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World e-Reading Congress, London: 15th-16th May 2012

Front of Store has been a little quiet through April – a pleasant week in the Brecon Beacons (and a trawl of Hay bookshops), combined with a variety of other activities has kept me away from the keyboard.

One area of focus has been the presentation I shall be giving at the World e-Reading Congress, which takes place in London at the Jumeirah Carlton Tower on 15th-16th May.  I’m on at 1:30pm on Weds 16th (the popular “pay attention after lunch” spot), and my theme is: “The future of retail is another planet”.

This isn’t the most grammatically correct presentation title anyone has ever had, but I only have myself to blame, as it quotes my Frankfurt punchline: “the past is another country, but the future is another planet”.

It is startling to go back to Frankfurt (October last year) and reflect on the number of changes that have taken place across publishing and bookselling in that short time.  The most interesting is, of course, the DOJ case which Apple, Pearson and Macmillan are defending.  Tens of thousands of words have been written on the subject, but this recent piece from the Guardian is a pretty good account of the impact that Amazon and other tech giants are having on the consumer’s best interests.

In my presentation next month, I shall be reflecting on where Amazon’s domination leaves everybody else who is trying to sell books and content, and putting up one or two pointers for the future.  Let me know if you’re going to be there – I promise to provide some energising food for thought for everyone.

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