Thursday, 31 October 2013

Is the FutureBook Conference a little elitist?

I saw a notice about "The Bookseller's FutureBook 2013 Conference". I was intrigued and went to the website to have a look at what it was all about.

It is described thus: "The Bookseller's FutureBook Conference on 21st November is Europe's biggest publishing conference - a must-attend event, packed with fantastic speakers who will challenge your thinking and help shape your strategy for 2014. A great opportunity to network and connect with over 600 industry leaders, there will be 40+ speakers, 9 sessions, 7 big ideas pitched and stimulating discussion and debate."

Sounds interesting.

I looked for where this is being held: QEII Conference Centre, Westminster. No problem.

I looked for the cost of attendance: £399 for non-subscribers (to The Bookseller). (It's £368 for subscribers.) And these prices EXclude VAT.

Now that seems a lot to me. I'm not denying that setting up the conference, paying for the venue, and presumably paying at least some of the speakers will cost a bit of money. But £478.80 to attend?

As a (very often underpaid!) small business, I don't think so.

Is it rather elitist?

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Tuesday, 22 October 2013

The curse of being able to read accurately

I see that Lynne Truss is giving up on lecturing people about punctuation. She’s not giving up on punctuation, just on lecturing people about it.

It’s a shame. It is ten years since her book on the subject, Eats, Shoots & Leaves, came out and of course she cannot be expected to carry the torch for punctuation single handed.

The book cannot maintain its currency for ever, even though its contents will certainly hold good for many years (we could hope for ever!). Shops stock other books; people move on and buy other books.

In her weekly article recently in the Sunday Telegraph ( Ms Truss cites several examples where missing or incorrect punctuation could have led to misunderstandings.

The trouble, she says, is that people expect you to be able to understand what they’re trying to say. The keywords is trying. People like Ms Truss who understand punctuation understand what people have written, not what they’re trying to write. It is a curse.