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London Book Fair 2016: what opportunities for the Commonwealth?

15 April 2016

This week members of the Publications team at the Commonwealth Secretariat attended the London Book Fair (LBF), one of the key annual events in the publishing industry’s calendar.

LBF is a global event that attracts over 25,000 publishing professionals each year. It presents a marketplace for rights negotiation, distribution and sales, and marketing deals. The event also presents a unique opportunity for publishers to explore, understand and capitalise on the innovations shaping the publishing world of the future.

The team exhibited new and forthcoming titles in the academic hall of LBF in Olympia, London, alongside publishers that included Oxford University Press, Elsevier and Taylor & Francis. The team also held meetings with a range of other publishers, prospective distributors and suppliers, with a goal of finding further ways to improve the reach and impact of the research and reports produced by the Secretariat.

Key outcomes included deals with a new US distributor and a US-based print on demand supplier, which will improve the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of dissemination of titles in the USA. The team also met with and briefed a publishing technology supplier, moving further towards the adoption of a new editorial and production project management system, which will greatly streamline the internal publishing process.

Such advances follow last year’s succesful launch of the Commonwealth iLibrary (a research repository of Secretariat publications developed in partnership with the OECD) and the completion of a backlist digitsation project, which has made the entire collection of priced books published between 1969 and today available for anyone to view, share and read online.

Meetings were also held with the publishing sections of the United Nations, World Trade Organization, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, and International Monetary Fund, with a commitment being made to identify new ways to collaborate in the future.

The Commonwealth was well represented at LBF, with writers such as Antoine Cassar (Malta), Kadija Sesay (Sierra Leone), Elnathan John (Nigeria) and Bibi Bakare-Yusuf (Nigeria) holding talks on a range of topics from literary translation and libraries to gender and political activism.

A number of panels and seminars were also held on the globalisation of the publications industry, covering the movement away from the traditional hubs of London and New York, and on the rise of Indian companies as a key driver of technological development and innovation in the global publishing industry.

Find out more about the London Book Fair

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