Few would disagree that the Publishing Media Group Roundtable last night at the Hall was a massive success. It focused on independent publishing and the Stationers’ Company was delighted to welcome, amongst the attendees, members of the IPG.
The Hall was full to hear Peter Usborne (pictured) talk about his life in publishing from founding Private Eye to the global success that is Usborne Publishing. He was a delightful speaker “telling it as it is” which was sometimes quite alarming. However, his talk was full of nuggets of wisdom all presented with humour. Shana Drehs of Sourcebooks in Illinois and representing the Independent Book Publishers Association (USA) spoke about Sourcebooks’ list ranging from children’s titles to adult fiction and non-fiction, and their reliance on data to back up creative instinct and Anne Beech of Pluto Press, and representing the International Alliance of Independent Publishers, explained that Pluto’s policy was not to publish on issues which had only short term interest even if that interest was intense. The final speaker was Peter Berkery, representing the Association of American University Presses. There are 95 university presses in the US 92 of which belong to the Association along with all the anglophone Universities in Canada – that’s pretty good market penetration! He spoke of the relationships between university presses and libraries. Each speaker was fascinating and brought something slightly different to the discussion which was chaired by Court Assistant Oliver Gadsby who, along with Liveryman Tej Sood, had organised the evening.