Look around your office: barely distinguishable from Deliciously Ella’s IG feed, right? Home-made vegan rice bowls on every desk; a HiiT session over by the slush pile; the MD leading a guided mediation in the boardroom. Well, seeing that publishing people are renowned for being burnished paragons of wellness, it only seems fair to warn you that this year’s FutureBook conference may (in fact, definitely will) contain the following potentially inflammatory ingredients:
⚠️️ Opinions. Fans of safe spaces beware: #FutureBook19 will be anything but. We see it as our job to confront our delegates with a range of outlooks and ideas that will deeply challenge their own. Sessions such as Freedom to publish: what are the new limits and where are they coming from and Change-up: how to think and publish differently are actively designed to make you uncomfortable. You may want to consider earplugs.
⚠️ Facts. If you love to create marketing strategies on the basis that "I would totally tweet that" or make acquisitions on the basis that "millennials will definitely love this", you may come out in hives when you hear Bookstat's Paul Abbassi interrogating the data around UK online book sales in his keynote, or our exclusive piece of research on the audiobook market. Bring ointment if you must.
⚠️ Strangers. We know the main point of publishing conferences is to hang out with your mates eating free branded doughnuts, so it seems only fair to inform you that FB19 will be crammed with a whole load of people you have NEVER MET. Loads them will be from outside London, other countries or even other industries—we have visitors from the likes of Courier, Founders Factory, TrendWatching and the BBC exploring how their latest successes might be applicable to books. Just make sure your vaccines are up to date.
⚠️ Excellence. It’s easy to feel chuffed with your work when the standard around you is as low as a Joe Wicks squat. But what might happen if you, your peers and even your bosses are exposed to the most ambitious, creative, effective projects happening in the book world, thanks to the FutureBook Awards and speakers such as Akua Agyemfra (the strategist behind #Merky) and Chris Duffey (who co-wrote a book with an AI)? Some chronic discomfort in intimate areas, that’s what.
⚠️ Hope. From the thrusting new startups hustling their vision for a better industry in the BookTech pitch-off to the aspiring authors submitting scripts to our new audio writing competition, all the way through to James Daunt explaining why and how he refuses to let the bookshop die, FB19 is going to be a day where cynicism and despair buckle under that most terrifying, accountability-giving, action-demanding force: hope.
You have been warned.