LBF Observations

The first day of the London Book Fair is in the bag. As far as logistics go, I’m much more pleased with the location of this event. Earl’s Court is in the heart of London, and access to food, shopping, sites, etc., is excellent. And if you’re lucky enough to have lodging like I do, you appreciate the simple 3 minute walk to the hall.

The exhibit layout is a little bizarre. Today’s Publishers Lunch email described it well.

The Earl’s Court exhibition center is new and familiar at the same. The space is reminiscent of the old location at Olympia with a reasonably sized “main floor” surrounded by a big mezzanine. The neighborhood is more convenient, the transportation by tube easier, and food and other basic services are more abundant (including a poor crew pushing a trolley of sandwiches and drinks for sale down the aisles). After last year’s poorly received riot of accent colors, organizers have gone the other way and invested in acres of manilla–beige carpeting, beige lockers, and beige bunting galore–large easy-to-find booth numbers and other functional improvements (including wider main aisles with benches to sit on; ancillary seating/meeting areas, and newly constructed closests and lockers in the Rights Center said to have cost the fair more than the price charged for a rights table).

Once people get past the basic navigational confusion of a new center–which happens to be wedge-shaped, with three different levels–business seems to be proceeding smoothly. While opening day was traditionally the quietest on the floor in the past, given a certain reluctance among some locals to work on Sundays, the change to a Monday opening has aisles as brisk as ever. And yes, the weather is much better than in New York.

I’ll say. Yesterday it was 78 degrees in London. Today it cooled to 75. It rained every day of the show last year, so you can’t ask for more with this great spring weather.

I had a light schedule today, which was intentional. Since I arrived in London yesterday afternoon, I figured I’d be pretty wiped out with jet-lag. I was. By 2 PM I just wanted to drop. Tomorrow though I’m booked solid from show open to close.

So, for now, that’s all from here. Cheerio!

Traveling Man

So, I’m heading to London tomorrow for the book fair. I’ve got a direct flight over, which limits my air time to 9 hours. I’ve spent most of the day today getting everything together – calendar, meeting agendas, documentation, itinerary, you know, the regular stuff. I’ll be plenty busy each day of the event.

I was checking on things to do after hours and I found this evening session on book digitization. Might be interesting, and then again it might be nothing more than authors bemoaning the paradigm shift toward electronic publishing. Hit or miss. If I go I’ll comment about it here.

While I’m in the area I’ll try hard not to find myself sitting down at a table here. I’ve revised my dietary intake since the last time I was in London, and this place doesn’t really align with the new me. But then again…

Talk to you from the other side.

London Calling

I’m heading to the London Book Fair this weekend. Although this show has been happening for many years, this will be my second trip to the confab. The home of the event used to be the Olympia Exhibition Centre, but last year they moved it to the ExCel Exhibition Centre way out at Docklands. If you’re familiar with London, you’ll know that Docklands is out east and (ahem) not really in the city. My flight landed at Heathrow, and after going through customs, gathering luggage, taking the Heathrow Express and then the Tube, I ended up at my hotel in Silvertown almost 4 hours later. I guess the worst part of it was deciding what to do at night. London proper is 45 minutes or more via the Tube from Docklands. Most of the time I was stranded at my hotel.

Apparently I wasn’t the only one who thought the ExCel was less than convenient. After complaints and threats, the show moved back to London this year, and will be held at Earl’s Court. My lodgings are only a 3 minute walk from the hall, so that’s great. Plus, I’m minutes away from the standard London fare – Piccadilly Circus, Westminster, and my wife’s favorite place. She’s not coming with me on this trip, but her gift list is made.

As for the show itself, I attend to visit with current partners and scout out new relationships. LBF is much more manageable than Frankfurt. Besides being about 1/8th the size, the exhibitors are primarily from the UK and USA. That makes communicating much easier. I won’t blog about Frankfurt just now, but I’ll definitely address that subject sometime soon.

I leave on Saturday night, arrive on Sunday and stay through the end of the show on Wednesday. I’ll be blogging from there too.