Archive for April, 2014

Despatches from the London Book Fair

April 14th, 2014

The bunting is down, the boxes packed. The face muscles of the publishing world can relax for another year.

All of us at Camden Lock Books went along to the fair on different days. Jason was there on the first morning and came back with the question: with only 1000 bookshops left in the UK, what do all these people do?

Fair point I thought, when I went on Thursday. It was certainly busy. I found it heartening that whilst cultural commentators left right and centre are prophesying a bookopalypse there are still a dizzying number of people doing… well, something.

I heard two talks by YA author Malorie Blackman and she was also positive about the future of publishing. She spoke of how writers have had to respond to a increased pressure from readers for immediacy, caused – in part – by growing up on a diet rich in multimedia. She also said that with the increased focus by the American film industry on YA books (and focus I mean piles and piles of cash), it has become more difficult for British writers to break through. She said that we shouldn’t worry though and that the funding is still there – provided that you are writing about vampires, werewolves or the end of the world.

As a side note I was really pleased to hear an author speak who has such strong and clear ethical convictions. They permeate her writing in a way that is neither onerous or preachy. You can just tell that she cares.

I also saw a talk by an affable chap from the digital team of Hodder that was encouraging in the sense that their non book products are still being imagined as supplements to books. For example it was the 15th Anniversary of David Almond’s Skellig last year and Hodder created a fancy all-singing all-dancing ebook, but it was released alongside a gift hardback. So make of that what you will.

My abiding impressions were of bewilderment and exhaustion. How did everyone else find it? Get in touch here or on our facebook wall.


Bookseller of Silicon Roundabout


You know you’re a bibliophile when…

April 3rd, 2014

When I was seven years old I almost knocked myself out.

Not particularly unusual. I was a clumsy and absent-minded child and my early life was a string of near catastrophes. My poor mum was constantly snatching me out from under the wheels of articulated lorries and putting out fires in my hair. And I have three brothers god help her.

But on that day I was being particularly careless. It was world book day and we’d had a fair at school. We’d all got those £1 book vouchers – the perfect foil for manipulating your parents into buying you a new book.

I chose Captain Underpants. For the uninitiated, it’s a brilliant book about two cheeky chappies who hypnotize their headteacher – causing him to strip down to his y-fronts and prance around like shit superman. It’s hilarious.

So hilarious in fact that I couldn’t put it down. Not even to walk home from school.  So there I was, merrily minding my own business, when out of nowhere appears this lamppost. Right there on the side of the road, totally unexpected. And before I know it I’m seeing stars. I was initially furious but on reflection I mellowed; it did prevent me from wandering out into the road after all.

So next time someone bumps into you on a tube platform or a crowded street because they’ve got their nose buried in a book, just remember…

It’s me. I’m that guy.


What’s you earliest inspiration or memory about your love of reading? Share them with us in the comments or on twitter (#babybibliophile)