Seminars @BBPlus

A topical seminar programme takes place throughout the fair. It considers the challenges and opportunities facing the industry through 45 minute seminars led by industry names from across the globe.
As ever AI features strongly with three seminars dedicated to the subject.
Other themes include: literary translation; audio; the Italian book market; English language exports; the Indian market and freedom to publish.


The 2024 seminars programme

All take place in the BolognaBookPLus Theatre, Hall 29 unless otherwise stated.

Monday 8 April 2024


Do Androids Dream of Great Alternative Descriptions for Images?        

Gautier Chomel, Project Manager EDRLab; Gregorio Pellegrino, Chief Accessibility Officer Fondazione LIA; Paolo Casarini, CTO / IT Director Società editrice il Mulino; Moderator: Elisa Molinari, Project manager Fondazione LIA

A crucial component of accessibility is providing reliable alternative descriptions for images. However, crafting alternative descriptions for images stands out as a particularly challenging task for publishers, due to the need for specialised knowledge and the amount of time to ensure accuracy. This is especially pronounced when attempting to make backlist titles accessible, as they were not originally designed with accessibility in mind. Fondazione LIA will explore the world in which AI meets the alternative description of images with insights from professionals in the field, exposing both the possibilities through a showcase of the options available and the concrete applications already adopted by the industry. 

11:30-12:20 PM

The Italian General Book Market 2023, with a Focus on the Children's Book Market: Destination Frankfurt        

Bruno Giancarli, AIE Research Department

A presentation of the latest available data of the Italian publishing market to foreign operators: sales, titles published, translation rights sold. Followed by an insight on the children’s book market, its growth despite the demographic crisis, the differences among age groups, the role of internationalisation.

12:15 PM

Opening ceremony India in the Limelight, India Stand Hall 29. Painting a Picture for a Bright Future for Indian Publishing

In Conversation: Mr Yuvraj Malik, Director, National Book Trust India, with Jacks Thomas, Director, BolognaBookPlus.

1:00 PM-1:45 PM

Gen Z, AI, and the Search for New Purpose in Publishing and Beyond   

Nadim Sadek, CEO Shimmr 

The advent of AI and rise of Generation Z are catalysing sweeping changes in the publishing industry and society more broadly. As AI enables automation that doubles economic efficiencies, it raises profound questions about how to allocate newly freed-up human time and attention. Simultaneously, Gen Z's penchant for questioning established norms is accelerated by AI's instant access to collective knowledge. Literature stands to be reinvigorated as young influencers use AI to enable bold new writing that reexamines fundamental assumptions about how the world operates. The result could be a publishing renaissance built on innovative ideas and original expression. This session will explore how the interplay between AI and Gen Z thinking is shaping everything from publishing houses to educational institutions to democratic governance. Beyond transforming the printed page, these forces promise to redefine learning, literature, and the very purpose of human endeavor. Nadim will look at both the opportunities and ethical challenges presented by AI's broad influence spanning publishing, education, and democracy. 

2:00 PM-2:45 PM

English Language Exports: A Threat and an Opportunity. Is Italy Next?

Andre Breedt Nielsen Book and Enrico Turin, FEP

Andre Breedt, Nielsen Book will present data about English language book sales in European markets, as well as highlighting global trends that translate, and those that don't.

2:00 PM-2:45 PM
Talking Pictures: Ukraine’s Contemporary Visual Book Production

At The Illustrators Survival Corner- Masterclass area Hall 20

3:00 PM-3:45 PM

How to Build a D2C Community One Step at a Time     

Sarah Arbuthnot, Supadu

4:00 PM-4:45 PM

Supporting a Trinity of Freedoms: to Express; to Publish; to Read    

Kristenn Einarsson, Chair IPA Freedom to Publish Committee; Enrica Manenti, Librarian Modena; Barbara Hoepli, Hoepli bookshop, Milan; Porter Anderson, Publishing Perspectives.

The pressures on who can say what, who can read what, or what is acceptable to be published are increasing around the world. Organisations representing the international book sector have come together to demonstrate the intrinsically linked freedoms at the heart of the book sector:  the freedom of expression, the freedom to publish, and the freedom to read. This session will look at the pressures authors, booksellers, librarians and publishers face and what the sector can do to ensure these freedoms are enjoyed by everyone. 

5:00 PM-5:30 PM

5.3 Billion Readers: the Invisible Global Digital Opportunity  

Giacomo D'Angelo, TNPS publisher and StreetLib CEO

In 2024 there are 8.1 billion people on the planet and 5.3 billion of them are online, using a device that could be used to read/listen to digitally-published content, yet many publishers are still partying like its 1999. Or 2010. In 2010 then were just 53 million internet users across the whole of Africa. Today there are over 600 million, and the continent is still only at 44% internet penetration. By comparison, the USA has just 312 million people online. The European Union has only 398 million internet users. In Asia, Indonesia has 212 million people online, Bangladesh 130 million, Pakistan 101 million, and India 8333 million.


Tuesday 9 April 2024

1:00 PM-1:45 PM

In the AI of the Beholder: how to see the Human Reading Behind the AI 

Priya Sathiyam, Fractal.AI

The possibilities and perils of Generative AI have dramatically shaken every industry this year including the publishing world. The need of the hour is to bring a human centered approach to design the use of technology ethically and responsibly for our readers, especially for our young readers at the Bologna children’s book fair. From AI, AR/VR, AirPods and Amazon Kindle to Nintendo Wii, Whatsapp, Microsoft Zoom all A to Z technologies is rapidly changing the way our young readers create, curate, share and read. These new technologies have both enhancing and degrading influences on our readers. As readers, we love being more immersive in our reading but we are easily distracted and less focused on actual content. We have become more exploratory and experimental in what we read and at the same time we acquire less depth in subject matter. We feel better informed about any topic and at same time feel less compelled to act and change, impacting the fundamental reason why we read. We are surrounded by over information and yet see gaps in knowledge and understanding. We constantly seek for social validation from our peer group to read something and at the same time want hyper personalized unique content that is just for us and not to be shared. The content we publish has become more affordable and at the same time they have become less accessible to all. There is more to read for everyone and yet not fully inclusive. As a result, as a publishing industry, we are excited and at the same time confused about how to use technology to enhance our reader’s experience for the better. Not to worry, when we understand how evolution has wired our brains to read and how technology is further rewiring our brains today, we can make better decisions on how to design for our evolving readers. Based on disciplines such as human centered design and behaviour economics, we can design AI technology that can make reading useful, usable, beautiful, joyful, sustainable and responsible for every single reader around the world. In this session let us draw our attention to the human holding the AI, than on just AI itself. This could open us to a lot of opportunities and possibilities for the publishing world to change the world for the better.

4:00 PM-4:45 PM

Unlocking AI, VR, AR in Publishing: tools for Authoring and Digital Content 

Sam Habibi Minelli, GruppoMeta and Giorgio Genta ETT Group. 

The dynamic intersection of AI, VR, and AR in publishing is a fact. Innovative authoring tools and cutting-edge solutions are changing the digital content creation and distribution. How can these technologies and tools really empower authors in crafting immersive experience able to engage audiences like never before? How can the publisher unlock the potential of AI -driven creativity and redefine the future of publishing and storytelling? Enjoy our presentation to talk about this incoming publishing revolution.

4:45 PM-5:30 PM
Storytelling, characters and illustrations: Italian children's publishing abroad | Destination Frankfurt


Wednesday 10 April

10:00- 10:50

Books From Taiwan 1: Discover and Translate 

Catrina Liu, Project Manager, Books from Taiwan; Shin Su, MD, Bk Agency; Kim Pai, Founder, The PaiSha Agency; Daniel Hahn, author and translator.

Taiwan is home to a wealth of literature waiting to be discovered. Covering a range of genres from fiction to manga to children’s books, Taiwan agents and publishers are the gateway to undiscovered and yet to be translated books. With a generous translation grant available for rights buying publishers, this session will highlight how to engage with Taiwan and where to look for its hidden gems.


Translation Forum 2. Marketing and Promotion of Books in Translation: Who, How and Why?

Merve Yavuzdemir, TEDA Translation Grant Project; Katharina Bielenburg, Tamer Said, Sharjah Literary Agency; Porter Anderson, Publishing Perspectives.

In various book markets worldwide, a significant portion of the literature available is comprised of translations from foreign languages into the native language. Publishers and booksellers face the task of effectively marketing and selling these translated books to the general public. One key question arises: do marketing and promotion techniques differ for translated literature? Additionally, what challenges and opportunities do publishers and booksellers encounter in the sale of translated books? Moreover, how does the author and translator contribute to the marketing process when their book is available in multiple languages? Lastly, the panel will provide practical steps and advice for creating a successful campaign for translated literature.

12:00 PM-12:30 PM

European Prize for Literature announcement and networking drinks 

12:45 PM-1:15 PM

India in the Limelight: Global Opportunities for General and Children’s Publishing in India: 
Export or Translation?

1:30 PM-1:45 PM

Jackets Off discussion around ‘War and Peace’

Ivan Canu, Mimaster

2:15 PM – 5:30 PM

Audio Forum: 

2:15 PM Audio Forum Introduction
Jacks Thomas, BBPlus Guest Director, Nathan Hull, Beat Technology 

2:25 PM In Conversation with Amanda D'Acierno, Penguin Random House USA

2:55 PM Multi-language Strategies in the Global Book Market
Miles Steven-Hoare, RB Media International 

3:05 PM Podcasts: Adaption to Audio... and Back
Michele Cobb, President Audio Publishers Association; Chiara Santella, Founder Studio Ochenta; Sabrina Tinelli, Chora; Carla Herbertson, Founder Small Wardour

3:35 PM Strategies for Effective Distribution and Monetisation
Tina Jurgens, co-CEO, Zebralution

4:00 PM From Digital to Physical: Global opportunities for Children’s Publishers with Audio Players 
Carla Herbertson, Founder, Small Wardour; Eloise Elandaloussi, Tonies; Jessica Tarrant; Matteo Fabbrini; Jim Jacob, Story Button

4:30 PM Understanding Listener Behaviours via Data
Giulia Lo Monaco, Bookwire

4:40 PM Voices from the Diaspora
Nathan Hull, Beat Technology; Ajay Mago, Om Books; Raúl Perez, Grupo Planeta; Liza Faja, Lizzie

5:15 PM Networking reception