Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Selling the word - London Book Fair. 2012

Selling the word

This week has had to be the 'week of the book' in London.

Now in its 41st year, The London Book Fair  ( LBF)  took up its three day residence at the Earls  Court  Exhibition halls 1 and 2 .
 The LBF continues to be the global market  and leading business-to-business exhibition for rights negotiation and the sales and distribution of content across print, audio, TV, film and digital channels.
With over 400 seminars and events, 1,500 international exhibiting companies and 24,500 publishing professionals, The London Book Fair covers the vast spectrum of the publishing industry.

For sure some big deals were being discussed and negotiated in Earls Court but the biggest 'deal of the week' for a single book (not much bigger than a pocket sized 'A to Z ' of the city) was the £9 million  ($14)  book deal secured by the Society of Jesus = Jesuits ( British Province) with the British Library over  in Bloomsbury WC1.
The book concerned is the Cuthbert St John’s gospel – Europe’s oldest book made in the seventh century in north of England.
The £9 million book has been digitised and will by freely available on the library’s digitised manuscripts.

Book selling continued at the LBF nonetheless . This year's show has focused on the book business in China.

The show posters had this attractive word collage of a fan

For all the universal use of English as a world business
 language the message at the top of  this stand is well made

view of show stands  at LBF 2012

It was great to view the stands of companies I have run programmes or from whom had sent delegates on public course I had run e.g. Elsevier, LexisNexis, Computer Bookshops...
view of Stands at LBF 2012
An arch to invite visitors onto this stand

The people in the Book World are an interesting group. I guess if you like reading,it follows you like print and words and learning stuff.

So among the hard bargaining and sales presentations there was time for education .

I met some very nice people at the various mini talks particularly at the Author Zone.

Not just all about commerce.

Below are a series photos of models depicting the early days of block printing in China from a central exhibition in Earls Court 2 of the London Book Fair 2012.

A copy of the Chinese version of Diamond Sūtra , was on show.

The Diamond Sutra was found among the Dunhuang manuscripts in the early 20th century and dated back to 868, is, in the words of the British Library, "the earliest complete survival of a dated printed book ( equivalent to 11 May 868)

This is some 587 years before the Gutenberg Bible. !! 
A copy of the Diamond Sutra unrolled to
 its sixteen foot length
 with the print blocks to the right
 It begins " Thus I have heard..." ( at the far end of this photo)

Because the Diamond Sūtra can be read in 40-50 minutes, it is often memorised and chanted in Buddhist monasteries
One thing is for sure in Selling.... is change and impermanence

A list of vivid metaphors for impermanence in the Diamond Sutra appears in a popular four-line verse at the end of the sūtra . A strange resonance for those in selling perhaps.
All conditioned phenomena
Are like dreams, illusions, bubbles, or shadows;
Like drops of dew, or flashes of lightning;
Thusly should they be contemplated.
So it is  perhaps with Sales targets, product exclusivity, USPs, market share...... also!

Beginning of the Diamond Sutra with drawing
of the Budha with its printing block below


To quote the opening line of St Cuthbert Gospel mentioned at the start of this post- In principio erat verbum  tr.In the beginning was the word-   with all its fullness of meaning that phrase involves ,a definition of selling  comes to mind :

 'persuasive communication against resistance'

- the book whether in its print or digital incarnation is surely such a persuasive communicator.

Related Links:

Digital Economy Publishing
London Book Fair 2013 will be held on Monday 15th - Wednesday 17th April and will return to Earls Court, London
The market focus for LBF 2013 will be Turkey

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