I’m still reading that book of short stories, with just over 400 pages to go I will finish some time soon. But I figured it’s been a while since I looked at the publishing industry so I thought I’d look around and see what’s happening. There’s lots of new books being published, I read today that there are 4,000 new books being released on Amazon every day, and I can’t possibly look at all of those so I’m looking at none of them. It’s called being fair, or being lazy, I’ll let you pick.
One of the articles I came across is Reimagining Bookstores. The staff are constantly looking at ways to make more money. It used to be you walked into a bookshop and there were only books, now you can find book related merchandise which includes book lights, book marks and book bags. But in order to keep themselves relevant and in business bookshops have to think outside the square. The past two years with so many lockdowns happening they’ve offered free delivery within their 5km zone. Thank goodness I’m within the 5km zone of my favourite bookshop. But what the article talks about are a convention and a series of events flowing from that convention. They’re talking about reimagining bookshops in general in an effort to try and make them more relevant for today, or to shore up their funds if they’re not selling much. It’s a wonderful idea, I’d love to be a fly on the wall.
Last year the Frankfurt Book Fair went on hiatus, but it’s back this year and you can read more about it on: Frankfurt Book Fair 2021: A Quieter Affair. While I love conventions or conferences, I really love to talk about books. So to be able to attend the Frankfurt Book Fair is a quiet dream of mine. This year things were rather quieter than pre-covid times with daily capacity limits of 25,000 to give people a chance to social distance. Many of the larger publishers stayed home so the smaller publishers had more visibility and were able to talk to a larger range of potential business partners. I can’t help wondering what’s going to come of this change. If smaller publishers get a chance to get more business does that mean they might become slightly larger publishers? I don’t know, but it’ll be exciting to find out.
And another book festival: Bank Street Book Festival 2021: Autonomy, Responsibility, and Journeys. This article kicks off with my favourite topic: should minorities be writing their own story. This focusses on women of colour and the answer to the question of “What does it matter that Black women tell Black women stories?” had the best, and only, answer by April Harrison “Who else will tell our stories and give them the respect that they deserve?” And that’s the exact reason I like to read books written by people of minorities: how can I learn if not from the people themselves? But the festival had more discussions of interest.
Essentially, book festivals or conferences have the best topics and one day I’ll actually get to attend more. The overriding theme of today is that of reinventing the festival or conference. Since covid we now have in person festivals mixed with digital. I’m going to take you back a few years to a convention I had the honour of being on the committee for. The Australian Discworld Convention has been bringing guests into the convention via the magic of the internet for years. We call them Virtual Guests and originally used Skype to bring them to us. It means we can have guests such a Bernard Pearson who won’t travel very far, and it gives us the means and experience to put on a digital convention should we deem it necessary.
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