Traditionally librarians (especially those from the UK) have not tended to visit the Frankfurt Book Fair as other, more library focused events and conferences, have taken precedence. This may still be the case (and we will know more next week) but for those of us working on the Books Right Here Right Now programme over the last couple of years, a visit to the FBF was recommended by a number of our contacts in the sector.
In addition, one of the main issues that struck us early on in the project was how distinct the textbook market and library e-book market were – even though our students wanted their libraries to provide them with textbooks. In essence they were (and often still are) two distinct markets with different product offerings and pricing models. More often than not these markets are represented and sold by different departments in the same publishers.
One of the big goals of the project has been to better understand the environment that both publishers in general and textbook publishers in particular operate in. Only with this understanding would we be equipped with the knowledge to negotiate deals and forge new library centred textbook acquisition and supply models.
To address these two issues a visit to the FBF was on our agenda for moving ahead with the project this year; hoping both to learn and share knowledge, insight and expertise with other visitors, speakers and exhibitors.
In addition some of the highlights we are looking forward to in Frankfurt include attendance at these talks:
- The e-Textbook is dead – or is it?
- Evolution and revolution of the eBook standards: EPUB 3.1 and Portable Web Publications
- The PA and ALPSP hosted debate: Brexit, and the potential impact on Academic Publishing
- How to Use Behavioural Data to Understand Readers
- E-Books: Numbers, subscription models, analyses and more
These talks (plus other events), allied to a series of meetings and conversations will enable us to get the best out of visit and what we learn (and how we fare) will appear in future posts on this blog. In the meantime do get in touch if you wish to meet up and have a chat next week. I and my colleague Des Coyle will be in Frankfurt from Wednesday 19th – Thursday 20th October.
Dominic Broadhurst, University of Manchester