The London Book Fair (LBF) announced it would move the 2024 fair to March 12-14, after originally scheduling the event for April 16-18. The change was prompted when the Bologna Children’s Book Fair (BCBF) announced its dates for 2024 would be April 8-11, meaning that the fair would end just just five days prior to the original dates for London.
“We appreciate that the tight turnaround between Bologna 2024 and LBF if it had stayed at its previous April dates would have imposed real logistical difficulties on exhibitors hoping to attend both fairs,” Gareth Rapley, director for the LBF, said. “It would also have prevented attendees to both fairs from having much downtime to take stock from Bologna and prepare for LBF. The possibility of a date change was not a foregone conclusion by any means, and we have worked hard with Olympia to enable it and want to recognize how incredibly helpful the Olympia team have been in making this happen.”
Traditionally, prior to the past decade, London was earlier than Bologna, though this flip-flopped several times. Rapley said that he expects the shift to become permanent. “This will be a longer-term move to this period going forward, and we now are planning for LBF to be held around the same time in March from here on. We hope this provides welcome certainty for the international adult and children’s industry.”
The move has potential to have some impact on Bologna, which has implemented a professional trade program, BolognaBookPlus, in the past several years which has had some overlap with London’s programming, particularly concerning the rights trade. How the fairs will continue to differentiate themselves will be interesting to watch.