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!
A row has developed about the mission of San Francisco’s Internet Archive “to provide Universal Access to All Knowledge”, just as they support the aims of public libraries everywhere in helping access to books and knowledge.
The Authors Guild in the US, the Society of Authors in the UK and the Australian Society of Authors are all challenging the ‘unlawful’ lending of scanned copies of physical books through the Internet Archive’s Open Library platform and from a number of libraries in the US. This practice, called Controlled Digital Lending (CDL), is a system by which a library scans a copy of a legally acquired print book, removes the print copy from circulation and then lends the PDF copy on a one copy/one user model, like it would a print book. However, unless authors – and publishers – are recompensed there will be no knowledge in the form of books to be scanned in the first place.
The Authors Guild (US) says “authors lose potential income from every authorised loan made under CDL. The digital reproductions and loans merely supplant the legitimate sale of ebooks, whether library editions that the library would otherwise license, or ebooks that the author or publisher would sell directly to consumers”. Apparently there is no Public Lending Right (PLR) in the US either. Source: LBF 25/1/2019
The London Book Fair has announced writer Caryl Phillips, leading YA novelist Holly Bourne and acclaimed Indonesian author Seno Gumira Ajidarma, to headline its annual Author of the Day programme. A key element of the fair, the programme brings some of the most successful writers working today to showcase their work and celebrating their achievements.
Headlining the opening day of the fair is Caryl Phillips, whose eminent body of work includes sixteen works of fiction and non-fiction including Crossing the River, A Distant Shore and Dancing in the Dark.
Children’s Author of the Day is Holly Bourne, author of the award-winning ‘Spinster Club’ series. In 2018 she released her first, adult novel How Do You Like Me Now while returning to her YA roots with Are We All Lemmings and Snowflakes?