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The London Book Fair Announces Market Focus 2017: Poland

The London Book Fair Announces Market Focus 2017: Poland

3rd March 2016

The London Book Fair, its UK partners the British Council and the Publishers Association; and the Polish Book Institute have announced Poland as the Market Focus for London Book Fair 2017. 

The London Book Fair Market Focus programme is a key opportunity for UK and international publishers to liaise with their foreign counterparts, and seek out and capitalise on new business partnerships. Market Focus Poland will combine an extensive professional programme with a comprehensive schedule of cultural events celebrating the very best of Polish literature and writing. 

The professional programme, organised by The London Book Fair and the Publishers Association, will be an all-encompassing series of events and publisher meetings, providing essential insight into the Polish publishing industry, while highlighting business opportunities and showcasing the market’s importance in the wider context of international publishing. 

Market Focus Poland’s Cultural Programme will be curated by the British Council and will bring some of the most prominent and exciting visiting and Britain-based Polish writers to the UK. The series of public events, which will take place at various venues across the country, will provide a valuable opportunity for UK audiences and publishers to meet and interact with Polish authors. 

Grzegorz Gauden, Director of The Polish Book Institute, commented:

“We are all aware that the London Book Fair is one of the most important publishing industry events in the world. I deeply believe that by being the Market Focus country, publishers in English-speaking countries will become interested in new books from Poland and in the entire offer from our publishing industry. We are announcing our appearance at the London Book Fair while the Polish city of Wrocław is not only the European Capital of Culture, but also the World Book Capital. 

We have something to boast about: there are many interesting authors in Polish contemporary literature, and there are several literary genres, such as reportage and crime fiction, which are considered around the world as Poland’s speciality. With Poland’s fantastic children’s books – which have received numerous awards and have been published all over the world – as well as interesting publishing design and excellently developed printing techniques, Poland’s appearance at the London Book Fair promises to be exciting.” 

Jacks Thomas, Director of The London Book Fair, stated:

“Our Market Focus programme has always been an important part of The London Book Fair. It is a great opportunity to bring the world closer to a particular market and vice versa, to open doors, and to facilitate important conversations and partnerships that enable cross-cultural collaborations. We are extremely excited to be working with our partners at the Polish Book Institute, the British Council and the 

Publishers Association, to deliver cultural and professional programmes that benefit the industry in a number of ways. 

Poland has a rich cultural and literary heritage and with over 32,480 published titles a-year it continues to be a major player, a significant importer and exporter of translated works, and an innovator in the digital space. It’s a great time to be working in or doing business with the Polish publishing industry.” 

Cortina Butler, Director Literature at the British Council said:

“We are very excited that Poland has been chosen as The London Book Fair Market Focus country for 2016, the first nation from the European Union to feature in this way. Polish is spoken by more than 500,000 people in the UK but Poland’s rich literary heritage and exciting contemporary writing is not as well known here as it should be. We welcome the opportunity to curate a cultural programme with partners in Poland and the UK that strengthens the cultural links between our two countries, forges connections between our writers and literary organisations, and increases awareness and appreciation of our literature with a legacy of more books translated and published in both countries.” 

Stephen Lotinga, CEO at The Publishers Association, commented:

“The Publishers Association is delighted to be a strategic partner on the Market Focus Poland at The London Book Fair 2017, working on the professional programme. There is a significant opportunity to learn about the latest developments on each other's markets with a view to increasing trade between our markets. Since Poland joined the EU in 2004, the Polish diaspora has grown significantly in the UK (now at about 2 million) and trade to Poland has grown significantly (export sales by a third and rights trading by ten-fold), showing that there is no better time for the UK to welcome Poland as Market Focus.” 

With a translation tradition that dates back to the 16th Century, five Polish Nobel Prizes for Literature awarded to Polish writers in the 20th Century alone, and a market that sells approximately 106m books a year, Poland is a force to be reckoned with in the publishing industry. 

While 49 per cent of Polish book purchases are still made in traditional book shops, its ebook market, which was valued at £10m in 2014, grew substantially by 16.5 percent on the previous year. Foreign literature accounts for a market share of 20.5 per cent, making Poland a land of opportunity for international publishers. 

There will be a programme of events and debates held at this year’s London Book Fair to celebrate the inauguration of Market Focus Poland. The country will also be the Global Market Forum Guest of Honour at this year’s Book Expo America.