AI and Publishing: Our key takeaways from this year’s LBF!

AI and Publishing: Our key takeaways from this year’s LBF!

We have been lucky enough to both host and attend a few events on AI over the last few months, including an enlightening webinar hosted by ALPSP on Navigating AI in academic publishing where from speaking with an ALPSP representative, they informed us that AI has been one of the most requested topics to discuss on their online seminars! It is clear that the topic of AI is hot right now particularly in publishing and so it was no surprise that it was the center of conversation at London Book Fair this year! 

Last month, London Bookfair was buzzing with industry news and developments – AI coming up in several seminars and popping up in a lot of conversations. This is totally understandable; this new tech can completely revolutionize the industry as we know it! But with great opportunity comes uncertainty and it seems that although a lot of publishers are taking a bit more of a cautious approach as they learn more, others are welcoming AI into their organizations with open arms.

Inspired have covered a lot of ground with AI in academic publishing, and so this blog will focus more of other sectors reactions to AI and the key takeaways of discussions from LBF 2024!

Let’s start by looking at some of the positives around AI in publishing:

Improving Workflows: Lots of experts were emphasizing that, if used correctly, AI can actually allow publishing professionals to streamline their workflow and give them more time to work on new and exciting projects! In using AI to automate the repetitive tasks or manage metadata, publishers can focus on creative and new avenues that they did not have time to explore before.

Efficiency with translation: ChatGBT has been used in several trade publishers to assist in the translation of foreign texts. The speed in which translators can now edit and publish these books allow for a larger variety of authors and stories from a variety of backgrounds. With diversity being another key topic in the industry, AI could open a few doors to create a more inclusive environment. 

Creative Assistance: Many authors spoke about the benefits of having AI ‘sitting on their shoulder’ while they overcame writers block and creative issues. Having a tool that can fill in the blank page and take off some pressure is widely welcomed. People are not using it to write whole books, but they are using it as a starting point or as inspiration to lift off from.

Of course, with these new technologies, there are also some risks and concerns which were also discussed: 

Taking Risks: Pan Macmillan’s James Long said that we are still in the ‘risk and opportunity’ phase of AI in publishing. There is a divide between proactive publishers throwing themselves in head first and others who are taking the more considered approach, waiting to see the outcomes of AI integration as they unfold. It is easy to get carried away with the positives and forget that AI is still very new tech and some laws surrounding it are still being worked out. 

Copyright Protection: Maria Pallante, president and CEO of the Association of American Publishers spoke on the importance of protecting author rights first and considering AI applications after. She insisted that we made sure that there are not too many legal exceptions when it comes to copyrighting AI generated text. Copyright laws are to protect human creators and so we want to ensure that AI does not lead to undermining loopholes. 

Artificial Intelligence graphic

It is also important to remember that AI is nothing without human input and management. Many specialists do not see AI ‘taking over’ and replacing text written by the human hand as storytelling is at the heart of publishing and has been used for centuries, creating connections between humans that a machine cannot replicate. AI is not going to be able to come in and replace that anytime soon.

The conversation is still ongoing and there is still so much to learn, but one thing is for sure and that is that AI is not going away anytime soon so we must learn how to work with it in the best way for our businesses and teams. Want to hear more about AI in Publishing right now? We were delighted to host a LinkedIn Live in January discussing all things AI in Publishing where our Managing Director, Suzy Astbury was joined by Sara Lloyd, Group Communications Director and Global AI Lead at Pan Macmillan, and Nadim Sadek, Founder and CEO of Shimmr AI, an organisation who help publishers with their AI strategy. If you missed it or want a recap you can find our key takeaways and watch the episode in full here.




Did you like this article? Want to read more like this? Why not sign up to the Library Updates on your account?

Sign up