London Book Fair

London Book Fair and Digicon 2013

May 11th, 2013 by Blake Brooks | Posted in Blog | No Comments
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Blake Brooks, MLitt in Publishing Studies student, reports on London Book Fair and Digicon 2013:

It’s been an intense year of studying and interning, going from being a freshly graduated undergrad to hardcore postgrad, and all that energy and learning culminated in two events in April: The London Book Fair and the Interactive Scotland Digital Conference (Digicon).

Although as a Londoner the London Book Fair was a chance to go home, the trip was still predominantly about working, networking and seeing the publishing industry in practice. Still, even a lifelong Londoner like myself can underestimate journey time, and so at 9.30am on the Monday morning I went dashing into Earls Court trying to get to my first seminar. I only paused briefly to marvel at the stands that stretched out before me like a hundred tiny showrooms, a sea of metal squares with banners and photos all vying for attention.
Whilst I enjoyed the seminar, I felt somewhat disorientated and so decided to forgo my next intended one for a chance to walk around and familiarise myself. However that feeling of disorientation never went away. I found I largely spent my time trying not to crash into the marketing executive of HarperCollins, desperately attempting light hearted and jovial conversation with stern-faced and unamused stall-dwellers, and smiling with nervous hope at disinterested business people rushing from meeting to meeting with no interest in anyone with the word ‘student’ emblazoned across their badge.

A world away from the rush of the main fair, I did enjoy the seminars and I was even invited to partake in some meetings with my internship company Saraband, which were interesting, nerve-wracking, and brilliant. I felt like everyone was communicating in another language, but every now and then I caught familiar words or had a feeling I knew what they were really talking about, and I loved it when I had something I could contribute, though for the most part I preferred to listen.

I did however find it disheartening how little care was shown for students (theoretically the future of the publishing industry) and how hard it was to approach people, even at networking events. I’m not a wallflower but I really struggled, and some people were just downright rude when you did try. That’s also the feedback I’ve received relatively unanimously from the other Stirling students, too.

However the Fair itself is definitely worth going to; a great educational experience that is interesting and often enjoyable. I loved sitting with a glass of wine and chatting publishing with those I had connected with, I enjoyed live-tweeting in excess until my batteries died, I smiled as I played LBF bingo in my head and ticked ‘William Boyd’ off my list (but not a bin, which were few and far between).

The seminars were interesting, although I only made half of my intended ones as my feet hurt and my energy ran out as the days are long and tiring. The stalls were fascinating, especially seeing how some were so open and full of life like Penguin and Button Books, whilst others, like Canongate and Lonely Planet, built both literal and metaphorical walls around themselves. Many people at stalls encouraged conversation, others were all business and meetings. Overall I left with two business cards but fifty new twitter followers, a heavy heart but an enthused mind, and a sense that the publishing industry was not going to be quite as kind to me as I’d once thought – even though I also came out feeling like those that were kind were more than making it up for those who weren’t.

Digital Day was a totally different and utterly positive experience by comparison. I showed up expecting it to feel much like the London Book Fair, which, by this point, I’d reflected on as a worthwhile but disappointing experience. However, we were greeted in a small room by tea and breakfast rolls, surrounded by small stands that were open and welcoming, much more like a market than a fair.

This was a more casual, interesting and positive event and, as the main conference started, I was curious to see what the core of it was about. Digicon doesn’t quite specialise in publishing, although Pearson were there, telling us all about teaching our three-year-olds Mandarin using the iPad, and much of it does relate to the industry.
I tweeted everything and garnered numerous new followers, as I sat at the back of the conference room watching hundreds of faces lit up in the dark with the glow of tablets and phone. Everyone was excited, everything seemed fascinating, and best of all there were limitless supplies of tea. The afternoon seminars were even better, with one on ‘brand identity’ and one on ‘visibility and marketing’. The seminar leaders were funny, charismatic and confident, they led interesting discussions and imparted wisdom that felt worthy of writing down. When I came out my mind was abuzz with marketing ideas and I wandered around the stalls happily chatting with professionals who were open and friendly, undoing all the self-doubt I’d felt after LBF. The networking event was wonderful, I had a lovely time drinking free wine with Sara and Catriona (from Publishing Scotland and alumni of the course) whilst talking to numerous people. I didn’t feel awkward handing over my card, or taking anyone else’s, and my smile felt genuine this time. Although it’s perhaps not as necessary to go to Digicon I felt it was a great experience and perhaps more beneficial than LBF, especially if you’re interested in digital technologies.

I’ve come out of both events feeling that they were beneficial and I definitely got something out of both. I think the London Book Fair is an important event, it’s good if you are interested in publishing in general, but it is not a networking event as everyone is busy and students are largely superfluous. Still, the companies I did interact with; Cargo, Forlaget Hetland, Saraband, Freight, Button Books and Publishing Scotland; were all wonderful, open and kind.

Digicon is an optional addition to the publishing calendar, but a truly enjoyable experience and I think worth going to if you can afford it. You can reap the ticket cost back in food and drink easily (the entire day is catered) and the advice and guidance in the seminars was more useful and inspiring than anything I heard at London Book Fair.

However perhaps the best recommendation I could give is to say do it all. Both experiences were beneficial even if not totally positive, both were educational, both were enjoyable at times and all that I’ve learnt will help me in the future. so it’s worth it.

London Book Fair 30th birthday party with Publishing Scotland

April 3rd, 2012 by Claire_Squires | Posted in Blog | 2 Comments
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The Stirling Centre for International Publishing and Communication was founded in 1982, and so 2012 marks our 30th anniversary.

To celebrate our birthday, we’ve got a number of events planned.

The first takes place at the London Book Fair, where we’ll be joining with Publishing Scotland in the Isle of Arran whisky party. This takes place on Tuesday 17 April from 5.30pm on the Publishers from Scotland stand, H350. Please join us!

If you can’t make the party, please do drop by the stand and say hello or leave us a message, or come to one of our other events at Stirling: the World Book Night Book Dominoes on Monday 23 April, or our Publishing Showcase and Alumni Drinks Reception on Thursday 3 May.

Alternatively, if you can’t join us for any of those, please do join us on our social media (Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn). And if you’re one of our alumni, please do consider writing us an alumni profile for our website.

London Book Fair trip 2011

April 14th, 2011 by Claire_Squires | Posted in Blog | No Comments
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Staff and students from the Stirling Centre for International Publishing and Communication have just returned from the London Book Fair 2011, held in Earls Court. We were based on the Publishing Scotland stand with publishers including Black and White PublishingLuath Press and Strident Publishing. Students helped out on the stand, fielding queries from other publishers, publishing service providers and would-be authors.

Students met with graduates from the course now working in the publishing industry, to hear about their career pathways and to get some invaluable careers advice, and also to share some memories of life at Stirling.

In comparison to 2010’s LBF, which was hit by the volcanic ash cloud, 2011 was buzzing, with record numbers of UK and international participants. One of the liveliest panel sessions during the three days of the fair debated whether there is a ‘talent time bomb’ in the publishing industry. Hosted by Skillset, the event was captured by live social media, including photos taken by Lauren Nicoll, a current student on the MLitt in Publishing Studies in Stirling.

Centre Director comments on ebooks and digital publishing

April 8th, 2011 by Claire_Squires | Posted in Blog | No Comments
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Much media attention this week is focused on the world of books and publishing, in the run-up to the London Book Fair. The Director of the Stirling Centre for International Publishing and Communication, Claire Squires, has been speaking to various newspapers and broadcast media about the rise and rise of digital publishing.

She was cited in the Sunday Mail on rumours that J K Rowling might finally be allowing Harry Potter ebooks, commenting that “It is akin to the Beatles allowing their music to be launched on iTunes – it really is that important. JK Rowling has been very protective of her novels, and rightly so, but this signals a real sea change in her attitudes.”

BBC Business Scotland is devoting this Sunday’s programme to publishing and bookselling, again interviewing Claire on current trends, challenges and opportunities of the 21st century digital environment.

London Book Fair Report

April 22nd, 2010 by Claire_Squires | Posted in Blog | No Comments
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London Book Fair under the volcano

London Book Fair under the volcano

Students and staff from the Centre for International Publishing and Communication attended the London Book Fair this week. LBF is a big international trade fair, and normally an opportunity for publishers, literary agents and others from around the world to meet, network and get down to the serious business of buying and selling rights.

LBF 2010, however, was adversely affected by the volcanic ash which kept European airports closed over the week. The halls at Earls Court were much quieter than usual, stands stood empty, and publishers found many of their appointments cancelled. A quick-witted publisher used one of the empty stands to promote a pop-up volcano book.

Students from the MSc in International Publishing Management and MLitt in Publishing Studies attended seminars, had the opportunity to talk to publishers, and even helped out during the launch of a new digital publishing company, by demonstrating Ether Mobile Publishing‘s iPhone app.

Stirling Publishing Students at the Fair

London Book Fair Tips

March 31st, 2010 by Claire_Squires | Posted in Blog | No Comments
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London Book FairGoing to the London Book Fair for the first time? Want to make a good impression? Helena Markou, Publishing Innovation Associate at Blackwell, offers some advice:

10 Dos and Don’ts for Wannabe Publishers at London Book Fair 

Let me begin by saying if you want a job in publishing then you want to be at London Book Fair. Registration is free. Just sign up as a visitor and select student from the drop down menu. 

It’s all about the sales of rights, so people are there to have important meetings (which are often scheduled months in advance). Many publishers have back-to-back appointments all day long, but there are usually people floating around the stands, manning reception and answering ad hoc questions. 

On the hour and on the half-hour is a good time to catch people between their scheduled appointments, but try to develop a ninja-like awareness of “the unoccupied” and be ready to pounce with a disarming opener at all times.

Dos

1. Do make a wishlist of the publishers you want to talk to and get their stand numbers in advance.

2. Do check the seminar listings for talks worth attending, but avoid software and “solutions” providers because they are often big sales pitches.

3. Do be brave and talk to people especially if they look like a Director or CEO, you might get lucky and impress the right person.

4. Do prepare introductions & openers in advance, for example… 

“Hi my name is HELENA” – Seems obvious but they are unlikely to remember your name unless you communicate it verbally to them.

“I review children’s books on my blog, who does your children’s marketing? Can I take their email address?” 

“Who heads up your children’s list in editorial? Can I take their contact details?” – You should note editorial are unlikely to be at , because it is…? That’s correct, an event for SELLING RIGHTS 

“Do you have any internships? Who should I email? What advice could you give someone like me trying to get into the industry?” 

5. Do take business cards and/or copies of your CV (ERROR FREE) to hand out.

6. Do take a packed lunch or exit to eat. £10 for a bottle of water and a sandwich is ridiculous (there’s a Tesco about 10mins walk if you know where you’re going).

7. Do visit Sam Missingham at The Bookseller stand and give her something to tweet about.

8. Do find out the hashtag and tweet about whilst you’re there.

9. Do wear something smart but BRIGHT. You want to stick out from the sea of gray suits, and remain memorable to the people you’ve spoken to.

10. Do bring comfortable shoes & lip balm as the concrete floors & book dust will, literally, try to suck the life out of you. 

Don’ts

1. Don’t expect there to be anywhere to sit down and if you do see a vacant seat be prepared to fight for it.

2. Don’t take it to heart if some people are a bit unhelpful and curt, they are just busy doing their jobs.

3. Don’t waste your time trying to speak with people who are clearly too busy to talk to you, move on to the next on the list.

4. Don’t make yourself sick on freebie sweeties.

5. Don’t waltz through publishers’ stands like you would a bookshop, they are often considered semi-private spaces by their occupants.

6. Don’t ignore small & independent publishers, they work very hard to survive in the publishing industry and have wisdom, wit and savvy in spades. And you never know they might have jobs going as well.

7. Don’t walk off with books unless you are 100% certain they are free proof/review copies.

8. Don’t ask to purchase a book from a stand, it’s not a retail orientated book fair, you’ll look silly.

9. Don’t pass up an opportunity to do competitor analysis and collect ideas, intelligence for new product development projects.

10. Don’t leave London without heading to Lucky Voice in Soho for Karaoke.

 Ok the last one isn’t LBF specific but always valid as a general rule of life.

Thanks to Helena for her great advice! Has anyone got any other tips?

Intersection: Publishing 2010

March 22nd, 2010 by SCIPC | Posted in Blog | No Comments
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Intersection_medDr Padmini Ray Murray is co-organising an event called Intersection: Publishing 2010 on the 17th of April in London, on the eve of the London Book Fair. This event is unique in that it’s an ‘unconference’ which will bring together leaders and practitioners from the disciplines of publishing, journalism, and technology. Designed to be a day-long brainstorm, it will encourage open and honest debate about the future of content consumption, application and business models. At a time when both content producers and media owners are undergoing fundamental transformations – driven by consumers and technology – the event will be timely.

The ‘unconference’ format avoids formal Powerpoint presentations, instead offering informal discussions based in small groups, interspersed with brainstormed presentations and discussions. This more relaxed format will allow delegates from different disciplines to meet, network and to deeply understand and challenge each other’s views. The future of e-books (and readers) in the light of the imminent launch of iBooks; how publishers can use digital developments to their advantage; the role of DRM in e-bookselling; the Google Book Settlement and other digitisation initiatives such as the Open Content Alliance–are just some of the topics which will inspire and stimulate lively discussion and debate. The informal nature of the event means that participants are encouraged to register their interest at the website, and suggestions for topics to be discussed on the day can be listed here. The conversation will continue after the event over on Intersection: Publishing’s blog and on Twitter.

– Padmini Ray Murray