The Booksellers Association of the United Kingdom & Ireland Limited

OpenBooks launches to the public on 22 and 23 February 2023

OpenBooks – the new virtual initiative to connect young people with potential careers within the book industry, is to launch to the public on 22 and 23 February 2023 via 
Demystifying career options, identifying routes in, and positioning the book industry alongside other inspirational creative industries such as film, TV and music, OpenBooks is a series of free, accessible online events targeting 14-19 year olds, and especially those from under-represented backgrounds. The collaboration by the Publishers Association, Booksellers Association and The Association of Authors’ Agents, has support from across the book industry and public funding from the National Lottery through Arts Council England.
The programme will go live on the 22 and 23 February and will remain online after the initial launch. All events will be available virtually via free to view platforms and will be supported by social media activity from across the book industry. Accessibility will also be enhanced with transcripts for every panel session.
OpenBooks will be promoted into schools and colleges with targeted advertising reaching over 5000 UK secondary schools and colleges, via local bookshops and with amplification from across the book industry and beyond. All activity will be shared from the hub:
The series of short virtual events will introduce young people to the books industry, including publishing, bookselling, agenting and much more, making connections with young viewers’ interests, creative skills, and passions. These events will feature industry speakers including Becky Thomas (Literary Agent, Lewinsohn Literary Agency), Daphne Lao Tonge (founder, Illumicrate and Daphne Press) , Zain Mahmood (Head of Ecommerce, Waterstones), and Amy Mae Baxter (Senior Editor, Dialogue Books), and will be hosted by authors including Juno Dawson, Cerrie Burnell and Children’s Laureate Joseph Coelho. (Full panel details below)
Joseph Coelho, Waterstones Children’s Laureate 2022 – 2024 and award-winning performance poet, playwright, and children’s author, said of OpenBooks:

OpenBooks is a vital initiative in ensuring that the future of the books industry is healthy, progressive and more clearly identifiable as an exciting and achievable career option to a diverse range of young people. I hope that showing the wealth of opportunity and creativity across the industry - from publishing, agenting, bookselling and far beyond - will prove inspiring, and I'm delighted to support it.”

Also launching will be short form video content, including 5 Minutes With videos, giving an insight into inspiring careers options and real life journeys, and Come to Work with Me videos, which will provide a look behind-the-scenes in real jobs.
Organisations and individuals in the books industry are encouraged to get involved in the initiative by sharing a short video or content of their own choice to social media with the tag #OpenBooks.
For any queries, suggestions or to request an interview or help in another way with amplifying the OpenBooks events, please contact project managers Kat McKenna, Katherine Woodfine and Nina Douglas on (for PR specific enquiries, please cc
Follow our activity, and for updates on social media via #OpenBooks

SHELF HELP: BOOK INDUSTRY 101 - If you love... books! A one-stop to help you find your path in the industry 
22 February, 10-10.45am
HOST: Joseph Coelho (Children’s Laureate, poet and author)
PANEL: Becky Thomas (Literary Agent, Lewinsohn Literary Agency), Amy Mae Baxter (Senior Editor, Dialogue Books), James Routledge (Manager, the bound)
If you’re looking for a one-stop event to find out why the book industry is for YOU, then look no further. Learn about the vast array of opportunities in this creative and fascinating industry, as well as the passions and skills that might be useful to get you through the door. From publishing the best new books, to working with writers as a literary agent, or working in retail to get books into readers’ hands, there are so many amazing paths to choose from. Discover your perfect bookish career – whether that be as an editor, a publicist, or lots more jobs in the book industry you might never have heard of before. 

DOING THE BOOKS - If you love... maths, business and sales
22 February, 11-11.30am
HOST: Fleur Sinclair (Owner, Sevenoaks Bookshop)
PANEL: Daphne Lao Tonge (founder, Illumicrate and Daphne Press), Meera Ghanshamdas (Director, Round Table Books CIC), Zain Mahmood (Head of Ecommerce, Waterstones)
Are you a whiz with a graph or spreadsheet? Perhaps you’re single-handedly running your own small business empire on Tiktok or Etsy? If so, could you work in book retail or publisher sales? Find out how to put your book shopping skills to serious work with our panel featuring a bookshop owner, subscription box founder and eCommerce expert. They’ll show you the power of crunching the numbers, using business skills, and how to make sure brilliant new books get into readers' hands.

JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS COVER - If you love... art and design
22 February, 1.30-2.00pm
HOST: Jack Noel (author/illustrator and Fiction Art Director, Andersen Press)
PANEL: Ebyan Egal (Studio Manager, Cornerstone), Robyn Watts (Senior Production Controller, HarperCollins)
There’s never been a better time to embrace your creativity. If you have a passion for art and design, join us on this incredible panel of talented publishing stars. Discover how you could use your creative talents to make beautiful books, from cover illustration to text design to high quality production. You'll learn all about these inspiring roles in design, art, illustration or production - and discover career paths you may never have heard of before!

A NOVEL IDEA - If you love... words and incredible stories
22 February, 2.30-3.15pm
HOST: Bethany Rutter (author)
PANEL: Silé Edwards (literary agent, Andrew Nurnberg), Mireille Harper (Editorial Director, Bluebird), Juliet Pickering (literary agent,  Blake Friedmann), Mo Hafeez (Commissioning Editor, Guardian Faber), Ben Horslen (Fiction Publisher, Penguin Random House Children’s)
Whether you like dreaming up stories and reading with an eagle-eye for detail, or love the idea of working closely with brilliant writers and illustrators - if you're passionate about words, storytelling and writing, then this session is the one for you. Find out more about working in an editorial role in a publishing house, or how you could become a literary agent, from a line-up of inspiring talent. 

SPREADING THE WORD - If you love... being a tastemaker in your gang
23 February, 10.30am-11am
HOST: Juno Dawson (author)
PANEL: Paul Black (PR/Brand Director, Andersen) Akua A Boateng (Marketing Manager, Adult Consumer, Bloomsbury), Sabah Khan (Head of Publicity, Adult, Fiction & Non-Fiction, Simon & Schuster)
Can’t stop talking about the latest book you’ve read? Excited by the idea of meeting writers and readers at book events and festivals? Or are you obsessed with adverts, branding, and how to help people discover their next favourite purchase? This session is packed with ideas for how you could use your enthusiasm working in book publicity, marketing or events. Come along and learn how a skill for spreading the word could become your dream vocation.

THE INTERNET MADE ME BUY LIT - If you love... making connections and shouting about books online
23 February, 11.30am-12pm
HOST: Cerrie Burnell (author)
PANEL: Mubarak Elmubarak (Head of Digital Marketing and Brand, Michael Joseph), Elle Jones (Head of Video and Metadata, Pan Macmillan), Kiri Inglis (Marketing and Editorial Manager,
Are you addicted to searching BookTok for the next big thing? Do you instantly head to Insta or Reddit when you finish the final page of your latest read?  Or perhaps you’re fascinated by the ways that digital platforms might change the ways we read, share stories, and discover books in the future? Learn about how you could work in the book industry in these exciting roles relating to digital, social media, data and analysis.

YOUR PASSPORT INTO BOOKS - If you love...meeting people from around the world and travel
23 February, 1.30-2pm
HOST: Chloe Coles (author/UK and Export Sales Executive for Europe at Bounce)
PANEL: Roxane Edouard (literary agent, Curtis Brown), Jemma McDonagh (Deputy Managing Director, The Marsh Agency), Sunhee Jin (Senior Sales Manager, DK), Aude Bolechala (Manager, Nomad Books)
Are you an aspiring globetrotter who loves to travel and make connections with people around the world? Got a special talent for languages? Fascinated by books and stories from other countries and cultures? This session will explore opportunities in some of the most well-travelled jobs in the books industry - international sales, rights and export - and speak to some of the talented people travelling the globe to get readers hooked on the latest books.