The London Book Fair is one of the world's most notorious book events and it took place this week from the 16th to the 18th of April.
I'd heard so many different reports about this book fair: "it's brilliant!", "it's like a private club", "it's not blogger friendly", "it's great for Indie authors" and so on... So the only way to really make my mind up about it was to visit it myself. And here is what I found when I decided to go and check it out for the first time.
While it is a trade event, mostly aiming at business-2-business sales and networking, and it doesn't boost a welcome-to-all-bloggers approach like the BEA (Book Expo America) in New York, I found there was still plenty to see and absorb.
Publishers, authors, agents and, in short, anyone who is anyone in the book business worldwide gathered at the Earls Court Exhibition Center to trade, update their intel on what is going on in the market and network. There were some really interesting talks aimed at all angles of the business: writers, booksellers, publishers, translators as well as the Digital Minds Conference (offering insight in all the new technology and how to use) and stands promoting books from all over the world.
To be surrounded by books and absorb that much information was absolutely brilliant! I only wish I could have attended for the full three days rather than just one afternoon. And I have to admit it renewed my interest and passion for the industry. With all the academic reading and writing I have been doing for university recently I had lost my mojo and being surrounded by all things bookish seems to have done the trick at bringing back inspiration.
There was also some really interesting projects for new writing, new technology, book-raising (my version of a bookish fundraiser where you raise books rather than money to send it to people that have very little access to them), translation and anything else to do with books. Even packaging! Needless to say, I was like a kid on Christmas. Didn't know where to look at first!
As a blogger, though, it would have been nice to be able to chat to someone in the stands. Most exhibitors could not even give me the contact details to get in touch with their PR personnel in order to have a further look at any possible partnerships. So from a bloggers point of view, there was indeed very little there for us, except picking up a couple of catalogues of what is up and coming book-wise.
On the other hand, the side of me that wants a career in publishing came away full to the brim with ideas and people to contact. Now it's working my way through all the leads and getting in touch with the people I met. Wish me luck!
I would definitely recommend it to anyone interested in working in the book world for gaining insight into the business if nothing else.