Last week was the 2017 London Book Fair. The conference center where it was held was a mere 20 minute walk from my temp flat AND the cost was only £20 for three days. Having read their website, I wasn’t sure if it was for me…but I went. As my friend Shauna says, because why not?!
It was, in a word, massive. Literally tens of thousands in attendance. A gigantic, two-story conference floor with the most beautiful, diverse displays from publishers, companies, and countries across the world.
It was not, however, a “book fair” in the typical understanding of a librarian who has hosted book fairs. Not so many books were on display, especially considering what is commonly seen at ALA, TLA, AASL, BookExpo and the like. None were for sale. No authors were there (okay, that’s a lie…there was one featured author each day on site).
What was it, then? A time for publishers, buyers, agents, and studios to do business. It was meetings, not sessions. The publisher booths were packed with people, sitting at tables, discussing titles to be translated or foreign rights sold or merchandising deals made or sales abroad. It was intense. BUSY. Less about readers and books, more about the business of books. So I, who love reading and talking and connecting readers and new books, was so very out of my element. It was okay, though. Careful observation of booths led me to some new titles. Chronicle Books came through as a huge winner with a display of new American books that made my heart soar. Living in London, I’m finding, means a limited access to American titles – and certainly not immediate access. There were many fewer middle-grade and YA titles on display that I’d hoped, but that’s okay: ALA is in a few short months, after all.
So what did I see? What stood out in the world of kidlit? Take a look. Look for reviews of these titles in the coming days and weeks – only the best quality books rated a photograph! And enjoy an inside view of one of the largest book fairs in the world.
Cheers, y’all! 🙂 arika