Conference Notes: Scottish Book Trade Day and London Book Fair’s Quantum Event

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First on the calendar is Edinburgh’s Scottish Book Trade Conference in February. And in April, London Book Fair’s Quantum conference’s programming is featuring audiobooks and seldom-heard voices.

Central Hall, Tollcross, in Edinburgh, site for this year’s Scottish Book Trade Conference. Image: Provided by Publishing Scotland

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

Scottish Book Trade Conference, Edinburgh

The annual Scottish Book Trade Conference from Publishing Scotland and the Booksellers Association is set for February 22 at Central Hall, Tollcross, Edinburgh. The event will begin with an opening keynote by writer and broadcaster Sally Magnusson.

Research director at Nielsen Book Research Steve Bohme offers key retail trends from the past year, and later sessions in the daylong event will focus on issues including:

  • Book covers with Jon Gray and Jamie Keenan of the Academy of British Cover Design
  • Using book promotions in marketing with Forum Books’ Helen Stanton
  • Developing events in cooperation with community partners with Lighthouse Bookshop’s Mairi Oliver
  • Bookshops’ best practices in using Instagram with Julie Danskin of the Golden Hare

Annie Stone

Julia Kingsford of The Good Agency will be speaking on widening audiences and reflecting a diverse community, with Virginie Clarke of Moon Lane, and a “Next Big Idea” panel is moderated by Jenny Niven and features BookBub’s Annie Stone.

The day incorporates a “Fever Pitch” session in which publishers pitch to booksellers, and there are workshop sessions for publishers, as well, with focus areas including the use of Thema in metadata for discoverability; working with authors and book festivals; working with print media and building public relations; and “tourist organizations and book supply.”

A panel at the 2017 Scottish Book Trade Conference. Image: Provided by Publishing Scotland

Quantum at London Book Fair

Early details about this year’s Quantum conference at London Book Fair have been announced, the date being set for Monday, April 9, once again the eve of the official opening of LBF, which runs April 10 through 12.

Held again at London’s Olympia complex in the conference center wing, the show will be in its eighth year and again is being produced in partnership with Nielsen Book.

A key focus this year, in addition to Nielsen’s newest research on the UK and international marketplace is audiobooks. Another point being stressed by organizers is inclusivity, with a plan to incorporate a majority of voices “as yet unheard” in publishing circles.

The show is also being programmed to include, according to press materials, “consumer dynamics, influencer marketing, new creative talent and competition from the wider creative industries, channels for increased sales, and key industry trends.”

Matt Haslum

Consultant and past managing director of Faber & Faber Matt Haslum is the program chair this year. The conference has an option this year for afternoon-only attendance. A Quantum ticket includes LBF entry for the full week and starts at £249 (US$343) for the full-day program.

Orna O’Brien, LBF’s conference manager, is again directing the program, and in addition to Haslum, the steering committee comprises:

  • Jo Henry, Nielsen Book
  • Sara Lloyd, Macmillan Publishers
  • Rebecca Smart, Penguin Random House
  • Javier Celaya, Dosdoce
  • Caroline Raphael, Consultant, formerly BBC & Penguin Random House
  • Amanda D’Acierno, Penguin Random House, USA
  • Ali Muirden, Creative Content
  • Nick Coveney, HarperCollins
  • Michele Cobb, Audio Book Association, USA
  • Sarah Shrubb, Hachette Audio
  • Dominic White, W Howes

Orna O’Brien

‘A Variety of Geographies’

In addition to the Nielsen partnership, the Quantum program is listing BookBub as as silver sponsor, and in a prepared statement, O’Brien, is quoted, saying, “With the invaluable insight of our expert steering committee, and powerful audience research carried out by our partners Nielsen Book, we are creating a compelling Quantum program for 2018.

“Reflecting the audience, and the global nature of the conference, speakers will hail from a wide variety of geographies. The majority will be voices as yet unheard in publishing circles.”

Haslum is also quoted, saying, “With audio finally taking its rightful place as a serious player in publishing, we’re seeing a broader audience of reluctant readers and non-readers discovering books in their own way.”

Andre Breedt

In this, he’s echoing Nielsen Book Research managing director Andre Breedt who told Publishing Perspectives in advance of The Markets at Frankfurt Book Fair that the audiobooks consumer tends to include “new readers–or [is bringing] back readers who’d stopped reading. That’s the exciting thing about the audiobook: it’s getting people to listen to audiobooks who weren’t reading very much, it’s having a very positive impact in that way.”

Haslum continues, “Alongside expanding content and platform thinking and welcoming new, diverse talent into the industry, this seismic shift in audiobooks will be core to how the industry develops in the coming years.”

Programming information is to come later, and in the meantime you can register your interest in this year’s conference here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. Prior to that he was Associate Editor for The FutureBook, a channel at The Bookseller focused on digital publishing. Anderson has also worked with CNN International,, CNN USA, the Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and other media.

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