Recap: London Book Fair 2014
If the atmosphere at this year’s London Book Fair was a little more subdued than 2013, it was probably due in part to this being the final time it will be held at the iconic Earls Court exhibition centre. It will be sorely missed when it is demolished to make way for more houses. But enough of nostalgia, the London Book Fair is all about the future – what is coming up and what is going to be hot in the forthcoming years. And there was lots of excitement around the halls.
There has been an appreciable but significant shift in perspective over the last year or so. Many people from all aspects of the industry appear to be more positive about the state of the bookworld. On the eve of the fair, Tom Weldon – CEO of Penguin Random House UK – challenged the nay-sayers and doom merchants, telling them that publishing was rude health rather than in deep decline. We shall see who was right!
There were some brilliant author talks – Jim Crace and Evie Wyld especially – as well as a huge array of industry panels and seminars. What was interesting to us at NetGalley was just how many of them were centred on book discovery, and how to get more people to find and recommend titles. This was also the subject of my presentation – Book Discoverability, what indie authors can teach mainstream publishers and vice versa – which was very well attended, despite taking place at 5.30pm when most people are usually in the bar!
There was no ‘book of the fair’ this year – the title that gets everyone talking and everyone’s chequebook out – which is usually a good sign. For me though, the great excitement is always walking through the halls finding out what is coming soon from both the big and the small publishers. The sight of new books by David Mitchell and Sarah Waters really caught my eye, as did a colouring book devoted to Benedict Cumberbatch – there really is every kind of book under the sun at LBF!
It was great to catch up with NetGalley publishers and show them the exciting developments planned for the site over the coming months, and as always, a delight to see so many NetGalley members there. I do hope to see you again next year –this time at Olympia!
– Stuart Evers, UK Community Manager