A nice venue, particularly in the sunshine, but wearing on the patience if you get lost in it—as many did. This was the verdict of exhibitors and visitors to Olympia as the London Book Fair returned to the venue after stints at Earls Court and at the—more widely criticized—Excel.
Jacks Thomas, LBF director, said that the organizers were working hard to respond to feedback. “People have talked about the signage. Our response is, ‘Tell us what you want from the signage.’ There are six kiosks where people can leave feedback forms, and a social media hashtag, #letlbfknow.” The fair had doubled the number of staff giving on-site help, Thomas added. “We’re really trying to look at this from the exhibitors’ and visitors’ perspective.”
One agent described Olympia as “like the maze from The Shining”. Thomas said: “For the most part, people have been really patient and good-humored.” She had received “lots of compliments” about the light and airy atmosphere of the building.
There were a good many comments about transport problems getting to Olympia—a factor beyond the scope of the organizers’ influence. LBF did suggest alternative routes on postcards to be handed out at the end of day one of the fair—“but we couldn’t give them away,” Thomas said.
Thomas said that she was “looking forward to sitting down with children’s publishers” following LBF. Some children’s exhibitors complained that their area was too far removed from the center of activities. There were complaints, too, that the distance between the agents’ center and the exhibition area—an issue at Frankfurt as well—had caused meetings to run late or to be cancelled.