Ode to London Book Fair

by Adam on April 15, 2010

London Book Fair, how a volcano has smite thee (or more accurately, how volcanic ash has messed up everyone’s plans). While we have a tendency to forget how the natural world sometimes butts up against our everyday lives, it seems Mother Nature has reared her earthly head at just the wrong time.

I can’t help but comment on the fact that we live in an increasingly digital world, but are still very much attached to these kinds of face-to-face opportunities to meet and talk with others – the oldest form of social media! There’s something to it that allows us to hold on to our vestiges as publishers, that something we just don’t want to let go of. LBF is something that is a cornerstone to many in this business, something they remember going to from the start of their careers. There’s hope in the camaraderie, a feeling that it’s not only possible to move forward, but also remember our roots, look each other in the eyes across the booth and see that publishing is still alive and well. And some webinar with digital books just won’t do that justice.

Of course, there’s business to be done and to ignore that would be foolish…but even beyond that, beyond the book deals and the announcements, there’s a chance to step back and look at the whole picture and understand how everything fits together. From media parties, to book signings, to the ability to shake someone’s hand on a deal, these very physical interactions keep us going and sustain us through even the most uncertain times. Because they’re things that we know and can see and feel. And whether or not I’m building my next digital publication as an app or an iBook, there will always be the Book. Just the Book. And that won’t leave us.

And London Book Fair is a testament to that (although I bet the London eBook Fair wouldn’t have these kinds of problems).

Best of luck to every fighting tooth and nail to get there to keep the spirit alive.

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