« Discussion

How Many Publishing Conferences Do You Attend Each Year?

Is there room for more lukewarm coffee, calorific cookies and powerpoint presentations in your life?

By Edward Nawotka

TOC Audience

There’s no question about it — publishing conferences are proliferating at a rapid pace, both in the United States and Europe, but as discussed in today’s feature story, in places like India and China. Last year, after pointing out the growing number of events, I also wondered if the number of events weren’t inadvertently creating a publishing elite? After all, paying for conferences out of one’s own pocket is daunting. If you’re a company employee, you can likely convince your boss (or accounting department) to stump up for a few key events. But what of the solo publishing practitioners — of which there are also many more these years?

So, tell us, how many publishing events do you actually pay to attend during the course of a year? Do you merely limit it to Frankfurt, or London, or BookExpo, or another local event? Or do you include any number of the Tools of Change events, or Publishers Launch, or even something like Metadata Perspectives (a part of the Frankfurt Book Fair Academy — get your discount here)?

Are you feeling burnt out or energized by the growing number of events? Is there room for more lukewarm coffee, calorific cookies and powerpoint presentations in your life?

Let us know what you think in the comments.

This entry was posted in Discussion and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.


  1. Posted September 30, 2011 at 4:21 am | Permalink


    If I want to do business with you, I’ll call you

    If I want a new service, I’ll research it on the internet.

    If I want to be stimulated by new ideas I’ll subscribe to blogs.

    If I want to sell more I’ll pick up the phone or hit the road.

    Conferences and trade fairs are dull.

  2. Hannah Johnson
    Posted September 30, 2011 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    I think there is tremendous value in meeting people face-to-face and hearing about new companies and opportunities in person. In my experience, some of the best business relationships I have came from chance meetings at trade shows and conferences — with people I would never have met or heard about any other way.

    Of course, the more events there are that focus on the same subjects, the more likely it becomes that they overlap — in topics, speakers and attendees. However, I think the benefits of meeting people and doing business face-to-face outweigh listening to the same speakers or hearing the same discussion multiple times.

  3. Doug
    Posted October 3, 2011 at 7:51 am | Permalink

    None whatsoever, sadly. More than individual research, group participation in conferences or any skills- or knowledge-building event could breathe new life into a publishing team. In my opinion, cyberspace and cubicle walls cannot create the kinds of discussions and shared experiences necessary to foster a sense of team.

  4. Posted October 5, 2011 at 4:25 am | Permalink

    Given my role as conference manager at LBF, I would, of course, agree with Doug !and stress the benefits of the real life physical experience provided by conferences. I question the name ‘social’ media – as real ‘social’ activity is face-to-face. I make the analogy of discoverability: you go to a physical bookshop to buy x book and happen to see a, b, and c book and purchase those too. Similarly, the benefits of attending an event in person are far far more than the content and the presenters. The growing numbers of people attending the growing numbers of conferences is testimony to this.

  • Get Publishing Perspectives in your inbox each day and stay up-to-date on international publishing.