Industry Notes: Podcasts at London Book Fair; Pew Research on Smartphones

In News by Porter Anderson

A newly added podcast series at London Book Fair will be on the Fireside Chat Stage. And smartphone usage is proliferating, though unevenly, throughout the world, says Pew Research.

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

Six Podcast Events During the Trade Show
A first for London Book Fair, live podcasts will be originating during the show, March 12 to 14, from the Fireside Chat Stage at Olympia London.

The fair is also celebrating podcasters for the first time as part of its UK Book Blog Awards, which were launched in 2018. The winners of this year’s UK Book Blog Awards will be announced at the fair on March 14.

The podcast programming—accessible on the fair’s site through the Insight Seminars listings in the “What’s On” section—features six events, all being announced this morning (February 20) in London:

  • The Vintage Books podcast, hosted by Trailblazer Award winner Leena Normington, will interview Ian McEwan and Tuesday’s Author of the Day, Caryl Phillips, among other guests (2 p.m for McEwan and 4 p.m. for Phillips, March 12)
  • Author and podcaster Daisy Buchanan will interview author Deborah Moggach for her podcast You’re Booked (5 p.m. March 12)
  • Read Like a Writer, a podcast from Faber & Faber, Serpent’s Tail, and Canongate, will stage a live session on historical fiction. Host Anna Fielding will be joined by Jess Kidd, author of Things in Jars, a historical detective novel to be published in April by Canongate; and Claire McGlasson. author of The Rapture, coming in June from Faber. (12:30 p.m., March 13)
  • Audible Sessions Live: RR Haywood, author of the Extracted series and Audible Original The Worldship Humility will be in conversation with Robin Morgan-Bentley (2 p.m. March 13)
  • Radix will host a live podcast session with former Secretary of State for Health and Leader of the House of Commons and Conservative MP, Andrew Lansley (10:30 a.m. March 14)
  • Author and podcaster Caroline O’Donoghue will interview the Children’s Author of the Day, Holly Bourne, for O’Donoghue chick-lit podcast, which is called Sentimental Garbage (4 p.m. March 14)

Jacks Thomas

In a prepared statement on the new series of events, the fair’s director, Jacks Thomas, is quoted, saying, “Podcasts are one of the most exciting new media channels for the publishing sector today.”

“We’re delighted to have such inspirational podcasters taking part in LBF for the first time, and to be celebrating today’s top podcasters at the UK Book Blog Awards.

“Each of these podcasters does a huge amount to promote books and authors to a wide range audiences.”

Pew Research Sees Smartphone Growth Rising

Earlier this month, the Pew Research Center released an overview of the quickly widening footprint for smartphone ownership and usage on the international scale.

“Today, it is estimated,” write Pew’s Kyle Taylor and Laura Silver, “that more than 5 billion people have mobile devices, and over half of these connections are smartphones.

“But the growth in mobile technology to date has not been equal, either across nations or within them.

“People in advanced economies are more likely to have mobile phones—smartphones in particular—and are more likely to use the Internet and social media than people in emerging economies. For example, a median of 76 percent across 18 advanced economies surveyed have smartphones, compared with a median of only 45 percent in emerging economies.”

As the publishing world looks to leverage mobile technology to facilitate new revenue models, it’s interesting to look at how Pew sees inequities in smartphone ownership and access developing.

Here are several key points to consider:

  • “Younger people in every country surveyed,” write the Pew researchers, “are much more likely to have smartphones, access the Internet and use social media. In all of the advanced economies surveyed, large majorities under the age of 35 own a smartphone.”
  • The rate of adoption has been much faster among the younger age group. In the Philippines, for example, those 34 and younger are 47 percentage points more likely to have a smartphone today than those ages 50 and older—compared with a gap of only 23 percentage points in 2015.
  • Education and income levels are also at play here, Pew says. In every country researchers surveyed, better-educated and higher-income people are more likely to use the Internet than people with lower levels of education or income. These patterns are matched by social media use, too
  • In the international setting, however, Pew finds that gender does not seem to govern much difference in smartphone usage, Taylor and Silver writing, “Whether in advanced or emerging economies, men and women generally use technology—including smartphones, the internet and social media—at similar rates.”

You can see more data from the study here, and Pew’s article is here.

More from Publishing Perspectives on the London Book Fair is here.  And more in our Industry Notes series is here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson is a non-resident fellow of Trends Research & Advisory, and he has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.