As an author whose literary agents attended the London Book Fair (March 5-7) this year, I have an interest in learning more about the nature of this book fair. In the past, I’ve been to the Frankfurt Book Fair. Every author should visit Frankfurt once. There will be no greater lesson in humility.
It is a sobering experience, a humbling one, too, as you walk through many kilometers of booths stacked with books, and realize this is the output for one year. And not every publisher attends Frankfurt.
For authors, the Frankfurt Book Fair is a reality check. The same is true for the London Book Fair.
The London Book Fair appears to be catching up with the Frankfurt Book Fair in the area of selling rights to books.
The New York Times has noted “But book fairs are still about selling rights, and the London fair is beginning to rival the pre-eminent Frankfurt fair, in October. Diane Spivey, rights and contracts director of the Time Warner Book Group, which was recently acquired by Lagardère, the French media and defense conglomerate, said: ‘We sell perhaps 40 percent of rights in London compared to 60 percent in Frankfurt, but five years ago London was 10 percent.”