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Quantum Virtual Conference Leaps ‘Around The World in 8 Hours’ With London Book Fair

Nielsen Book has been at the center of the book supply chain for over 150 years and has exhibited at London Book Fair, part of Reed Exhibitions, since it started many years ago originally as, The London and International Book Fair. Therefore, we were delighted to be approached by the London Book Fair last year to discuss how we could collaborate and provide market insights to the book community.

The first fruit of this collaboration was the Quantum Virtual Conference, which took place on Jan. 27, 2016, in eight counties over eight hours. The event started early—7 a.m. Greenwich Mean Time—with Jonathan Stolper, senior vice president and global managing director, Nielsen, speaking on a podcast about children’s book publishing in China with moderator Alicia Liu, Singing Grass, and Jo Lusby, Penguin North Asia. The podcast provided an opportunity to showcase OpenBook market data, which incorporates Nielsen BookScan sales data.

The event then moved to New Zealand at 8 a.m. GMT, where Nevena Nikolic, sales and marketing manager, Nielsen, used Twitter as the platform for a discussion on the New Zealand Book Market. Nikolic was joined by Kevin Chapman from Upstart Press and Melanie Laville-Moore from Allen and Unwin Tilly Lloyd from Unity Books moderated.

Poland was in the spotlight at 9 a.m. GMT. Rudiger Wischenbart, Grzegorz Gauden, Polish Book Institute, Wlodzimierz Albin, Wolters Kluwer, and Sonia Draga, founder of Sonia Draga Publishing in Poland, discussed the current challenges facing the Polish book industry.

At 10 a.m. GMT, the event moved swiftly to India where Vikrant Mathur, director of Nielsen Book India, took part in a webcast. Joining Mathur to discuss the India Book Market and the effect of e-books was Ankit Pahwa from Kobo and P.M. Sukumar, former CEO of HarperCollins India. Mathur drew on insights from our recently published India Book Market Report, a comprehensive report on the India book market.

At 12 p.m. GMT, Andre Breedt, director of Nielsen Book Research International, gave a global market overview. It put all the key markets into perspective and was a valuable source of information for everyone in the book industry. At 1 p.m. GMT, we whizzed over to the Philippines. While this isn’t a region covered by Nielsen Book, Ashleigh Gardner from Wattpad, Christine Ko from Summit Books and Porter Anderson, editor-in–chief, Publishing Perspectives, Tweeted about how Wattpad has turned online fiction into a multimedia success.

South Africa was next on the list at 2 p.m. GMT, where Andre Breedt changed hats and joined authors Deon Meyer and Charlie Human, as well as Jennifer Malec from Books LIVE for a lively discussion. Deon Meyer won the Nielsen Booksellers’ Choice Award a few years ago, so we were delighted he could participate in this leg of the journey. We love it when authors engage with data and understand how important it is to have an objective market measure.

At 3 p.m. GMT, we hit Brazil, where Luiz Gaspar, now running Nielsen BookScan Spain (previously working in Brazil), talked about the Brazilian book market with Renata Petengill, Editora Record, and Carlo Carrenho, a Brazilian publishing consultant (as moderator). Another key topic discussed was what Brazilians will be reading in the run-up to the Rio Olympics this year.

By 4 p.m. GMT, we rolled into the U.S. for an audience with Kempton Mooney, senior director, research and analytics, Nielsen, who gave an overview of the U.S. book market via Twitter. This was then followed by a discussion between journalist Damien Walter (moderator) and author Richard Kadrey. With adult coloring books, as well as the movies The Martian and Star Wars, driving sales of adult non-fiction, it was an interesting look at what’s selling and future trends. And the session—It’s a genre world out there—looked at how authors are responding to this trend.

While this was a whirlwind tour, it was an important one for the industry globally. Nielsen and London Book Fair have other collaborations in the pipeline—Jo Henry, vice president, insights and analytics, Nielsen, will be presenting at the physical Quantum Conference on April 11, 2016, in London, and we are jointly hosting a Children’s U.K. Summit at the London Book Fair on Thursday, April 14, 2016, in Olympia.