Digital Leaf visits Bologna
We came, we saw, we ate pasta. Oh and we went to the Children’s Book Fair and met all the right people. As newbies we tried to look cool, blend in and not upset the printed book experts with out digital upstartery. Well, one out of three ain’t bad.
It was an education for us. The fair itself was overwhelming in terms of its sheer scale. Illustrators, translators, publishers and the like met, mingled and sold rights. This is the place to come with a vague storyline and a roughed-up front cover and sell the rights to Europe. With the right connections, meetings and the whiff of a succesful product this is the place to make a deal. We will return next year older and wiser.
The Digital Café was where we felt most at home. Here we heard interesting talks on all aspects of the digital publishing business. We saw some impressive new software (not even on sale yet but apparently just around the corner). Such software promises to make the very expensive business of building apps into a much more affordable proposition.
Two companies, App Generation and Robot Media both had software in the pipleline that looked interesting. While you’re not able to deliver the cleverness and originality of a bespoke app they will deliver much of the animation and interactivity of the best children’s apps, including word highlighting and other great features, for a fraction of the cost. Needless to say we’re on the waiting list for that software and hope to use it in future to offer individuals more cost-effective ways to get into the market with a decent product.
Bologna itself was charming and over-run with students. Our bed and breakfast was perfectly located to explore the city a little and we did just that. Coffee on the main square at sunset was the highlight. Suffice to say it was an enjoyable business trip and we will return next year, minus the learner plates and with enthusiasm.