London City book fair looks to cash in on crisis literature

LONDON Tue Oct 16, 2012 8:43pm IST

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LONDON (Reuters) - As the global economy lurches from one crisis to another, one industry is benefiting from the uncertainty. Books that try to make sense of it all are selling well - and will get their own bookfair in London next month.

The City Book Fair, aimed at flogging high-brow works to financial professionals in London's financial "City" district, is the first of its kind, the organizers say, and reflects the burgeoning market for crisis critique.

"Particularly now after we've gone through the credit crunch, the banking crisis and now we've got the euro crisis, there are so many books coming out at the moment," said event director Matthew Clements to Reuters.

"There's so much to talk about in that regard that it wasn't just a matter of authors plugging their own books, it was a matter of there's actually a lot to talk about, because it's happening all the time, there's developments all the time."

Once niche subjects largely ignored by the mainstream media, business and economics have taken centre stage in recent years as global financial crises had made topics like sovereign debt and credit swaps dinner party talk.

In Britain, BBC journalist Robert Peston's 'How Do We Fix This Mess?' is the latest of many books on the subject, while popular economics works like Nassim Nicholas Taleb's 'Black Swan' and Nouriel Roubini's 'Crisis Economics' have topped bestseller lists internationally.

The City Book Fair organizers are hoping that four days of speeches on the likes of short-term trading techniques, starting a hedge fund and resolving LIBOR issues will woo around 500 financial professionals to the Bishopsgate Institute, a library and culture centre in the heart of London's financial district. The model was based on Britain's annual spring Hay-on-Wye literary festival, Clements said.

"We took a bit of inspiration from the Hay book festival, which is structured around selling books, but the authors of the books give talks. We thought nothing in the City has been done like this before and it's an area where there is demand," he said.

Speakers at the Nov 12-15 fair will include journalist and 'The Money Machine' author Philip Coggan, economist and writer Roger Bootle, 'What Does China Think?' author Mark Leonard and ex-Financial Services Authority head Howard Davies, who has written a book about the 2008 financial crisis.

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