These Popular Topics Are on the Rise in the Publishing Industry

At the London Book Fair, industry professionals made clear their publishing priorities. Read on to discover the topics you can expect to read soon.

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The upcoming trends in publishing were unveiled at the London Book Fair, an international book publishing trade fair. Tens of thousands of agents, authors, translators, and publishers convene in London to connect with other industry professionals and customers, secure business deals, make sales, and discuss the challenges and what to expect in the ever-changing publishing world. The trends include critical social justice and political themes, as well as the ever-influential impact of TikTok on the literary industry. Here is a glimpse into the future, and here is the subject matter readers can anticipate being at the forefront of new releases.

Palestine

The tragedies of the Israel-Hamas war have intensified the need to amplify Palestinian voices and experiences through literature. At the London Book Fair, Palestine was a critical subject in many discussions. Book Workers for a Free Palestine held a vigil honoring all the Palestinian writers, academics, and journalists killed in the war, and English PEN conducted two seminars on the freedom of expression of Palestine and Palestinian writers.

Book jacket for Palestinian Walks: Forays Into a Vanishing Landscape by Raja Shehadeh. A large white building is in the far away right corner. It's in the mountains, with desert sand and small trees in front of it.
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Prolific writer, lawyer, and human rights activist Raja Shehadeh struck a deal with Profile Books, allowing them the rights to What Does Israel Fear from Palestine?. This novel explores Israel’s missed opportunities for instilling peace. Shehadeh’s other books, such as Palestinian Walks: Forays Into a Vanishing Landscape and We Could Have Been Friends, My Father and I: A Palestinian Memoir, are poignant, insightful works on the profound experiences of Palestinians and the history between Israel and Palestine. Now more than ever, educating ourselves on these significant events is critical.

Climate Change and Sustainability

Two books accepted for publication by Hachette imprints include Ocean by David Attenborough and Colin Butfield and Coastlines: A Four-Billion Year Journey Along the World’s Seashores by Ben Wilson. As the climate crisis exacerbates year after year, sustainability in the publishing industry is a budding subject of urgent importance.

A black and white image of a protest sign that says "If not now, when? There is no Planet B." Blurred in the background is a building.
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The Publishing Declares Pledge is a commitment taken by publishing companies to take actions to mitigate the climate crisis, protect biodiversity, and educate, advocate, and build relations on sustainability. According to the Social Impact Director at Penguin, Siena Parker, 184 companies committed to the pledge, promising to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050. At the fair, Parker states that to achieve this goal as soon as possible, those companies need to be supported in their actions toward sustainability.

Artificial Intelligence

AI is a relatively new but controversial topic that is worrying not just publishers but the entire world. Though there is no concern that the writers themselves will be impacted, as the art of writing is an innately human creation, jobs in publishing, like copyright, marketing, and translation, may be taken over by artificial intelligence.

A colorful graphic of the words A.I. encased in a black circle, with multiple A.I. related images coming off of it. Some of those images include a human brain, a map, and technological computer screens.
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The benefits, however, include writing aids. Applications like ChatGPT can kickstart the beginning of a chapter and support writers as they move through their novels and need someone, or something, to bounce their ideas off. Even if a writer dislikes ChatGPT’s idea, the writer will think of their own better alternative to the story. Good or bad, AI will act as a catalyst to transform the literary and publishing industry.

Neurodiverse Voices

Authentic, inclusive representation in media is crucial for readers worldwide to see themselves as the leaders in a story, aiding them in understanding their identities and educating others on previously marginalized experiences. At the London Book Fair specifically, neurodiversity was celebrated as a collection of books starring neurodiverse protagonists was set for publication.

Book jacket for Antigone Kingsley: About Last Summer by Marina Magdalena. A young girl with short, wavy brown hair, yellow, round sunglasses with blue lenses, a white shirt, and a black and gold bracelet has one hand pushing away her hair. The background is thick pink, yellow, green, and blue stripes.
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Recognized in conversation was Marina Magdalena’s Antigone Kingsley series, which follows a girl with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). A groundbreaking seminar led by Pamela Aculey discussed augmented reality technologies that could help neurodiverse children have more inclusive and engaging reading experiences, furthering the representation and understanding of diverse lives.

Romantasy, Greek Retellings, and TikTok

TikTok and its influential BookTok subdivision took the stage at the fair. Good reviews of books on TikTok spread like wildfire, as do their genres. But, as accessibility to TikTok is under fire in the United States, how much longer will the social media app have its hold on the industry?

Book jacket for Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller. A head piece of ancient armor in gold is reconstructed against a teal background.
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Nonetheless, publishers demanded books categorized as romance, romantasy, and Greek retellings as a result of their popularity on TikTok. Authors like Sarah J. Maas and Madeline Miller, whose book sales skyrocketed because of BookTok, are leaders in the genres sought by publishing companies. Expect to see Silvercloak by Laura Steven, a romantic fantasy, She Speaks by Honor Cargill-Martin, a feminist retelling of Greek myths, and Lizzy Tiffin’s debut novel Bad Girls of Ancient Greece on the shelves soon.

These trends reflect what readers themselves believe are important and the stories they wish to amplify. It shows that consumers’ opinions and behaviors are drivers of the content pushed by companies worldwide. Look for these invaluable books the next time you’re perusing a bookstore!


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