The last month was a busy one in the book world and one I’m still trying to catch up with. Early in March we had World Book Day followed by the London Book Fair and a number of literary awards. From personal observation World Book Day certainly has high aims, but seems to have been hijacked, yet again, by the dressing-up brigade. The emphasis appears to be let’s find lots of costumes for the kids (swooped on retailers keen to sell them rather than books) while relegating the real aim of WBD – reading – to a lesser level. Delighted to see the school that banned fancy dress and instead encourage wearing of pyjamas to emphasise bedtime stories. Maybe next year there’ll be more books.
The London Book Fair 2019, on the other hand, certainly restored faith in the physical book. Despite all the comment about the imminent death of the printed word and the demise of the bookshop, which has now gone on for several years, it’s certainly wasn’t evident at Kensington Olympia. In fact it’s wonderful to see so many publishers from across the globe busy taking orders and discussing titles. Market Focus this year was Indonesia bringing not just its diverse publishing reputation, but a hint of its heritage and culture. This selection of a different market each year adds another fascinating dimension to the Fair.
The dates are already out for 2020. No time to waste!