Looking Ahead – Should You Attend the London Book Fair?

The London Book Fair (LBF), held April 10 through 12 in 2018, is the global marketplace for rights negotiation and the sale and distribution of content across print, audio, TV, film and digital channels. LBF has grown in both size and importance over the years and is considered as second only to the Frankfurt International Book Fair. It is billed as “a mecca for European publishers, booksellers, rights agents and media trend-spotters.”

Here are some key LBF stats, as listed on the fair website:

  • 25,000 attendees over 3 days
  • 13,000+ visitors from over 118 countries
  • Over 1,500 exhibitors from 60 countries
  • 629 rights table holders
  • 300+ delegates at the LBF Monday Conference: Quantum
  • Social Media reach of over 2.3 Million
  • 17,200 Facebook Likes
  • 49,000+ Twitter followers
  • 6,900+ members, LinkedIn Group
  • Over 240,000+ views on our YouTube channel

Who Visits?

  • Authors
  • Booksellers/Buyers
  • Buyers of Publishing Services, Gifts/Non-book Products
  • Buyers/Sellers of Rights/IP/Content
  • Digital Solutions Developers/Buyers
  • Distributors
  • Licensing/Merchandising
  • Literary Agents/Scouts
  • Publishers
  • Translators    

You should consider attending if:

  • You have an interest in UK and other international markets for your book
  • Are considering pursuing foreign rights deals
  • You want to expand your reach and make contacts with distributors, agents, publishers and other industry players
  • You want to learn about the publishing world on “the other side of the pond”
  • You want to augment your book publicity and book marketing plans by connecting with industry movers and shakers
  • Want to combine some book promotion with a vacation in an amazing city …

It’s always interesting to learn about the background of book fairs, so here’s some history on LBF, as described on Wikipedia:

The fair grew out of a librarian’s trade show called the Specialist Publishers Exhibition for Librarians (SPEX) that was started on 5 November 1971 by Clive Bingley and Lionel Leventhal “as a tabletop affair in the basement of The Berners Hotel.” Bingley wanted to give small publishers a platform to easily show their titles to librarians, and so the idea of SPEX was born. “The location was chosen for its proximity to the Library Association, and the date because it coincided with a monthly council meeting there, which would be attended by a number of out of town librarians.”

The first exhibition was a success and Bingley and Leventhal decided to make the event regular. The pair delivered the second exhibition in November 1972. The Bloomsbury Centre Hotel played host to the renamed Small and Specialist Publishers Exhibition.

The scope and influence of the event grew and began to encompass bigger and more general publishers. In 1975, the initials LBF made their first appearance when the fair was renamed SPEX’75: The London Book Fair. By 1977 SPEX had been dropped and the title London Book Fair was born.

Until 2006 the London Book Fair had been held at the Olympia exhibition centre, but it moved to the ExCeL Exhibition Centre in London’s Docklands that year. Due to generally unfavorable feedback from attendees over the new location, such as the inconvenience of transport links or the infrastructure of the location, as well as the intervention resulting from other exhibitions and their wandering visitors, the book fair returned to west London in 2007 and took place at Earls Court Exhibition Centre. Every year, since 2007, the London Book Fair was held at the Earls Court Exhibition Centre. However, in recent years it moved to Olympia London.

The fair itself covers a wide range of interests and markets within the publishing industry, including rights negotiation and the sales and distribution of content across print, audio, TV, film and digital channels, as well as more traditional forms of print publishing. There are many activities during the whole week of the London Book Fair, ranging from business meetings between publishing companies, introductions of titles to readers and visitors, announcement for prizes and awards, and many workshops and seminars to discuss current issues and trends in the industry.

Visit the fair website for more information, and perhaps you’ll decide it’s a place and event you need to be!