Wandering “Book Festival” Contest Goes Global

By Neal Comment

Bella Stander has a new blog entry on her suspicions about a new literary event called the London Book Festival (not to be confused with the London Book Fair). Her skepticism is provoked by the fact that this festival, ostensibly to promote “books that deserve greater recognition from the international publishing community,” ultimately seems a lot more like a contest, including a $50 administrative fee for each book entered. So she did some digging, and discovered that this London event is the latest production from JM Northern Media LLC, which has put on similar events in Hollywood (for “books that deserve greater recognition from the film, television, game and multimedia communities”) and New York (for “books that deserve greater recognition from the world’s publishing capital”). And last week’s DIY Book Festival, for books that were either “self-published or
issued by an independent publishing house.”

Stander still doesn’t think much of the idea, especially after she unearthed a powerful dose of Miss Snark‘s scorn. “It’s brilliant,” she elaborated when we touched base about the post. “Collect $50 for each book (I’m sure hundreds, if not thousands, come in), spend a few thousand dollars on the prize & awards dinner, and pocket the difference.” Some observers, however, have been willing to cut the organization a little more slack. “They do spend quite a bit of money they get putting on their shows,” was one response to the Snarkfest. “It is not take your money and run time.” So maybe one might just write it off as a perpetual press release generating machine. Then again, for some people, that’s bad enough.