Yesterday was the third and last day of the 2009 London Book Fair. Typically, a quieter day than the hectic of Monday and Tuesday, it wraps up earlier at 5pm, but there was still business to be done and a wide range of seminars and other events before the close. Here's a brief wrap up of some of the highlights so far this year. Overall the consensus was that even in the current economic climate, there is cautious optimism about the future, and business is being done as usual. There may have been fewer people, but more focus.
Reported news highlights
The Orange Prize for Fiction shortlist was announced. This year’s shortlist honours both new and well-established writers. Only one author, Deirdre Madden, has previously been shortlisted (1997) and she is included this year for her 7th book.The Orange Prize for Fiction Awards Ceremony at Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre: 3 June 2009.
Digital news: Book And Beyond
Random House launched the first list of 'enhanced' ebooks to be released by a major UK publisher. Enhanced features include audio, video and games from such top authors as Lee Child, Jacqueline Wilson and Danny Wallace. Visit the new Book and Beyond website for details.
Penguin Group has announced a large deal with the Apabi Group in China to make over 2,000 of its titles avaialble electronically. It is the first international publisher to sign an English electronic book distribution deal in China.
Rights and Acquisitions
HarperCollins Publishers announced the acquisition of world rights to Harmony, a book by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales. The book, to be edited by Matt Harper and Myles Archibald in the US and UK respectively, is tentatively scheduled for publication in 2010. In the UK, the book will be published by Patrick Janson-Smith of Blue Door, an imprint of HarperCollins’ Press Books division. Katherine Tegen, at HarperCollins Children’s Books plans to publish a picture book version of the book in 2011. "Harmony presents an original and compelling analysis of how we view the world today. It argues that in our relentless pursuit of economic growth and technological progress we have become dangerously disconnected from Nature. "
Canongate, the Edinburgh based small publisher has bought Obama's back catalogue, his writings from before he was famous.
The new Dan Brown novel 'The Lost Symbol ' was announced by Random House for realese on September 15th. The publisher's stand was reportedly swamped after the announcement went out on Monday afternoon. ‘This novel has been a strange and wonderful journey,’ said Brown. ‘Weaving five years of research into the story's 12-hour timeframe was an exhilarating challenge. Robert Langdon's life clearly moves a lot faster than mine.’ It will have a first print run of 6.5 million copies, the largest ever first print in the history of the publishers, Random House.
HarperCollins announced a major global initiative, making available the ebook editions of the entire Tolkien library. For those readers in the UK, people will be able to download the books from http://www.waterstones.com/, http://www.tolkien.co.uk/ and http://www.harpercollinsebooks.co.uk/ . The books are in the epub format in the UK (most compatible with the Sony Reader) and in various other formats in the US, available through a range of retailers for reading on Kindle, Sony, iPhone, Blackberrry and other devices.
Featured Market Focus
The India focus created a strong presence in the events schedule and in the exhibition halls. The floor space included Bollywood style dancers and the flavours of India conjured up in the kitchen of the Deli corner. Behind the scenes, sponsors of the India focus said India is a booming publishing market and they hope for greater book commerce between India and Britain. They said the Indian book market is worth 625 million pounds and is growing at 10 percent per year. "India is the world's third-largest producer of English language titles, with over 15,000 titles in English published each year. Indian publishers are at the fair to discover opportunities for publishing outsourcing, reportedly worth 1.46 billion dollars by 2010."
However there is disquiet among some Indian publishers that foreign publishers are given Indian state support to move to India. Add to that the piracy issues of the developing nations and it may be that the 'hope for greater book commerce between India and Britain' remains a challenge beyond that of the current economic slump.
Amongst the Author news...
The many author interview events were successful as ever. Danuta Kean interviewed Meg Rosoff and said, "Another brilliant writer who made her debut to critical and commercial success in her 40s. Hope for all."
For a complete summary of the news from last day take a look at the Bookseller which was released daily at the Fair.
So, overall, it seems that the London Book Fair not only held its own in a difficult period, but provided a forum for the world's publishing industry to come together, to do business as usual and plan for the future.
Let's hope the same will be said of Book Expo America, 28-31 May 2009.
Links to recorded live events:
The London Book Fair podcasts are free to download and include a mix of both audio and video interviews with authors and members of the publishing industry. They include Sam Hussain, Foyles CEO, who gives his views on the future for independent bookselling, an interview with Sebastian Faulks where he talks about his latest title and how he felt being asked to write the next James Bond adventure. You can also listen to key industry members such as Viv Bird, Director, Booktrust talking about reaching out to a younger audience and Francis Bennett, Chair Ehaus and co-founder of Nielsen BookData giving his views on digitisation.
This part five concludes the series on the London Book Fair.
Part four - What's The Big Deal? LBF and rights' negotiation.
Part three - What do People do All Day?
Part two - LBF - should Unpublished Authors attend?
Part one - Last Chance for a Discount - Introduction.