The Editorial Hub at the London Book Fair 2024

Mar 19, 2024 | Events, Scholarly publishing

On Tuesday 12th March we headed off to one of the industry’s leading events in academic publishing. This year the London Book Fair was buzzing; the main hall was filling up as soon as the doors opened, and the Tech Theatre and Main Stages had consistent queues.  Meetings, networking and seminars are all key elements of the fair and this year we were lucky enough to participate and find out more about the challenges facing the industry. 



The hot topic as ever was AI, and we attended a talk hosted by Sureshkumar Parandhaman (AVP of Publishing Solutions and Pre-Sales, Integra) entitled “Embracing AI in Publishing: Transform Editorial Excellence and Enhance Downstream Efficiency”. Needless to say it’s evident that tools are being developed to tackle many of the administrative tasks that editorial services provide, however we know there will still be an important role for us to play as integrity, quality and efficiency are all integral within our roles.


During a key discussion about AI and copyright it was stated that when King Charles’ recent surgery was announced, over 250 AI-generated texts filled the virtual Amazon bookshelves the very next day! Content is quick to make, and the session “Global Discussion of Machines, Humans, and the Law” hosted by Glenn Rollans (President and Publisher, Brush Education Inc.), Nicola Solomon (CEO, Society of Authors), Porter Anderson (Editor-in-Chief, Publishing Perspectives), Dan Conway (CEO, The Publishers Association UK) and Maria A. Pallante (President and CEO, Association of American Publishers) highlighted how important it is for the copyright holder to be accredited and financially rewarded. Whilst Government bodies manage policy and next steps with regards to AI, we need to be mindful of what we “feed” to LLMs and how “Fair Use” comes into play.


The Editorial Hub at LBF 2024

A panel discussion entitled “AI & Publishing – Navigating the Impact of Large Language Models” was hosted by Lucy McCarraher (Founder, Rethink Press Limited), Nadim Sadek (Founder & CEO, Shimmr AI Ltd), and Sara Lloyd (Group Communications Director & Global AI Lead, Pan Macmillan). The group discussed the ways that LLMs can spark creative thinking and should be used within workshops as a tool to support creativity. In terms of optimising the features of AI it was recommended that the industry looks to use it for creating the structural analysis needed for promotion work. An AI bot can extract book DNA far quicker than a pair of human eyes, so let’s use its skillset appropriately and it can enhance our work, rather than hinder progress. As well as creating copy, it can also be useful for generating advertising and images. As well as connecting couriers and customers, it can scroll databases to highlight potential consumers. The panel really encouraged the audience to engage with the features of AI bots and embrace how useful it can be to enhance and build on capabilities.