The 2012 London Book Fair is over, at least for another year. And after a mighty three days spent manning our stand, rushing off to meetings and cramming as many free pens into my beautiful, new Robert Hale Ltd bag as furtively possible I am finally back in the office, getting down to my real life work. Phewf.
London Book Fair, for those who are unfamiliar with it, is the largest annual book trade fair held in the UK. It has also grown in size, in recent years and is now held in the resplendently large Earls Court exhibition centre. I defy anyone with a love of books to walk in and remain unimpressed by the sheer scale of the place – the enormous, colourful stands and the buzz of the atmosphere really do help to showcase the very best of publishing, and the very best of books and writing.
However, it is most definitely a place for serious business and over the course of the three days I met some extremely interesting people – working in all sectors of the trade – and attended a number of the digital seminars, hosted by the fair. Here at Hale we have gone down the route of producing our ebook titles through Faber Factory, hosted by the well-established publishers Faber & Faber. Attending the ebook conference run by them, for the publishers they are working with on the digital front, it was breathtaking to see the amount of data analysis that is possible from the digital market. With ebooks it is easier than ever before to assess readers’ tastes, habits, reading personalities, and hopefully judge releases accurately and accordingly. This was echoed in the Kobo seminar, and the showcasing of their Kobo pulse programme gave an exhilarating glimpse into the possibilities of harnessing readers’ interest and ensuring they are kept up to speed with title that will suit their tastes, and widen their horizons.
Attending the book fair is a genuinely exciting experience, it is thrilling to be surrounded by people who clearly love books, and the writers who produce them, and I thoroughly recommend having a look around if you get the chance, next year. There will always be a cheerful welcome from us all on the Robert Hale Ltd stand, and you might even be able to nab yourself a few pens…