Last week some of the IPR team were at the IPG Spring Conference – the annual meet-up for independent publishers – in Oxfordshire where we were exhibiting for the first time.
This conference is always really well attended and this year was no exception. It attracted a great speaker programme and an entrepreneurial, curious audience. The atmosphere was lively, fun and, above all, inspiring. It was hard to choose, but here are our Top 5 Highlights:
IPR License as exhibitors – Although some of us had attended as delegates before, 2017 was our first IPG Conference as exhibitors. The organisers gave us a table to showcase our marketing material, and we had some really interesting conversations with potential clie
nts during the breaks. Some were already aware of what we do, and some were introduced to the platform for the very first time, but we came away really feeling that our brand had made a mark.
‘Staying Innovative’ – a talk by Kate Wilson, founder and MD of Nosy Crow, the multi-award-winning independent publisher of children’s books and apps. Kate delivered an inspirational and funny talk about not aiming the bar too high and setting achievable goals. There were lots of references to, and photos of, ‘faster horses with a twist’ – yes, we know it sounds weird, but you had to be there….
‘What’s Hot, and what’s not, in Rights’ – a buzzy talk by Alex Webb and Hannah Whitaker of Rights People, was a canter (more horse-related antics!) through the latest in international rights sales. The two are undeniably experts in their field, and ran through updates on the big established markets including Germany and the US, before helpfully identifying for the audience the upcoming markets to watch, which include some unexpected target markets: the Middle East, Indian local languages, Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. We also learnt about what sells well, which included the perennially popular female-protagonist psychological thriller, and the perhaps more surprising genre of ‘gut health’ which is a hot topic this season!
‘What Retailers Want’ – James Daunt, MD of Waterstones, gave us a candid overview of where the company is right now, what it is focusing on, and a sneak preview of where it’s headed. Having recently announced that Water
stones is back in the ‘black’, it now in a position to make money. Children’s books are up by a quarter, and non-fiction continues to do well. However, it not in the risk business, so it will focus on what it does well and will invest in the stores’ appearance and in better training. On a positive note, there are plans to expand the estate, so we can look forward to more branches on the high street.
IPG Awards Gala Dinner – This was held on the Thursday night and, along with our Frankfurt colleagues, we hosted a great table (right at the front, so we got the best view!) and got to meet a number of inspirational publishers who had been nominated for awards. Frankfurt Book Fair was the sponsor of the Trade Publisher of the Year category, which was won by Faber and was awarded by our colleague, Dorothea Grimberg. Many congratulations to them as the competition was particularly tough this year!
This was a fantastic networking opportunity and it felt good to part of a community where bold, independent voices are speaking up.
The IPG (The Independent Publishers Guild) represents over 600 independent publishers of all shapes and sizes – from one-person operations, to medium sized companies, to international heavyweights. In 2012 it celebrated its 50th anniversary.
Alex Hippisley- Cox
PR and Communications Director
Head of Sales