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!

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