The 2008 London International Book Fair
"Solid" or "familiar as a well-loved family member" might best describe the results from LIBF 2008.
We came back with contract offers for books in the areas of Business; Children's; Coffee Table (highly illustrated); Eastern Thought; Fiction; Inspirational; Music/Popular Culture; New Age/Spiritual; Philosophy; and Self-Help.
That's a reasonable diversity of subject areas. In fact, no single genre among our titles dominated buyer interest at the fair.
There was an odd feeling to London this year, as if the energy level was less than that of last year's fair. But this year's fair was much larger than in 2007. The Rights Centre was so successful last year that it expanded to claim an additional half-floor of space. To accommodate that growth, the fair organizers leased a second building at the Earls Court facility. As a result, fair energy was split into two buildings for the first time in several years.
Among our more popular books at London were...
The Power of Being Different by John Paul Carinci (B.O.D. Productions, Inc., Staten Island, NY); Dying Was the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me, Stories of Healing and Wisdom Along Life's Journey by William E. Hablitzel, M.D. (Sunshine Ridge Publishing, Blue Creek, OH); Midwifing Death: Returning to the Arms of the Ancient Mother by Leslene della-Madre (Plain View Press, Austin, TX); and Transforming Pain Into Power-Making the most of your emotions, New Edition by Dr. Doris Helge (Shimoda Publishing, Chehalis, WA).
Looking at our notes as we work on this for you, it seems as if London 2008 was all about self-help. As an entire book fair, it didn't feel at all that way. These books just stood out after three busy days for all genres.
Which leads to this question:
What does all this mean for the 2009 fair in London?
This year's fair confirmed two things.
Moving the event to Earls Court Exhibition Hall helped to make the London International Book Fair into the major spring event that the book world understood it needed and for which it had been waiting.
The proven success of the International Rights Centre sealed the deal. The IRC is what all professional buyers wanted for years: one convenient, pleasant area in which to meet for business. By contrast, the Rights Center at Frankfurt feels uncomfortably close to a medieval dungeon.
So much for the venue. What about the books that might reasonably be shown to play well there in 2009?
We think that the most recent Frankfurt Fair is the best indicator of the trends to follow in London the following spring.
We're updating our web information as quickly as we can. We'll post a 2008 Frankfurt analysis as soon as possible. Business from a book fair for our publishers and authors continues for months after the event itself ends. I'm fairly certain that we're unique in this regard, even after three decades of serving as a model for the practice.
We can tell you now that we returned from Frankfurt in October (2008) with contract offers for books in the areas of Art; Business/Management; Collectibles; Cooking; Current Affairs; Disability; Environmental; Gay & Lesbian; Golf; Graphic Novels; Health; History; Literary; Metaphysical; Meteorology; Nature; New Age; Pets; Philosophy; Science; Self-Help; Spirituality; Sports; and the Tarot.
We had strong interest in our fiction list from the other literary agencies that sell our titles. Interest in our non-fiction was also good.
A few words about the photos...
The photo of the International Rights Centre shows only a very small part of the IRC. The IRC uses most of the second floor of a very large Earls Court Hall.
All photos of the 2008 London Fair are by International Titles staff with one exception. The exterior of Earls Court during the 2008 fair is by the photographer Fernandopascullo. The photo accompanies the Wikipedia entry for the Exhibition Hall and is used with thanks under a number of free licenses.
Publisher Rohit Gupta (Pustak Mahal, Delhi) brings us the first copy of his Indian edition of David Shiang's God Does Not Play Dice: The Fulfillment of Einstein's Quest for Law and Order in Nature (Open Sesame Productions, Lexington, MA). Rohit has also brought payments and contracts we negotiated with him for books to be published by Pustak later in 2008.
The truth IS out there...
Or at least was down there during the 2008 London Book Fair. LIBF this year coincided with a BBC Doctor Who Retrospective housed in an unused part of the Earls Court basement. Once we discovered that exhibition, there was never much doubt about how we'd spend our one day in London after the fair. Daleks may have a lot of issues with us humans, but they're really neat when you're looking at some actually from the television series. The Tardis was there, too, as were many of the monsters from the recent series. Special effects sets and actual script pages (heaven for book folk) were on display as well. And K-9. We scratched his ears. Good luck for LIBF 2009 without doubt.