The American book trade press is already writing off the London Book Fair, although it still has one day to run (today), but the third day is always the quietest with most of the business being completed on the Sunday before the fair actually opens and the first two days of the fair. Having been at the London Book Fair on Monday and Tuesday and witnessed how quiet it was I suspect that today it will be like a ghost town, except for the usual crop of media and creative writing students roaming the halls.
The question now for many publishers and agents is what next or rather where next? The American publishers and agents are naturally focusing on the fair closest to home: BookExpo America (BEA). The Europeans however are already talking about Frankfurt in October. My European agents, who could not make London, have already indicated they hope to see me at the Frankfurt Book Fair, a major and huge International book fair where many rights deals are done.
Meanwhile Publishers Weekly reports that many American publishers will be sending a "larger than usual contingent to New York for BEA" and that staff will also be in New York Monday through Friday of BookExpo America week (the show days are Wednesday and Thursday with a day of education Tuesday), to make appointments outside of show days.
BookExpo America, like the London Book Fair is owned by Reed Exhibitions. Event manager Steve Rosato of BookExpo America said he began receiving requests over the weekend from publishers and agents looking for more exhibit space or additional tables in the rights centre and requests have continued into the week. The exhibit floor will be open May 26-27.
Publishers Weekly reports that OverDrive will be taking more people to BEA that originally planned to make up for the 50 meetings it missed in London and Dr. Jan Yager, author and foreign rights representative, as well as director of rights for the independent publishing company Hannacroix Creek Books, Inc. is rebooking the 49 appointments she was forced to cancel for BookExpo as well as for Frankfurt. In addition to using phone calls and e-mail to make new appointments, Yager is using Skype over the next week to present titles and/or catalogues, that would have been shared in person at the fair. And that leads to the question that is already being muted around the industry - do we really need a book fair to do business these days when so many deals are made over the Internet? Or perhaps the question should be do we really need three general Book Fairs: London, Frankfurt, America?
BEA Next Stop for LBF (Non) Attendees: