1 NOVEMBER 2022
Over fifty Stationers and guests were at the Hall on 31st October for the Company’s first publishing and bookselling event since the Hall reopened. It was the second event that we have organised in partnership with the publishing networking group Byte the Book, following an earlier Zoom event during the first lockdown.
Liveryman George Walkley, Sector Champion for Publishing writes:
It is fair to say that expectations for an in-person event were high, and were met and exceeded by a first class panel chaired by Byte the Book’s founder Justine Solomons.
Each panellist represented a new approach to online bookselling. Nicole Vanderbilt leads bookshop.org in the UK, a B Corp organisation which enables independent bookshops to sell online. Sara Montgomery is the founder of Monwell, which provides branded online bookshops for leading newspapers including the Guardian and Mail groups, neatly tying in with another part of the company’s membership. Darin Brockman runs Glassboxx, a technology company which enables publishers to sell digital editions off their own websites. And James Albrecht represented the events management company Fane Productions, which organises author events, often with a copy of the book factored into the ticket price.
All of these are exciting routes to market for publishers, and despite the differences between the panellists' businesses, several threads ran through the evening. It was inspiring to hear how, in different ways, all of the companies represented had shown resilience through the pandemic. All of them are trying to create a different sort of value from Amazon—through their product, through curation of books, or through consumer relationships. And all of the panellists agreed on ways that publishers could support them, not least through providing more than just links to Amazon from author and publisher websites. There were incisive questions from the floor on the role of subscription business models and Amazon itself, and the conversation continued over food and wine for more than an hour afterwards.
In all it was a thought-provoking event, and a welcome return to in-person events at the Hall. I would like to express my thanks to all of the panellists for providing such a stimulating evening, and to Lucie and colleagues for all they did to support the organisation of it.
In the photo you can see from left to right: Sara Montgomery of Monwell Ltd, Darin Brockman of Firsty Group, Justine Solomons of Byte the Book, James Albrecht of Fane Productions and Nicole Vanderbilt of Bookshop.org.