London Book Fair 2012: Day 1: Touch Press

The London Book Fair (LBF) is the second largest book fair in the world. (Frankfurt is the largest). It’s held at Earl’s Court. I got a nice and early start to my day. I arrived at a little before 9 so that I could handle some badge issues. Then I was off.

The focus of this year's LBF was on the growing Chinese lit market.

My first stop was What’s App. (I don’t know if they are aware of the app called “What’s App,” but whatever). The seminar was about book apps, what they are, how to use them, and hot to get them into the market.

We began with a little legal talk. Law is never all that interesting (except the bad or weird laws), still Adrian Liang did a really good job. He gave an overview of the terms and conditions for market placement in Amazon, Apple, and Google’s Play. Google is the easiest as they let you set the price of your app.

Between Apple and Amazon, I don’t know which is easiest. Amazon has a predetermined price. Apple let’s you choose your price, but from a list…of 86 options. So, you can kind of pick your poison there. I guess I would choose Amazon. I just can’t see looking over 86 options without getting really aggravated.

Next up was Max Whitby. We’ll get back to him.

After Dr. Whitby was Stephen Palmer, CEO of Lonely Planet. If you don’t know what Lonely Planet is, check them out here. I knew of them because of Nat Tran on YouTube.

LP has an app that will allow you to pick phrases in foreign languages, select it, and the app will read it in that language. This would have been very useful in Cypress when I tried to get directions from a woman who didn’t speak English.

Now, Max Whitby, Ph. D. I was really, really excited about him speaking. He is CEO and one of the founders of Touch Press, one of the companies that I’ll be looking at for my dissertation (the other being Push Pop Press). Touch Press (like Push Pop Press) turns books into interactive iPad apps. The first two books he showed were The Elements by Element Collection Inc. and Solar System by Marcus Chown.

The apps allow you to not only read about the elements and the periodic table and planets and stars around us, but you can play with them, move them around, and examine them up close.

They also did one based on TS Eliot’s, “The Waste Land” and will be releasing Shakespeare’s sonnets. Both are read by actors and actresses like Patrick Stewart (whom I’ve had a crush on for decades).

I got two of my questions answered. It only costs up to $300,000 to make the app, even with famous actors, which is amazing. Also, while Dr. Whitby can see a future in other forms of non-fiction (such as self-help), he doesn’t see his company venturing into fiction anytime soon, feeling that the VG market already has a handle on that.

After the talk, I told Dr. Whitby that I was planning to base my dissertation on his company. He quickly gave me his card. I’m really excited about working with him.

My next seminar was on digital publishing. It was moderated by Ms. Suzanne Kavanagh who did an excellent job. It was also part of the Creative Skillset series of seminars during the LBF.

One of the questions that was posed was do we call digital publishing digital publishing or just publishing. It was stated that it’s the content that matters not the format in which content is published.

I say it doesn’t matter what you call it as long as it gets done. Maybe digital publisher is just a good title to denote what a person does whereas “publisher” is really broad. Still, as along as content gets published, it’s all just fluff in the end.

It was a good talk and I was able to get names of people in the industry that may be able to help me with my dissertation. It was a really good day.

A book brought to life by Discover, a company that works with children's literature.

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