The 2009 London International Book Fair
"Greater realism, less hype, and fewer but more constructive meetings was publishing's assessment of the 2009 London Book Fair..."-The Bookseller, Britain's Publishers Weekly, assessing this year's event.
To this assessment, we can add that we returned with contract offers for books in the areas of Autobiography; Business; Cancer; Children's; Current Events; Eastern Philosophy; Fiction; History; Music Education; Parenting; Philosophy; Photography; Popular Culture; Psychology; Religion; and Self-Help.
Again this year the International Rights Centre proved to be the focal point of buyer interest at the fair. We can't better what we said about the IRC after last year's fair: 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.
While The Bookseller noted that there was a discernible lack of a "book of the fair," a number of our titles stood out for the interest they attracted. Among them were: Children of Immortal Bliss: A New Perspective on Our True Identity Based on the Ancient Vedanta Philosophy of India by Paul Hourihan; edited by Anna Hourihan (Vedantic Shores Press, Redding, CA); The Bodhisattva Club: Adventures In France With the Great Mother by Wendy Miyake (Lotus Moon In Love, Mililani, HI); Presidents of Hope and Change, How President Obama Uses the Past to Heal Our Future by Marilyn Muir, PMAFA; introduction by Michael Munkasey; Layna Fischer, editor (100Monkeys Press, an imprint of Future Strategies Inc., Lighthouse Point, FL) and the crime novels from Oceanview Publishing (Ipswich, MA).
Overall, Fiction had a very strong fair as well, continuing the fine showing it made at Frankfurt in 2008.
It is still early days this close to the fair, but for now it looks as though interest at London 2009 went predominantly for books expressing values and hope of one kind or another.
Does this reflect upon the current economic situation?
Based on our London experience alone, we're tempted to say, "Recession? What recession?"
Flights were full. Airports were full. London itself overflowed with more tourists than we've seen in more than thirty years of stays.
A number of British publishers speaking to The Bookseller thought the current economic situation had not harmed fair business:
"It has been more buoyant than one might have expected. It has been one of the most productive fairs for a while."-Carole Tomkinson, Harper non-fiction publishing director.
"There's noticeably less attendance at LBF this year but it is still busy, there are a lot of deals being done." -Selina Walker, Transworld publishing director.
We left London pleased by the response at the fair. From this and the economic activity in the streets, the Frankfurt Fair in October promises to by an exceptional event this October.
We shot a photo of the Earls Court facility on the first day before the fair opened. Back in the office, we noticed that the fair organizers reused the external banners from last year's fair. So, we decided to reuse last year's photo ourselves. It's much better than those we shot. The 2008 photo comes from the photographer Fernandopascullo. The photo accompanied the post-fair Wikipedia entry for the Exhibition Hall and is used with thanks under a number of free licenses. Other photos are by International Titles staff.
The 2nd fair view is a bit less grandiose. If you come to the London Book Fair by way of the Earls Court tube stop, your first view of the Exhibition Hall should look something like this in 'typical' London weather.
Also shown are some of the crime novels and thrillers from Oceanview Publishing.