The London Book Fair is the largest and most important book trade event of the year with thousands of publishers and industry experts and suppliers travelling from every country to take part. It is where publishers promote their new titles to the book buyers and where international translation rights are bought and sold. My company, Filament Publisher were a part of the Independent Publishers Guild stand there, and in addition, we were organising a book launch for the famous Thai author and speaker, Damron Pinkoon. The cancellation of the fair will have serious knock-on effects for the entire industry. Many people and businesses will have lost a considerable amount of money that they won’t be able to recover. But is there any upside?
On the basis that, it is never the problem that is the problem, but how we think about the problem that is the problem, what could be a positive outcome?
Will we see more Skype and Zoom calls between publishers and book buyers? Will we see more webinars being held instead of inviting people to travel? Will we see a greater use of groups on WhatApp and other platforms being used to communicate?. Will we see more of videos on YouTube or Facebook Live?
As they said in Jurassic Park “Life finds a way!” With some doors being temporarily closed, what other ones could we open instead?
Could it be that by next year we have found so many better ways of communicating within the industry that we start to question the huge cost of travelling around the world to meet? Is this cancellation a problem, or an opportunity to reinvent the way we communicate?