LBF launches schools program in partnership with the National Literacy Trust

LBF from 18 – 20 April in London

LBF 2022 main hall 1. Photo LBF

The London Book Fair (LBF) has announced it will launch a schools program in its 2023 edition, in partnership with the National Literacy Trust.

The program will engage with 80 students from disadvantaged backgrounds aged 13-16, an age where young people are starting to think about their career, which in turn informs their educational and work pathways choices. This project is part of Words for Work, the National Literacy Trust’s flagship literacy and employability program that brings schools, colleges, and businesses together to give young people from disadvantaged communities the confidence, literacy, and communication skills they need to reach their potential.

Working with volunteers from across the publishing industry – with names from HarperCollins, Penguin Random House, Oxford University Press, Gardners, Society of Young Publishers, Bonnier and Bookwire among others – the event will be split into three parts.

The first part of the morning will see a number of volunteers from the publishing world (including authors, editors, illustrators, printers and booksellers) talking to students about their roles and how they fit into the journey of the book. This activity will allow the students to explore the wide variety of roles available within publishing houses and booksellers in an interactive way. After a short break, students will have the chance to explore the fair with a tour of the event floor, seeing a number of publisher stands and meeting people attending the fair. Finally, students will take part in an informal networking with volunteers, where publishing professionals will be able to answer questions posed by the students and engage with them directly.

Gareth Rapley, director of The London Book Fair, said, “Nurturing the next generation of publishing talent is one of the key focus areas at this year’s London Book Fair. We are thrilled to be partnering with the National Literacy Trust to deliver our first schools program, where teenagers will have the chance to get a unique insight into our industry. Hoping this will help them broaden their horizons onto career paths they might not have considered before, and make a more informed choice about their future.”

Johnathan Douglas CBE, chief executive of the National Literacy Trust, said: “We’re very excited to launch the first London Book Fair schools program, enabling young people to experience the fair first-hand and speak directly to publishing professionals from a variety of backgrounds and companies. The National Literacy Trust’s Words for Work program is all about giving young people from disadvantaged backgrounds the literacy skills and confidence they need to succeed in the workplace, and we hope that this event will inspire these young people to consider a career in the book industry. The careers of the publishing industry’s future movers and shakers might well have been sparked today.”

The London Book Fair (LBF) is the largest spring book trade and publishing event in the world, and will take place at Olympia London, 18 – 20 April 2023.

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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