Some 25,000 attendees from more than 120 countries are expected at the 2016 London Book Fair (April 12–14), and while this year’s fair will be underscored by the 400th birthday of William Shakespeare, the focus on the show floor will firmly be on the future. Indeed, though many of the dramas around publishing’s early digital development were, well, almost Shakespearean, make no mistake, publishing is now a digital business.

Just a few short years ago, e-books dominated the conversation. Today, the conversation is less about product, which is a given, and more about the efficiencies and innovation digital offers, regardless of format.

If you’re in the market for new solutions or fresh perspectives, the London Book Fair is the place to be. The opening digital conference, renamed Quantum, featured a terrific slate of speakers and presentations. The 31st International Publishers Congress is wrestling with a range of issues, including IP protection in the digital age. And throughout the LBF’s professional program, and the exhibit hall, digital solutions will take center stage. Whether you’re a publisher—large or small, academic or trade—or even an indie author looking to find your audience, publishing’s next act is underway.

All the Fair Is a Stage

The hallways of the Olympia will host many conversations about digital over the next few days. But be sure to check out the professional program, as well as some of the stages dotting the Olympia, where leaders in the industry will talk best practices, and upstart tech providers will demo new products.

For demos and new products, check out the Tech Theatre (located on the show floor between Grand Hall and National Hall Galleries), where a schedule of vendors will offer brisk 20-minute presentations. Whether it’s an app, or a mobile platform, or an innovation in metadata or distribution, this is the place to see where the cutting edge is going.

If you’re looking for the latest in indie publishing, check out the Author HQ. Now in its fifth year, the Author HQ’s program has been hugely popular—often standing room only. The program is once again filled with presentations designed to provide the knowledge, tools, and insight indie writers need to make informed decisions about getting their work published. But it’s not for indie authors only: whatever your place in the publishing universe, innovation is happening in the space where conventional and self-publishing intersect—certainly worth checking out.

And once again, the London Book Fair has announced a comprehensive schedule of academic and scholarly publishing debates and talks at this year’s event, with a strong program set for its show-floor theater, known as the Faculty. The sessions at the Faculty are also very well attended—and again, the academic market often pioneers trends. This year, the Faculty stage will host sessions on new platforms, new models like open access, and how publishers can harness Big Data.