Emma House, who – as Exhibition Manager for the London Book Fair – presides over the daunting task of pulling together a year’s worth of planning into a matter of days, spoke with the SYP’s Jon Slack about what to look for and expect when visiting the LBF for the first time.
See what she has to say by clicking the YouTube link below. A write-up of the interview can be found further down the page.
According to Emma, the experience of seeing familiar big-name titles in different languages is just the beginning of the LBF experience. On a global stage, where the LBF is collectively acknowledged as the publishing industry’s leading spring event, the Fair is also unique in its trade-only approach, with exhibitors’ feedback overwhelmingly supporting the format. However Emma acknowledged there was an interest from the public about the LBF, highlighting events staged around the main three-day trade blitz that have been made more accessible for those outside the industry. These include the hugely popular seminar on ‘how to get published’ as well as discussions with big-name authors the likes of Margaret Atwood and Joanne Harris.
Emma talked us around the mechanics of the International Rights Centre, describing the IRC as most definitely the ‘engine room’ of the LBF. Some of the most important book deals are signed and sealed here between agents and publishers, which are then reported among the daily press magazines doing the rounds at the fair such as The Bookseller and Publishing News.
Spain was this year’s feature country, with the fair now in the fourth year of its unique Market Focus programme, again with all the emphasis placed on creating sales opportunities – a more focused approach taken than other fairs in the tradition of LBF’s industry-leaning ethos.
The interview covers the importance of the fair to booksellers and what the LBF has to offer them, with many opportunities for developing relationships with publishers as well as an extensive seminar programme encompassing the many issues currently facing booksellers. In addition, the highly popular ‘speed dating’ programme, designed for independent publishers, is a great opportunity for independent publishers to establish new trading partnerships, as it were, with booksellers and other publishers from around the world.
And of course we couldn’t talk with Emma without discussing the importance of the LBF for those looking to break into the industry or take their careers to the next level. Emma pointed out the Bookseller Careers stand (this year hosted by Inspired Selection), during which job hunters are able to sit in with an agent to discuss their prospects. There are also the obvious advantages of coming to the LBF, with the wealth of opportunity to engage with other publishers and booksellers seemingly never ending. It is these chances that allow newcomers, and indeed those already working in publishing, the chance to get a great feel for what kind of work is involved for those already there. This is in addition to the numerous seminars put on over the three days that aim, and by all rights succeed, to cover all aspects of the industry.