CommentaryOctober 30th, 2020
What’s the future for book fairs?
Welcome to this month’s newsletter. It’s been an exciting and unique month in publishing – we saw the Frankfurt book fair go digital, followed closely by the IPG autumn conference. It’ll be interesting to see, as time goes on, just what kind of impact these digital events have. Of course these are key events not just for publishers but for all aspects of the industry. They provide much more than just business opportunities, but are often a way for people to keep up over the span of years – I think there really is no replacement for meeting face to face, but more on this later.
For Firsty, things are busier than ever – the plethora of new book releases, combined with more publishers using Glassboxx every month, means that we’re seeing more activity than ever. It’s especially rewarding to see Glassboxx making a real difference to the ways in which independent publishers get their books out there. We have always been a strong supporter of independents and are enjoying seeing Glassboxx used by them to create a greater reach for their titles, while being less dependent on traditional channels – which is something that has been at the forefront for us for a long time, but is becoming more important than ever in this changing industry.
Firsty Group Founder & CEO
In an industry like publishing that is built on people, the loss of book fairs in 2020 has been a big blow. Without London, Frankfurt and many other smaller fairs, publishers have been deprived of opportunities to meet their customers, partners and friends from around the world—not to mention important avenues for rights and export sales.
Visitors sometimes grumble about aspects of big book fairs, like the travel, expense and endless traipsing of halls. But as Frankfurt Book Fair week arrived, there was widespread sadness that the pandemic was keeping people apart—just as there was six months ago when The London Book Fair fell victim to the growing spread of Covid-19. It was a reminder that these two book fairs help to keep the wheels of publishing turning in between times.