After the stress of live projects and work placements MSc. Publishing students decided to blow off some steam, London style. True, we were heading to southern pastures for the London Book Fair but we also saw it as a chance to spend some time together before parting ways for the summer. And we weren’t disappointed.
Around 15 students went down to the fair, 11 of which stayed in the ever-reliable Travel Lodge. We got the train down on Monday morning and, after a brief confusion over which Travel Lodge we were actually staying in, a few of us decided to visit the fair before the next day’s activities. Monday evening at Earls Court was certainly a lot calmer than the following day. We managed to get our bearings and our badges without being too overwhelmed by the sheer scale of the building and picked up our trusty guide of seminars for the next two days.
The CEO keynote debate on Tuesday morning was entitled “Digital Revolution or Digital Evolution?” Attendees were treated to the thoughts of bigwigs such as John Makinson, CEO of Penguin and Brian Murray, CEO of HarperCollins. The consensus appeared to be that the changes in the publishing chain have been a hybrid of revolutionary and evolutionary factors.
The focus for the LBF was on Russia and of course, on digital publishing. It seems that one cannot mention publishing nowadays without the D word coming up and the number of stalls dedicated to digital devices, along with the emphasis on “going digital” in almost every talk, was testament to this fact.
Although we did go to several talks and tried our networking skills at the Publishing Scotland stand (the handing out of cards aided to some extent by whiskey and wine!), our main activity was simply taking it all in. The fair was a great opportunity to witness the theory we have learned being put into practice and to prepare ourselves for the day when it will be our turn to man the colourful stands.
Of course, the trip wasn’t all work and no play…we had a great time doing the touristy thing in London and really enjoyed our time out in the evenings…perhaps a little bit too much in some cases! We were reluctant to leave our beloved Travel Lodge on Wednesday afternoon and it seemed that the trip passed all too quickly. All in all, it was a brilliant and informative experience – I’m looking forward to next year already!