With three months still to go before next year's London Book Fair, set for March 17—19, 2002, at Olympia Exhibition Centre, the organizers report that the show is already virtually sold out, with 95% of its expanded stand space committed to local and overseas exhibitors. Nearly half of this year's exhibitors asked for more space in 2002, and two special floor areas, the Academic Zone and the Children's Publishing Zone, have both expanded considerably.
As of early December, there were 550 primary exhibitors already registered, compared to a total of under 400 by this time in 2001. Extra space has been made available by moving some of the catering features from the upper levels, and the International Rights Centre, sponsored by PW, has also expanded, taking up space in the gallery of the national hall as well as in the main hall. Last year's rights hall was a sellout, and this year's looks to do the same—with over 300 tables for agents, scouts and rights directors, nearly a quarter of them from the U.S. Already the rights center has reached the level of 2001 attendance, while the fair as a whole looks to be 5% bigger than last year's.
An innovation this year will be a consumer event sponsored by the Daily Mail called "How to Get Published," a three-hour conference on March 17 for new and unpublished authors on the mysteries of the business. Speakers will include chairman Mark Lawson of Radio Four; Amanda Ridout, new managing director at HarperCollins; agent Carole Blake; bookseller David Kohn of WH Smith; and authors Joanne Harris, Mike Gayle, Magnus Mills and Lisa Jewell—all of whom have promised to be available to talk to the would-be authors and answer their questions.
A repeat from last year is the ePub London conference on aspects of electronic publishing, which will occupy two days before the fair begins, March 14 and 15. Consultant Tony Feldman will again provide an opening and closing address, and a group of publishers will offer case studies of what they have achieved electronically in the following areas: Branding, Penguin; Technology, Palgrave Macmillan; Digital Rights Management, Electronic Publishing Services; Online Development, Random House; E-publishing Strategy, McGraw-Hill Professional; and Marketing, HarperCollins.
On March 16, the Publishers Association will again sponsor an International Rights Symposium.
Alistair Birtenshaw, newly appointed exhibition director, said, "I am delighted that the LBF is again proving to be such a popular forum for the world's publishers...Once again this includes a huge contingent of North American publishers and IRC members, for whom the fair appears to be ever more important."