In common with 500+ others I’m off to the Bookseller’s FutureBook conference at the QEII Conference Centre in London bright & early tomorrow morning. It’s easy to be cynical about the proliferation of meetings bookish-types convene to talk among ourselves about the same things (what, where, how next). But nonetheless I’m looking forward to the day. It’s particularly pleasing to see “Price” on the agenda (and I don’t mean Katie). Pricing what, I’m not entirely sure, but given that the UK industry still hasn’t recovered emotionally from the abolition of the Net Book Agreement and book retailers (aided and abetted by Publishers) are the only retail sector I know that heavily discounts fashionable new premium products and sells old products at full price, any discussion of price has to be healthy.
Meanwhile I’m rapidly developing a new perspective on past, present and future. Regular readers of this blog will know I’ve been spending some time recently with a tech development company near London’s very own Silicon Roundabout. There I’m a constant source of amusement as I repeatedly exclaim “Wow, what’s that? / Wow, how did you do that?” Jaws (literally) dropped when I referred to Visio (did I just stroll out of the Ark?). And you can forget PowerPoint: I’ve discovered Paper (for iPad). It all culminated on Friday at 5.30pm when Michael suddenly exclaimed “You really have just time-traveled 20 years to join us, haven’t you?“. I’ve been blushing ever since at the painful astuteness of this observation.
So what I’m really looking forward to knowing is this… By this time tomorrow where will I think the UK publishing industry is on the 20 year timeline I’ve seen flash before my eyes in recent weeks? Any bets anyone?