After much talk about the London Book Fair's impending departure from its longstanding location at the Earls Court convention center, Reed Exhibitions, the event's operator, has announced that the fair will move to the nearby Olympia convention center in 2015. The 2014 fair will remain at Earls Court, becoming the last fair to take place in the space.
After news spread that Earls Court would be demolished in order to make way for a live-work development, rumors swirled about where the fair might move. Many in the industry were dismayed at the prospect of the fair relocating to the Docklands neighborhood, with book professionals saying the the area was inconvenient to get to, and lacked solid dining options. The Olympia venue, where the fair took place for a number of years, is a sister location to Earls Court, and is in the same West London neighborhood where the fair has long been situated.
Speaking to the decision to relocate the fair to Olympia, Jacks Thomas, director of LBF said: "We have listened long and hard to those who participate in The London Book Fair and, while it is sad that Earls Court is unlikely to form part of the London exhibition venue mix, we fully appreciate the great affection the industry has for West London and believe that moving to Olympia is currently the right move for the publishing industry."
The new venue, ECO, is in the current West London neighborhood where Earls Court is. To that end, the fair directors feel the new location will be ideal for the attendees, especially those who complained about relocating to the Docklands. David Roche, the non-executive chair of the London Book Fair's advisory board, said that the fair "has taken a great deal of time and trouble to present the two prospective venue options currently available in London. They have listened to their stakeholders and taken the decision favoured by a majority voice that West London must be the home for the foreseeable future."
In addition to the move to ECO, LBF has announced it will launch a new program in 2014 called London Book and Screen Week. The new event will feature a five-day program, kicking on Monday, April 7, with the established Publishing for Digital Minds Conference, and close on Friday, April 11, coinciding with the creative writing event, the London Writers' Fair. LBF said the week is intended to "bring into focus the importance that written content has across an increasingly multi-channel route to the consumer." London Book and Screen Week will feature talks on the business of global rights sales and wrap up with "an event aimed at the ever-increasing audience interested in writing for book and screen."