London Book Fair to examine impact of reduced attendance

The London Book Fair has said that it will begin exploring "a number of options in recognition of the knock-on effect of reduced attendance" after the fair closed today (21st April).

Publishers and agents spoken to by The Bookseller on the final day remained surprisingly upbeat about the show, with widespread relief that overseas exhibitors could at least have easier return journeys after UK airspace finally reopened overnight.

On the final day estimated overall attendance was down by a third. The LBF's advisory committee will meet tomorrow (22nd April) in order to assess this year’s fair, as well as discussing the 40th anniversary show next year. The show has been widely praised for its management of the crisis, with daily letters distributed to exhibitors updating them on the travel issues and subsequent disruption to events.

Carole Biss, m.d. of Book Guild Publishing, said: "It's been like the old days really, you actually had time to meet with people and the chance meetings have been very productive; we've done business with people we would never have talked to. And it's the first time we've never been approached by a foreign printer because none of them are here."

One less positive comment came from the US agent Robert Gottlieb, who travelled to the fair "via Ireland and then the ferry". In a comment left on Publishers Marketplace, Gottlieb wrote: "I will say that I and others are considering whether the London Book Fair is money well spent. So many of the buyers are coming over for the BEA and at the same time email and computers allow for fast and easy transatlantic communications."

LBF to assess impact of reduced attendance after show closes: