LBF Roundup – Tuesday 14 March

Here’s our short and snappy roundup of London Book Fair, Day One.

Leveraging Mobile Technology for Early Childhood Development

This was an exceptionally inspiring talk, featuring Annya Crane, Emilie Colker, and Colin McElwee. It focused on the drive to improve global literacy, with specific reference to the collaboration between Worldreader and Pearson in India.
Colin McElwee kicked things off with an introduction to the Worldreader mission, and Emilie Colker followed with a talk about how Pearson has partnered with this non-profit organisation to change the lives of millions.
Annya Crane discussed some of the work the Worldreader team does in community centres, health centres, and schools in India to raise awareness about the reading opportunities for children and adults. She also talked from a technical perspective about how the team test push notifications and other methods to keep users coming back to the wealth of content that’s available, in a bid to change reading and storytelling habits.
Learn more about this amazing project here.

XML Production Through Google Docs

Darren Ryan came to the Tech Theatre to discuss ways in which publishers can move from offline workflows and local tools to a cloud-based solution. He cited regular inconsistencies within MS Word versions and the problems this causes when collaborating between departments and with third parties. On behalf of Deanta, he introduced the Lanstad product, which helps publishers deal with these technical issues.

Journal Sales Strategies For Smaller Academic Publishers

This panel discussion involved Melissanne Scheld, Simon Boisseau, Jennie Collinson, Sophia Anderton, and Julia Mortimer. The group talked about different techniques for smaller publishers to make an impact in various markets, and discussed how open access has become a key consideration. Simon Boisseau mentioned that publishers must focus more heavily on the sales and marketing of their open access materials, amid a landscape of fierce competition.
The panel presented its crystal ball view on the next five to ten years, with members mentioning the increasingly tightened library budgets, further opportunity for partnerships between smaller academic publishers, and improving the user experience of portals and platforms.

What’s Happening in EdTech?

This panel discussion featured Nina Iles, Jan Matern, Benjamin Vedrenne-Cloquet, and Sophie Bailey.
Benjamin talked about how we’re looking at education as a service, just like many other consumer areas; music as a service, TV as a service, and others. Nina Iles mentioned that as long as education is results-led, teachers and institutions won’t take many risks, which somewhat limits opportunity for innovators at the moment.
The panel spoke about how publishers need to turn a transactional relationship into a digital experience. They discussed the potential for a culture change, towards the benefits of a fail-fast approach. Rather than being scared to fail, experts feel that teams should iterative and innovate quickly, and embrace the fact that not everything will work. This will drive EdTech forward.

Checking in on the Road to Digital Transformation

This was a fascinating discussion, and certainly one of the day’s highlights. The expert panel, hosted by Copyright Clearance Center’s Christopher Kenneally, discussed where the global publishing is positioned on the road to digital. Overall, panelists provided an extremely enlightened perspective.
A standout comment was from Taylor & Francis CTO, Max Gabriel. He talked about how it’s still a matter of survival in understanding the profound change that’s happening around us in the publishing industry. Max mentioned how the fundamental equations of demand and supply is changing, and that publishers must wholeheartedly acknowledge how things have changed in distribution, pricing mix, and much more.
David Warlock also provided some fascinating insights. He suggested that publishers must start again to learn how they fit into customer requirements. He also talked about giving up the perceived roles of a publisher to adapt and take up the roles that a changed market requires.
Valentina Kalk spoke about her experience at Brookings Institute Press, and their focus on multimedia content such as videos and podcasts. These not only support books, but have a life of their own and are designed to stand up by themselves. She mentioned that university presses have a unique opportunity to enlist the help of their wider academic institution; more brains, and more hands to the pump for better content and better ideas.
We’re represented at the London Book Fair by our new CEO, Paula Neary. In support throughout the week will be Marc Defosse, Paul Bryson, and Matt Goolding. 
If you’d like to meet with Paula, contact [email protected]