statesman. You can find her on twitter @unfortunatalie

Publishing is an industry in free-fall, we’re told. Print is dead, content is king, and everyone’s a publisher now. From the thriving mess of stalls at London Book Fair, though, you could hardly be blamed for thinking that this was an industry in its prime.

But this is very much an industry in transition, still trying to get its head around what it means to be a publisher in the digital age. Nowhere is this more apparent than from the topography and semantics of the fair itself: whereas the area dedicated to technology used to be known as the “Digital Zone”, a small and zoned-off patch of earth, it’s now expanded to become “Tech Central” as more and more publishers focus their business strategy around digital. And Digital Minds, the pre-conference conference focussing on digital disruption and innovation, is now an established cornerstone of the fair.

I catch up with walking tech-hub Alastair Horne, perhaps better known by his twitter handle @pressfuturist, for his thoughts on this year’s event. He proffers a battery pack in my direction from his bag of tricks; I’ve been tweeting so much that my phone (and my fingers) are flagging.

“The conversation seems to have moved on only a little since last year,” says Horne, “Digital marketing – as seen in the session at Digital Minds – continues to outstrip digital content so far as innovation is concerned, and the mainstream remains as unaware as ever of the experiments at the edges of the industry.”

Horne’s comments about the mainstream remind me of a joke one of my colleagues told me. “How many publishers does it take to change a lightbulb?”, it runs, the answer, of course, being a bewildered “…‘Change?’” But change is here, if not yet thoroughly embraced across the entire industry. It will be interesting to see whether next year’s change of venue (from Earl’s Court to Olympia) will be one that finally ushers in an entirely new digital landscape.

London Book Fair says Fair-well to Earls Court

As many of you already know, this is the last time the Earls Court Exhibition Centre is hosting the London Book Fair (the LBF)! If like me you can only remember the LBF being held at Earls Court, you are probably a little saddened by this fact or are perhaps feeling a bit sentimental right now.  After all, even though it is a business event there’s been many a good time had at the LBF over the past few years!

So why the need for a venue change? Well, certainly UK publishing folk may remember (or have recently been reminded about) the media coverage regarding plans for a redevelopment in Earls Court and West Kensington. Sadly this also includes plans to demolish the Earls Court Exhibition Centre. After reviewing the media coverage regarding The Earls Court Opportunity Area, the London Book Fair felt that the future of Earls Court as an exhibition venue from 2015 onwards, was uncertain and would probably be unavailable. In December of last year (2013) Reed Exhibitions announced that due to the uncertainty surrounding Earls Court’s availability as an exhibition venue, The London Book Fair 2014 (the 43rd) would be the last to take place at its current venue, Earls Court.

At the time of the decision being made, The London Book Fair presented two prospective London venue options to The London Book Fair Advisory bodies: 1) The ExCel Centre in London’s docklands and 2) Earls Court sister venue, Olympia. After extensive consultation with The Advisory bodies, a decision was made for the LBF to make the move to Olympia from 2015 onwards. Jacks Thomas (Director of The London Book Fair) said that she felt moving to Olympia to currently be the right move for the publishing industry, due to the industry having a “great affection for West London”.

Of course, LBF has been hosted at Olympia many times before, and was actually held their annually until  as recently as 2006. Interestingly enough, the Fair was originally called the ‘Specialist Publishers Exhibition for Librarians’ (later abbreviated to SPEX) and the first one was held in November 1971. The concept of the London Book Fair came from someone called Lionel Leventhal. After attending the London Arms Fair he was inspired to help start up an exhibit for librarians by small publishers ie SPEX! Then eventually from 1977 onwards, the book fair became known by its current name: The London Book Fair.

But what was wrong with the ExCel centre? London-based publishing consultant Janey Burton is just one of many publishers that are relieved to hear the LBF isn’t returning to the Docklands, where it was temporarily held back in 2006. As she recalls “there was a lot of ‘airplane hangar’: LBF was on one long side, there was a food court in the middle and a beauty/skincare Fair on the other side. I think the beauty Fair was geared towards customers and not the beauty industry so there were lots of members of the general public wandering around, often getting in the way of publishing industry members trying to do business at the LBF! In my opinion it wasn’t a very good experiment, and I believe there was also a general outcry from the publishing industry to go back to Earls Court, which of course they did.”  (Further reading and more comments from industry members can be found over on Publisher’s Weekly)

So this week, I know we’ll all be making the most of our last time at Earls Court (and for some of you it’ll actually be your first time too). But whilst we do bid one final farewell to the venue, let us try and remember to welcome our new future LBF home which is just next-door in Olympia.

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