Posts Tagged ‘Seminar’

This post is related to the London Book Fair 2014 (see my earlier post on my visit) when I attended a seminar called Beyond Nordic Noir: An Overview of the Nordic Literary Market, which was all about literature coming out of the Nordic countries and the fact that it isn’t just crime novels!

The Beyond Nordic Noir session

The Beyond Nordic Noir session

This was a fascinating and informative session because I didn’t know much about the structure of the book industry in the Nordic countries. The things they discussed included:

  • The Nordic market is trying to move away from the dark side of Nordic literature – the incoming trend seems to be comic books, the complete opposite! (according to a Finnish lit agency)
  • Writers need to be able to develop and grow.
  • Dedicated local readers are needed before a book is translated.
  • There’s a need for supportive government policies for books.
  • Small countries (like Iceland with its tiny population) need to decide on and maintain support for books.

Norway was discussed at length during the session and some intriguing facts came out about the Norwegian book industry:

  • Publishers can keep publishing translated fiction because they have less risk due to government funding for it.
  • Only 5% of 700 titles translated to other countries are actually crime!
  • No VAT on books in Norway keeps prices down.
  • Publishers can have a fixed price on books so booksellers can’t choose the price.
  • Physical bookshops are doing well due to the lack of price competition, so they work better than UK bookshops.
  • Publishers have more profit to subsidize translations.
  • Everyone in the population of Norway reads at least 1 book per year.
  • 40% of the population reads more than 10 books per year.
  • 5000 new titles are published each year – 60-65% are by Norwegians.
  • There’s 600 bookshops in Norway!
  • There’s 10 internet bookstores, but no big one.

There are worries about the industry in the future though:

  1. Who will be the publishers?
  2. Globalisation – every 4th book is in English.
  3. Centralisation – fewer players who are bigger (Amazon hasn’t launched in Norway…yet).

Then there was some discussion of certain authors and books which have come out of Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, and Iceland, and each country’s literary councils which help promote their books.

There are plenty of Nordic support schemes, with translation grants, sample translation grants, travel grants for writers, authors, publishers, etc, production grants, and promotion grants.

In addition, the Nordic countries tend to join together to do joint promotions because they are successful, but it must be stressed that just because they are grouped together they are NOT all the same!

I was impressed by the fact that the book industry in Scandinavia seems so much healthier than the UK with their price fixing (which we ditched), the lack of VAT on books, and the amount of funding available for translated fiction in the Nordic countries.

There was a section by the speaker Boyd Tonkin who named his favourite 5 Nordic authors: Linn Ullman (Norway), Sofi Oksanen (Finland), Carsten Jensen (Denmark), and Sjon (Iceland, but I’m afraid I have forgotten who he picked from Sweden! Oops!

I would love to read more Scandinavian books, so far I have only read a few Nordic crime novels and one Finnish novel, and that’s pretty pathetic! Crime isn’t even one of my usual genres! I’m definitely going to look into some new Nordic books!

Last week i made my 3rd (and now my annual) trip to the London Book Fair 2013!

The London Book fair 2013 at Earl's Court Exhibition Centre

The London Book fair 2013 at Earl’s Court Exhibition Centre

This year i didn’t really have an agenda: on my first visit in 2011, i went with uni during my MA in Publishing and so it was spent at seminars, networking and researching for my dissertation; and last year on my second visit, i spent it attending seminars and researching translated literature.

This year i just did what i wanted to do and attended seminars i was really interested in with my friend and fellow graduate from the MA course. We must have been the only ones of our course there as we didn’t see anyone else there, and it felt a little bit sad as we are the only two people without a job in publishing yet!

The Books Are My Bag campaign stand

The Books Are My Bag campaign stand

We only attended the Fair on the Monday and Tuesday as there wasn’t anything on the Wednesday which we wanted to see and we had to get trains home at lunchtime anyway.

Monday Seminars:

  • Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover… but we all do, especially Children!” – Very interesting, saw some examples of bestsellers and their covers, and a few dodgy covers that we’re surprised are so popular!
  • “Reading and Health: A new Library Books on Prescription Scheme” – Great concept, library books on prescription will help people deal with anxiety and depression through helping themselves through the form of specially chosen books. Also gets more people into their local libraries.
  • “How To Get Into Publishing” – Useful information for applicants, from gaining useful skills to researching the company’s market and products.
  • “How To Get Ahead In Publishing” – More useful information for people in publishing, they gave us a 10 point plan on how to advance your career!
  • “New Adults, Steamies, Crossed Genres – Reinventing Teen Fiction” – Interesting talk on the new genre called New Adult, which is like Young Adult but with readers from teens to sixties, thanks to Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey.
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During the Gamification of Publishing seminar

Tuesday Seminars

  • “What People do Publishers need?” – Information for applicants and existing employees in publishing, how publishers need people from different sectors with different and transferable skills, and newly created jobs because of digital’s impact on the industry.
  • “Gamification of Publishing” – Discussion on how games affect publishing. Everything in life is like a game now, from earning “likes” and followers on social networking sites to coffee shop loyalty cards. If reading was like a game then more people would do it because games set goals and give you rewards.
  • Social Networking: Authors Have Their Say” – Social networking helps authors to reach and engage with their widespread audience, build up a rapport with them, and is good for the more introverted author.
  • “Brazil – Country of the Moment?” – Discussion about Brazilian books being translated and brought over here.
  • “How To Set Up A Publishing House” – Guide to all the things you need to know, from knowing where you want to be in the future, to using Google Analytics for market data, to finding outside help for other jobs when you want to focus on your own particular skill advantage.

The Fair was really interesting and i learned a lot from the range of seminars i attended! I found myself not too bothered about attending the Turkish seminars, although i did get some leaflets about the Turkish theme.

LBF13's Turkey Theme sign over the Turkey Zone.

LBF13’s Turkey Theme sign over the Turkey Zone.

Hopefully, the notes i made will help me learn more useful skills and make my job applications much more successful!

I really enjoyed attending the seminars and the atmosphere at the Book Fair is always amazing! I really want to go back again next year!