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 second day of the conference program. For a full list, consult the London Book Fair website.

Wednesday, March 13

Evolution, Growth and Trends of the audio Industry Across Europe

Tech Theatre, 9:30–10 a.m. Spain-based industry analyst Javier Celaya, founder of
Dosdoce.com, will offer a look behind the first European Audio Industry Map, a resource designed to help publishing professionals navigate the wider audio market.

Keynote with Dr. Julie Smith

Main stage, 9:45–10:15 a.m. Clinical psychologist Julie Smith, whose 2022 debut Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before? was a bestseller, will open the second day’s main stage program with a conversation with journalist Kat Brown. Smith will discuss how mental health issues impact authors and the creative sector, as well as her meteoric rise on TikTok, where she has more than 4.7 million followers.

Fear and Loathing in Translation

Literary Translation Center, 10–10:45 a.m. Translators are often champions for the texts they work on, but what happens when a project leaves a translator cold, especially when there are only a handful of translators working with a certain language? Here, translators discuss ways to handle the situation. Panelists include Mara Faye Lethem, Olivia Hellewell, Nashwa Nasreldin, and Sophie Lewis.

In-Car Audiobook Revolution

Tech Theatre, 10:15–10:45 a.m. Cars have become a haven where people consume audiobooks. This session will explore the burgeoning landscape of audiobooks as part of built-in car entertainment. Speakers to be announced.

Special In-Conversation with Steven Bartlett

Main stage, 10:30–11 a.m. Bartlett is an entrepreneur, author, and host of the popular U.K. podcast The Diary of a CEO. His most recent book is the bestselling The Diary of a CEO: The 33 Laws of Business & Life.

The Next Chapter: AI in Audiobooks

Tech Theatre, 11–11:30 a.m. Hugo Rayne, of AI voice technology firm ElevenLabs, surveys how AI speech synthesis technology is revolutionizing storytelling.

Transforming the Future of the Written Word with Artificial Intelligence

Main stage, 11:15 a.m.–noon. This panel will discuss AI’s developing role in the publishing industry and its implications for content creation, including potential benefits and risks, how to use AI responsibly, and copyright issues. Panelists include Rebecka Isaksson, consultant for KnowFlow Value; Katie King, CEO, AI in Business; Kate Devlin, reader in AI and society at King’s College, London; and Bill Thompson, head of Public Value Research, BBC Research & Development, with moderation by journalist Kat Brown.

Audiobooks on Spotify: Innovating for the Future

Tech Theatre, 11:45 a.m.–12:15 p.m. Spotify v-p of audiobook product Owen Smith will lead a discussion about the company’s plans in the audiobook space and will offer insights on how Spotify’s audience is engaging with audiobooks since the streaming giant’s service launched last fall in Australia, the U.K., and the U.S. Smith will be joined by Christina Calderone, Spotify senior manager for author success; Nia Beynon, sales and marketing director, Boldwood Books; and Daniel Orrett, lead writer and executive producer at sci-fi audio drama The Sojourn.

AI and Literary Translation

Literary Translation Centre, 12:10–12:55 p.m. This panel will focus on recent developments in computer-assisted literary translation, including the legal, ethical, and practical implications for literary translators. Panelists include James Hadley, assistant professor in literary translation, Trinity College, Dublin; Nicola Solomon, CEO, Society of Authors; Ayça Türkolu, literary translator; and Duncan Large, executive director, British Centre for Literary Translation.

Author of the Day: Richard Osman

Main stage,12:15–1 p.m. Osman, author of The Thursday Murder Club, The Man Who Died Twice, The Bullet That Missed, and The Last Devil to Die, will appear in conversation with author and journalist Elodie Harper.

Publishing and Politics

English PEN Literary Salon, 12:30–1:30 p.m. How should publishers, agents, authors, and readers engage with literature and authors in countries with poor human rights records or at the center of an active humanitarian crisis? Panelists lisa minerva luxx, writer and activist; Emma Shercliff; Ellah Wakatama; and Daniel Gorman, director of English PEN, will discuss.

The Future of Audio in Publishing: Global Trends and the Impact of AI

Main stage, 1:15–2 p.m. As digital audio continues to boom, publishers, distributors, and streamers weigh in on how high the ceiling might be, what effect emerging AI technology will have, and what the potential for international market growth is. Panelists include Michele Cobb, executive director, Audio Publishers Association; Helena Gustafsson, chief content officer, Storytel; Amanda D’Acierno, president and publisher, Penguin Random House Audio; Owen Smith, Spotify v-p, product and technology for audiobooks; Aurelie de Troyer, head of content, U.K. and Europe, Audible; and Videl Bar-Kar, v-p, audio, Bookwire.

X, Y, Z, A. Are we ready for Generation Alpha?

Focus Theatre, 2–2:45 p.m. LBF organizers say millennials will make up a large part of the fair’s attendee list in 2024, and here participants will discuss how publishers can be appealing employers and help employees thrive generational shifts. Panelists include Sharon Marshall HR manager, Bloomsbury; Lisa Waterman, group HR director, Hachette U.K.; Cassie Rocks, codirector, the FLIP; Javier Bajer, CEO, The Talent Foundation; and Suzy Astbury, managing director, Inspired Search & Selection.

Global Academic Panel: The Academic Publishing Landscape in 2030 and Beyond

Main stage, 2:15–3 p.m. Veterans of the academic publishing world offer insight into key topics such as open access, learning machines, diversity and inclusion, and sustainability. Panelists include Antonia Seymour, CEO, IOP Publishing; Harsh Jegadeesan, chief publishing officer, Springer Nature; Jay Flynn, general manager, research and learning, Wiley; David Clark, managing director, academic division, Oxford University Press; and Richard Fisher, academic and policy correspondent, Independent Publishers Guild.

Voices Unheard: Addressing Inclusivity and Represen-tation in Publishing World

Main stage 3:15–4 p.m. This session will explore the importance of authentic storytelling and accurate representation, including the positive effects they have on readers of all backgrounds. Panelists include Natasha Carthew, writer/director, ClassFestival; Nelson Abbey, cofounder, Black Writers Guild; Stacy Scott, head of accessibility, Taylor and Francis, and chair, Accessibility Action Group of Publishers Association; and Diana Broccardo, managing director, Swift Press, with moderation by Publishing Perspectives’ Porter Anderson.

The Charles Clark Memorial Lecture: Perspectives on AI and IP

Focus Theatre, 4–6 p.m. Hayleigh Bosher, a reader in intellectual property law and associate dean at Brunel University in London who consults on AI copyright issues for the creative industries, and Eleonora Rosati, a lawyer and professor of intellectual property law at Stockholm University who regularly prepares technical briefings and expert opinions for E.U. institutions and agencies, consider how AI is affecting the IP landscape.

Celebrating London Book Fair’s Lifetime Achievement Awards

Main stage, 5–6:30 p.m. The annual awards reception honors an individual who has made a mark in the publishing world. This year’s honoree is YoungSuk “YS” Chi, chairman of Elsevier, director of corporate affairs for RELX, and recently elected chairman of the Association of American Publishers.

Return to the full program highlights listing.