London Book Fair
History and development
The fair grew out of a librarian's trade show called the Small and Specialist Publishers' Exhibition (SPEX) that was started in 1971 by Clive Bingley and Lionel Leventhal "as a tabletop affair in the basement of a London hotel", and it was renamed in 1976 to recognize the presence of bigger and more general publishers.
The London Book Fair has grown in size and importance over the years and is now considered as second only to the Frankfurt Book Fair as "a mecca for European publishers, booksellers, rights agents and media trendspotters".
More than 25,000 publishers, booksellers, literary agents, librarians, media and industry suppliers from over 100 countries now attend the fair. Book publishers come to London to publicize their upcoming titles and to sell and purchase subsidiary and translation rights for books from other publishers.
Over 1700 international exhibitors participate in The London Book Fair. The fair itself covers a range of interests and marketplaces 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.
The event also includes a dedicated conference, The Digital Minds Conference, held on the Sunday before the main fair, as well as an educational programme of over 300 seminars and events as part of the Love Learning Programme.
Prior to 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 unfavourable feedback from attendees over the new location, the book fair returned to west London in 2007 and took place at Earls Court Exhibition Centre from 16 to 18 April. For every year since 2007, The London Book Fair has been held at the Earls Court Exhibition Centre.
Market Focus Programme
The London Book Fair Market Focus programme showcases one particular country or region of note each year, with the objective of putting the spotlight on publishing trade links with this territory, its publishing industry and the opportunities for conducting business with the rest of the world.
In 2012, the London Book Fair appointed China's censoring organization, the General Administration of Press and Publication (GAPP), to choose which Chinese authors would be represented at the event. Chinese authors such as Nobel Prize winner Gao Xingjian were not invited. A representative of the British Council, a large financial supporter of the book fair, applauded the decision, saying that the chosen authors were more representative because “they live in China and write their books there,” in contrast with “other writers who have left.” The exiled Chinese writer Ma Jian used red paint to smear across his face and a copy of his banned book Beijing Coma while he protested the event. He was also "manhandled" while attempting to present a copy of the book to Liu Binjie at the fair.
- London Book Fair Official Show Website (Reed Exhibitions)
- Jeff Zaleski, "E-Interest High at 'Happy' London Book Fair", Publishers Weekly, 3 April 2000.
- Christopher Hurst, The View from King Sreet: An Essay in Autobiography, London: Thalia Press, 1997, p. 314.
- Jonathan Bing, "London Book Fair: right place, right time: Europe's No. 2 after Frankfurt is growing as a mecca for booksellers, rights dealers", Publishers Weekly, 6 April 1998.
- "Bookwatch", New Scientist, 16 September 1976.
- "The 41st London Book Fair: Chinese Dragon Distinguishes itself in 'Market Focus'", China Book International 2012.
- Jonathan Mirsky, "Bringing Censors to the Book Fair", New York Review of Books, 18 April 2012.
- Page, Benedicte (19 April 2012). "Ma Jian protest paints the London Book Fair red". The Guardian (Guardian Media Group). Retrieved 19 April 2012.
- Isabel Hilton, "China and the importance of cultural engagement", The Guardian, 13 April 2012.