4. Report from LBF and What Works conference

The London Bookfair is a mayor event in the publishing industry and this year the focus was on the Baltic States. Read here about the prizes two of our members (Zvaigzne and Alma Littera, the group Sviesa belongs to) won in the international excellence awards.

There was also an interesting session entitled Educational Publishing in the Baltics: from Soviet state-sponsored textbooks to digital learning, and teaching materials in 30 years. Here's an abstract:

This year, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are celebrating the centenary of their independence. Independent statehood, however, was in all three countries reinstated short of thirty years ago. The process involved many reforms in all walks of life, education included, and necessitated the introduction of a new educational programme, new curricula, new study materials. In what way has educational publishing developed during these thirty years? What sort of an impact does technological progress have on study materials? How have schools adopted digital materials, and are schools/teachers prepared to accept and implement them? Do the current educational policies support the preparation of and transition to digital learning and teaching materials?

We are going to put the presentations on the EEPG website when we re-launch the public area, but if you are interested right now and would like more information, I am sure that the speakers, Sintija Buhanovska (Zvaigzne), Jurgita Naceviciene (Sviesa) and Marili Pärtel (Maurus) will agree for me to make their presentations available directly.

Unfortunately, the What Works? Successful Publishing Resources & Technologies for the Future Conference did not meet most people's expectations. The format and organization were quite different from previous years but the actual panel discussions and the fire side talk did not bring many new insights into what "successful strategies" could be. In addition, this was very much centred on the British market and the British school system. However, it was comforting to see that most panellists agreed on a number of points:
  • any kind of teaching/learning material has to be easy to allocate and use
  • material has to work offline as well as online
  • material should be enhanced
  • curriculum has to be the driving force for developments
  • teachers have to be better trained, especially in how to select and use digital resources
    and also that the main source of income for most educational publishers are still printed materials. While this is not true for some of our members, it is a consolation for others that they are not alone in the struggle for finding and establishing working business models based on digital. The What Works conference showed amongst other things, that content and not the method of deliverance is still the most important asset, possibly together with services for educators.