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BookExpo, Google and Authors' groups

1 June 2015

This was a week packed with news, much of it from Book Expo, so this is just a short summary.

The theme of the International Digital Publishing Forum on Day One of the fair was ‘putting readers' first' but Richard Charkin of Bloomsbury, now International Publishers' Association head, pointed out that power is shifting to authors. The author is "our fundamental customer, and the next few years will be all about looking after the author. We've got a long way to go."

Michael Bhasker mentioned a Gallup finding that the average American consumes information equal to an astounding 175 newspapers daily. His speech focused on the importance of curation and he argued in favour of fewer but better books. To prove his point, he noted that Goodreads now have no less than 40 million users.

Also at BEABookExpo America, commonly referred to within the book publishing industry as BEA. The largest annual book trade fair in the United States, James Patterson launched his children's imprint, ‘jimmy patterson', dedicated to getting kids reading. Now there's an author who Puts his money where his mouth is.

This was the week in which Google closed down Google Play Books Partner Center. This is a blow to authors who could benefit by uploading their books, but it has been taken over by fake publishers and people uploading pirated apps, so Google's action seems justified.

Finally, a cheering article about UK authors' groups acting as safe havens for writers, a place where they can discuss any problems within a supportive environment. The Killer Women is a group of female crime writers. The Prime Writers (on Twitter and Facebook) is a group for authors publishing their first book over the age of 40. The History Girls, which has been going for some time, has 28 writers and was set up when historical fiction came back into vogue. It has a daily blog.