The Research and Markets' Guide to the London Book Fair

The Research and Markets' Guide to the London Book Fair

The publishing industry descends on London this week for one of the most important events in the calendar - The London Book Fair. Celebrating its 45th anniversary, the LBF is running from the 12-14 April at the Olympia. It is estimated that more than 25,000 publishing professionals from over 120 countries will be in London for the three-day event.

One of the emerging trends in recent years is the increasing number of tech companies who are keen to explore the sale and distribution of content across digital channels. This year, you can expect a large number of mobile companies and gaming start-ups to be among those networking on the floor.

A recent report on the Digital Publishing Market made the following observation:

“Over the past decade, digitization has brought about a paradigm shift in the traditional publishing industry. Publishing and information companies are transitioning from print-based media to digital media, providing content, software, and services. Spurred by the evolution of a supportive infrastructure and a networked environment, the market is witnessing the creation of new avenues in digital publishing.”

These developments and more will be covered in a series of seminars, interviews and workshops at the fair. But with so much choice and so little time, we’ve decided to help out with a brief overview of what’s happening.


If it is conferences you’re looking for, you have come to the right place. The LBF runs a series of day-long conferences throughout the three-day event. Each conference focuses on a specific area within the industry, and features a great mix of keynote speakers, presentations and debate. Among the conferences this year are Quantum Publishing and So Much More, The Virtual Conference and Introduction to Rights.

Rather than go through them all, we have picked out two of today’s events that sound particularly interesting:

First up is the What Works? Conference, which is now in its fourth year and takes place between 9am and 5pm. According to the LBF website, this year’s talk will provide “an open-minded look at educational outcomes, good practice and the place of technology.” The discussion will centre around the best way to deliver information in a classroom.

There has been a considerable shift towards online learning in recent years. A report on the Digital Education Publishing market says almost all end-users have begun to make substantial investments in digital learning. It identifies the following benefits:

“It can significantly improve learning outcomes as it provides better accessibility, adapts to individual learning methods, and enhances experiential learning through interactivity, immediate assessments, and social connectivity.”

The Research and Scholarly Publishing Forum is the conference that catches our eye. It will examine the challenges facing research communication, including a discussion on the latest market trends and developments. It kicks off at 9.30am and runs until 2pm.

One of the highlights will surely be Move over humans, the machines want to learn, which takes place at 11.50am. It will address the opportunities inherent in machine learning, and discuss what publishers should do, and not do, in order to take advantage of the new technology. Susie Winter, Director of Policy and Communication at the Publishers Association, will chair the discussion.

According to the website:

"With ever increasing amounts of big data and small data being made openly available, the ability of the machines to solve challenges from personalized medicine to climate change will only increase. However, with big data comes big challenges (and opportunities for publishers). How will data be structured, organized, discovered and made available? What can publishers and societies do to make this process easier for researchers?”

It is an area on the rise. Machine learning is part of the growing artificial intelligence market, which is estimated to be worth $5.05 billion by 2020. Machine learning technology is a key element of artificial intelligence and is used in conjunction with other technologies such as natural language processing and image processing across a wide range of application areas. You can find more information on this topic, and a full list of all related documentation here.

Author HQ

Author HQ provides a unique space for aspiring writers. They can pick the brains of leading publishers, authors and agents, who will share their advice on how to get published successfully. All Author HQ events are free-to-attend with the purchase of a three-day LBF pass, but you’ll have to be early because it is first come first serve. Here’s a brief overview of what is on offer:

Write Stuff is a Dragon's Den for writers and one of the most popular events at the fair. Authors take turns pitching their book ideas to a panel of literary agents in front of an audience, all for a chance to win a follow-up meeting. As you can imagine, this provides plenty of entertainment.

For those of you that would rather pitch your ideas in private, there is also One-to-One meetings. Authors can talk directly to a leading literary agency about their books, and receive direct feedback on pitches and ideas.

Finally, Author HQ also features an extensive Seminar Programme. Industry experts will take part in sessions on a wide variety of topics across the three days. One of the most popular topics in recent years has been the increasing trend of self-publishing. If you’re interested in this area, the two seminars you don’t want to miss are Independent Publishing with Amazon and How to Prepare for Self Publishing.

It is one area in publishing that is offering increased opportunity. A recent report on the E-Book market in the United States made the following assessment:

“The emerging trend of self-publishing is gaining popularity in the e-book market in the US owing to its advantages. Authors can approach vendors to get their books published and sold through online channels, instead of completely depending on traditional publishing houses. Such self-published titles tend to be priced much lower than mainstream titles. Therefore, the number of self-published books in the e-book market in the US is expected to increase because of the low prices these titles offer compared to mainstream titles.”

Insights Programme

The Insights Programme offers 17,400 minutes of industry debate, presentations and demonstrations. Attendees have access to over 200 seminars, across multiple seminar streams, that cover a wide variety of topics and trends.

The seminar streams are:

  1. Authors: Central to the business
  2. Children's & Edutainment
  3. Content across all Platforms, Film & TV
  4. The Industry around the Globe
  5. Literary Translation: Making Words Travel
  6. People Development: Re-skilling our industry, sponsored by Inspired Selection
  7. Schools Publishing: Lessons to be Learnt
  8. Retail & Etail: Reaching the Consumer
  9. The Business Forum: Brands, Licensing & Beyond
  10. Technology the Enabler
  11. The Scholarly Stream


You can keep up-to-date on the latest news from LBF with the dedicated London Book Fair App, which is available to download in the iTunes and Google play store. Alternatively, you can follow #LBF16 on Twitter or visit the LBF YouTube channel for footage of seminars, interviews and event highlights.

Research and Markets will also be in attendance. So if you have any questions for us or you’d like to sit down for a quick chat, reach out to us on Twitter.

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