London Book Fair 2014 – In Summary

LBF outside pic

This time last week, we were at London Book Fair. Months of preparation and excitement culminated in a fantastic three days at Earl’s Court where we attended meetings, called to stands, mingled at social events and, of course, attended every seminar of our People Development seminar stream as well as dropping into some others along the way. We met with people who are passionate about publishing and got the immeasurably useful opportunity to learn more about the products; leafing through the publications that our candidates will ultimately edit, sell, market, produce, digitise or publicise.

For us, book fairs are our chance to have a glimpse inside the companies we work for. Through meetings and conversations, we learn even more about the cultures of the companies, about the changes they have experienced or implemented, about the challenges they are facing or have overcome and about their achievements. It was such a positive experience for us to see how invested our clients are in their products and the knowledge they have of the industry and how, though it is constantly shifting, quality of content remains intrinsic to the process.

ER at LBF

Amongst other key highlights we took from London Book Fair 2014 was the evident drive within the industry to understand the customer more. Publishers have acknowledged the importance of market research and customer trends and are applying them to their product development concepts. Through social media platforms, networking and research, our clients are focusing on providing what the reader wants and in what form they want to access it. Authors are reaching out to their fan-base and empathising with them, relating to them and getting to know them. They are monitoring changes in society and how this influences what people need – are we a society that needs comfort or a challenge when we snuggle up with a book at night?

In terms of those working in publishing to produce this content, how have required skills and experience changed for them? Through our series of People Development seminars, we explored this, hoping to give our audiences a chance to futureproof their careers and update themselves on how skillsets have changed in line with the industry, with society and with the readership. In a separate blogpost, we will compile our “Top 10 Skills for Working in Publishing Now”…keep an eye out for this, it promises to be an informative summary.

The highlight for us was the very last seminar, “Futureproof Your Career”, which was the perfect ending to a jam-packed three days. Chaired by Inspired Selection’s Managing Consultant, Abigail Barclay, we compiled the theme and panel for this seminar ourselves and it allowed us the perfect opportunity to summarise on the three days and what we had learned about changes to desired skillsets in the industry.

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Our panel delivered a thoroughly engaging and up-to-date discussion on the steps needed to futureproof careers in the publishing industry today and a lengthy questions and answers session with the audience at the end led to an exploration on whether entrepreneurial spirit can be taught, tips on futureproofing an international publishing career and the best advice for pitching new ideas to senior management. Long after the seminar ended and the crowd dispersed, our panel stayed behind to chat with audience members and expand on what was discussed.

It is hard to summarise the benefits and influences of London Book Fair in a blogpost; it is such an important annual event for us and we were delighted to have been official sponsors this year. It enabled us to learn more about the companies we work for and the types of candidates they want for their teams.

We enjoyed browsing the products and hearing about plans for future product development and the territories in which certain publications are most successful. It was encouraging to see the growth in the industry and the demand for new sales and marketing teams across the sectors to handle this boom. Already, we are looking towards London Book Fair 2015 and thinking of ways in which we can contribute. For those of you who attended, we hope you enjoyed it as much as we did, and for those who couldn’t make it this year, we hope we helped to keep you updated on Twitter and through our ongoing blogging.

Here at Inspired Selection, we are passionate about the publishing industry; we talk about publishing, read about publishing and attend all major publishing events like the one you’ve just read about. We would love to meet you at events so do feel free to come up and introduce yourselves! If you’re interested in opportunities within publishing do keep in touch and register for our Vacancy Update Service as well as keeping up to date with us on Twitter

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