THE SHOW NOW EXPANDS over two large halls in the huge Olympia convention center in West London.

The 29th London International Book Fair (LIBF) at Olympia, to be held March 28-30, will boast a 17% increase in overseas visitors over last year's numbers, including the most extensive participation by American book people to date.

For the first time, the Combined Book Exhibit and USA Books Abroad, which mounts large collective stands at the BookExpo America (BEA) and Frankfurt fairs, will be participating, with more than 100 square meters of space for an American Collective Stand, and there are altogether more than 50 North American exhibitors and 190 registered publishers, 40 of them first-timers.

The exhibitors from North America include Advanced Marketing Services, Baker & Taylor, Bloomberg Press, Brodart, Carol Publishing Group, Daedalus Books, Gulf Publishing, Ingram International, K n Book Distributors, Landoll's Inc., Llewellyn Worldwide, NTC/Contemporary, Powell's Books,. Publishers Marketing Association, Sourcebooks, Sterling Publishing, Stewart, Tabori & Chang, Trafalgar Square Publishing, Tuttle Publishing, Watson-Guptill Publications, Workman and World Publications.

The International Rights Centre, jointly sponsored with Publishers Weekly, has been growing each year, and now occupies most of the balcony above the Grand Hall, offering 240 tables to agents, editors and scouts. These include 45 from North America this year, 17 of them registering for the first time.

Among the North American newcomers are the Ann Rittenberg Agency, Chandler Crawford Agency, Ellen Levine Agency, HarperCollins U.S. (with three tables), Penguin Putnam, Random House Children's Books, Rights Unlimited and Sobel Weber Associates.

In response to demand from last year's users of the Centre, it will remain open for business for an extra day after the fair closes, on Wednesday, March 31.

Individual countries sending sizable delegations this year include the Netherlands, which is taking space for a Dutch collective stand, at which 20 Dutch publishers are expected to show their wares. Another 20 publishers from mainland China will be present at a Chinese collective stand. Altogether, 1400 companies from 45 countries are involved this year, and total attendance is expected to exceed 23,000 visitors and exhibitors combined.

Various incentives are being offered to attract British booksellers to the fair, including gift bags, book tokens and free entry. For the second year running, the European Booksellers Federation is holding its conference on Saturday, March 27, on the eve of the fair, at the British Library. Delegates will be admitted to LIBF when it opens the following day.

There is an active program of seminars and discussions throughout the book fair, including, also on March 27, the 7th International Rights Market Symposium. This symposium will focus on changes in the rights market wrought by the digital revolution, and speakers will include Charles Clark, general counsel of the International Publishers Copyright Council, who will give the keynote address; Ronnie Williams of the Publishers Association; Tim Hely-Hutchinson of Hodder Headline, and Clive Bradley, Publishers Association consultant.

The all-day symposium program will also feature a case study on handling international rights for author Irvine Welsh, with Random U.K. rights director Jenny Chapman, and will be followed by a reception.

The seminar program will also include two sessions on aspects of American book retailing, both of which are scheduled for Sunday afternoon. "Selling to the U.S. Non-Trade Marketplace and Beyond" will be chaired by Publishers Weekly associate publisher Mike Evans, and "Independent Retailing in the U.S.," by Publishers Weekly executive editor for bookselling, John Mutter.

This year the fair will coincide with the grand finale of the London Festival of Literature, and there will be a massive book signing session on Sunday, March 28, at which a number of celebrated authors, including Frederick Forsyth, Wilbur Smith and Jeffrey Archer are expected to take part. Other authors who will appear at Meet the Author receptions during the fair are P.D. James and Fay Weldon.

The LIBF is open from 9.30 a.m. to 6.30 p.m. on Sunday and Monday, and until 5 p.m. on Tuesday. For further information on the fair, prices, etc., visit its Web site at

Please see also: PW Supplement: British Publishing.