The Book Market

April 9th, 2014, 3pm

I used to circle the London Book Fair like I was lost in strange water. There are more big fish in suits and power dresses there than in my small book pond. You overhear phrases like, ‘Of course their problem was they lost the middle corporates.’

I guess anyone might find seeing the whole of their industry in one place overwhelming.

Everyone’s here: from the giants of literary, lifestyle and education publishing through to the tiny outfits with books on planes, whiskeys, butterflies. There are stands for countries and markets, wholesalers, suppliers, services, equipment, devices, print production and distribution, electronic production and distribution. Upstairs, rows and rows of desks for a marathon speed dealmaking competition - you remember the film They Shoot Writers Don’t They?

The whole ecology. Sharks, bottom feeders, suckers, plankton hoovers, harpoonists, anglers, divers, lurers, baiters, ticklers, trollers, trawlers, dynamiters and fly casters.

It took a few visits to the Earls Court tank before I found where my kind of fish swim - the Independent Publishers Guild, Inpress, English PEN, the nordic and scandinavian stands.

Hopefully nowadays I look like a fish who knows where he’s swimming, rather than one about to keel over and float to the exit.

Ragini, YASUHITO, Yiling, Sanna and 6 others said thanks.

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Steve Dearden

Writer, producer and Director of The Writing Squad -

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