Bologna | Final Round Up

I’m going to stop prattling on about Bologna any day now (apologies to those who have been listening/reading since last week) - in fact this should be my final post about it. (This is a small summary of the week - click for a full run of highlights)

The mood this year was upbeat - the surprise success of the children’s book market last year (Stephanie Meyer kept more than one book-chain open) caused lots of smiles. But there was caution around sales and no definite yes’ to anything.

The insatiable appetite for paranormal romance/YA shows no real sign of abating - Editors/rights buyers are wailing for something new - while booksellers are crying for more of the same. More of the same, only better. (As the market floods only the very good, or very lucky/smart, will survive.)

Both Usborne and Oxford University Press are dipping their toe in the market - and Little Brown have an incredibly established list. Interesting too that Little Brown are launching their first non-paranormal romance this year.

‘The book of the fair’ got lots of mileage - the title was awarded to Emerald Atlas (John Stephens’ debut fantasy novel) aimed at 11+. (The Bookseller has plenty more - and my notes on it are here)

A strong appeal for young fiction (middle-grade in the US) was everywhere - with agents, editors and booksellers all in hot pursuit of a big bang for the market - something to level out the playing field (as paranormal romance did for teen fiction). The bids for Emerald Atlas have been heralded as the beginning of a resurgence for younger fiction.

There has been far more interest – and commitment – to standalone novels too. Teen books have been given the limelight under that heading too – with things like Puffin’s new imprint, Razorbill, and Eve Edwards’ The Other Countess.

Interesting to hear little or no talk about digital development or iPad plans - the focus was primarily on content and not on media. Though Nosy Crow, Kate Wilson’s new publisher, has got some very interesting apps in development - with great immersive storytelling.

This was the year of super tag teams for UK publishers - with John Boyne and Oliver Jeffers releasing a book in September. Siobhan Dowd’s final, unfinished, manuscript will be completed by Patrick Ness - due for release next year (possibly illustrated by Dave McKean… maybe). And there is Emily Gravett and Julia Donaldson, who have collaborated on Cave Baby. (Both have individual books out this year too)

There is plenty to look forward to - including Judi Curtin in many guises, 3 new Patrick Ness books from Walker, Lauren Child with her first new Lola and Charlie in more than 6 years, Chris Riddell’s Alienography, a new Frances Hardinge, Frank Cottrell Boyce, a PC Kast renaissance, lots more Oliver Jeffers, Kevin Waldron and Chris Haughton and that rumoured new Irish publisher that I might have mentioned.

It was great to meet lots of folks - including some blogger highlights: Kristin Nelson (pubrants), Mary Hoffman (Book Maven), Rhiannon Lassiter and by proxy Hemingway Heroine.

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Written by david. in: childrens books | Tags: ,


  • Thanks for the round-up, interesting, and reassuring that the iPad has had no real impact (yet). For me, a young heathen, I can’t really envisage preferring to read a whole book on a brightly lit screen, in print and by bed side light seems much better to me.

    Comment | March 31, 2010
  • I do enjoy reading on screen - it’s very handy and fast - but I’ve yet to see a platform that works.

    It was great that no one was too caught up in digital to lose sight of creating great books… :)

    (Thanks for reading Ian!)

    Comment | March 31, 2010
  • Judi

    Great report, David, thanks. Makes me wish I was there.

    Comment | March 31, 2010
  • Thanks Miss Curtin! Looking forward to seeing you somewhere soon :)

    Comment | April 1, 2010

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