The Book Fair – irrelevant or indispensable?

London Book Fair, 2016I had a fascinating conversation with a publishing buddy this week, talking about the upcoming Frankfurt Book Fair. 

‘I don’t really get Book Fairs,’ he confessed. ‘I’ve never had a single conversation or done a single bit of business without thinking, “We could have done this any old day of the year. Why here?”‘

And in a way he’s right of course: we don’t HAVE to fly half-way round the world these days to meet in person and talk face-to-face in a noisy hall with little preparation and less than half an hour to spare once we’ve found the right stand about the books we’re about to publish or the services we offer. Many of those conversations would probably be more productive and thoughtful with a simple phone call, or maybe over lunch. 

And yet somehow, I feel he’s wrong. Maybe I COULD have the conversations I have at Book Fairs elsewhere, but the fact is I DON’T. Maybe the reason we need the hustle and inconvenience of the Book Fair experience is simply to galvanise us into action. It’s the Large Hadron Collider of the industry, hurling people together at frantic speed in search of our very own ‘god particle’, the deal or idea that will transform our business. 

Or maybe the reason I love Book Fairs so much is the stand parties. 

Yes, I think it’s probably the stand parties. 

(If you’re heading to Frankfurt and you fancy carrying on the conversation about Practical Inspiration Publishing, consulting, coarching, podcasting or stand parties – particularly stand parties – drop me a line: [email protected].)