Want to understand the forces impacting the global publishing industry in 2024 and beyond? Look no further than the London Book Fair’s Seminar Program, set to run March 12–14 at Olympia London. This year’s slate of events features industry leaders, experts, authors and A-listers and will explore hot topics including the rise of AI, the boom in digital audio, the influence of BookTok and social media, the translation market, copyright, threats to the freedom to read and publish, and geopolitical forces affecting the book world. What follows are highlights drawn from the first day of the conference program. For a full list, consult the London Book Fair website.

Tuesday, March 13

A New Generation of Readers: How BookTok is Diversifying Reading and Unifying Readers

Esther Fung, social media and marketing coordinator at PangoBook, and bookseller Léa Crumpton, both book influencers, will break down how BookTok and Bookstagram are changing reading habits, and offer tips on how to create one’s own successful accounts.

Opening Keynote: A Conversation with Jonathan Karp, President and CEO, Simon & Schuster

Main stage, 10:30-11 a.m. Jonathan Karp, president and CEO of Simon & Schuster, will talk about the global publishing landscape and the future of the venerable publisher—which celebrates its centennial in April—in the wake of its recent acquisition by private equity firm KKR, in conversation with Publishing Perspectives’ Porter Anderson.

Publishers, Copyright & AI: Taking Action

Tech Theatre, 10:30–11 a.m. There is little debate that generative AI will change the publishing business. Here, scholarly publishers will weigh in on the intersection of publishing, copyright, and AI, including Claire Harper, head of global rights and licensing at Sage, and Sarah Fricker, group head of legal at the Institute of Physics, moderated by the Copyright Clearance Center’s Chris Kenneally.

Local Books, Global Trends: International Book Markets in 2023

International Markets Theatre, 11–11:45 a.m. Jackie Swope, senior account manager, book research for Nielsen BookData, will offer an overview of and key insights into the local and global factors driving varied book markets in 2023 using the combined data of U.K.-based Nielsen BookScan and GfK, Germany’s largest market research company.

Exploring the Ever-Evolving World of Publishing: Global Trends, Challenges, and Opportunities

Main stage, 11:15 a.m.–noon. In what is being billed as a debate by the program organizers, participants will explore the tension between the need to embrace digital innovation and the desire to preserve the essence of traditional publishing. Panelists include Karine Gonçalves Pansa, president, International Publishers Association; Ricardo Franco Levi, president, the Federation of European Publishers; Lawrence Njagi, president, African Publishers Network; and Youngsuk “YS” Chi, incoming chair of the Association of American Publishers, with moderation by PW’s Ed Nawotka.

Free Expression and Protecting the Right to Dissent

English PEN Literary Salon, 11:15 a.m.–12:15 p.m. This panel will explore the challenges facing publishers, festivals, and other literary entities as they work to protect free expression while fostering dialogue and making room for dissent within their organizations and audiences. Panelists include novelist and playwright Guy Gunaratne, Durham University professor Nick Barley, and Aki Schilz, director at the Literary Consultancy.

Keeping up with Social Media

Author HQ, noon–12:45 p.m. This panel will offer advice for authors seeking to make the most
of social media as a tool to promote their brand and their books. Panelists include Lisa Sharkey, executive director of creative development, HarperCollins; Ain Chiara Bensenouci, publishing consultant; Jojo Schlattner, senior social media manager, Penguin Random House UK; and Ashley Baugh, associate director, Midas PR.

Author of the Day: Taylor Jenkins Reid

Main stage, 12:15–1 p.m. The bestselling author of Carrie Soto Is Back and Daisy Jones and the Six will be in conversation with Leonel Teti, editorial director of Urano World for Spain and Latin America.

Building Bridges Between the U.K. and U.S. Book Businesses

International Markets Theater, 1 p.m..–1:45 p.m. After PW's recent U.K. Publishing Spotlight, the fair is hosing a session that will explore ways in which companies in the U.S. and U.K. collaborate to bolster each other’s businesses and sell more books. Panelists include Paul Kelly, CEO, DK U.K., Joanna Reynolds, CEO, Folio Society, and Ben Sevier, EVP Publisher of Grand Central, Hachette Book Group; with moderation by PW’s Ed Nawotka.

Sustainable Publishing 2030: Shaping the Future of an Eco-friendly and Ethical Industry

Main stage, 1:15–2 p.m. Panelists consider the impact of books and publishing on environment awareness, conservation, and sustainable lifestyles, as well as ways to champion inclusive storytelling. Panelists include Rachel Martin, global sustainability director, Elsevier; Piers Torday, author and chair, Society of Authors and Illustrators Sustainability Steering Committee; and Sherri Aldis, director, United Nations Regional Information Centre for Western Europe.

Copyright and AI: A Global Discussion of Machines, Humans, and the Law

Main stage, 2:15–3 p.m. Industry leaders will explore the legal and ethical dimensions of regulating the development and deployment of AI technology, including an advanced conversation about the risks and opportunities facing publishers and creators. Panelists include Maria A. Pallante, president and CEO, Association of American Publishers; Glenn Rollans, president and publisher, Brush Education Inc.; Nicola Solomon, CEO, Society of Authors; and Dan Conway, CEO, the Publishers Association, with moderation by Publishing PerspectivesPorter Anderson.

Palestine, Israel, and Free Expression in the U.K.

English PEN Literary Salon, 3–4 p.m. Participants will discuss how freedom of expression around Israeli occupation of Palestinain territory has become even more difficult following the recent escalation of violence in the region. Panelists include Selma Dabbagh, author of Out of It; Avi Shlaim, author of The Iron Wall; Yasmin El-Rifae, co-producer of the Palestine Festival of Literature; and Neve Gordon, professor of human rights and the laws of war at Queen Mary University of London.

The Marrakesh Treaty and Global Accessibility in Publishing

Main stage, 3:15–4 p.m. This session will discuss progress made in promoting accessibility, diversity, and inclusion in wake of the Marrakesh Treaty, which ensures that people with disabilities have equal access to literature and information. Panelists include Hugo Setzer, president, Mexican Publishers Association; Selina Mills, author and journalist; Claire Wade, author and founder, Authors with Disabilities and Chronic Illnesses; Anne Bergman-Tahon, director, Federation of European Publishers; and Jose Borghino, secretary general, International Publishers Association.

Cultural Resilience and the War in Ukraine

English PEN Literary Salon, 4:15–5:15 p.m. Ukrainian poet, essayist, and academic Iryna Starovoyt will discuss the importance of cultural resilience in the face of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, in conversation with English Pen’s Zoe Sadler.

English-Language Book Sales in Europe: Opportunities and Challenges

Main stage, 4:15–5 p.m. Sales of English-language books are rising fast in many European markets, fueled by BookTok and younger readers’ fluency in English. For trade publishers across Europe, this could be a boon. Panelists discussing the trend include David Graham, managing director of BT Batsford; Veen Bosch & Keuning CEO Geneviève Waldmann; and Rebecca Servadio, London Literary Scouting, with moderation by Andrea Joyce, Joyce Literary Rights Agency.

Return to the full program highlights listing.