Monday, April 19, 2010

The LBF and the Volcano


The LBF is the London Book Fair and it is very, very important to the publishing industry. Every year, agents, publishers, editors, and movie execs looking for film-friendly books descend on London for a big schmoozefest. Most of the buying and selling of subsidiary and translation rights, and also a lot of film rights, gets done at the London Book Fair and at the Frankfurt Book Fair, which is held in October.

Well, the London Book Fair is happening in Earls Court in London right now, and thanks to a certain pesky volcano in Iceland that’s spewing its ash all over the skies above Europe, attendance is way, way down. Basically the only people there are those who decided to arrive early (very early, since the volcano shut down air traffic last Thursday and the Book Fair only started this morning) or the standard UK attendees. Last I heard, about a fifth of the seminars and events are already cancelled and many, many booths are empty, the publishers and agents who had rented them being unable to get flights.

My own agent always has a rep at LBF or attends herself, and I usually pick up at least one or two foreign sales out of it. I suspect Frankfurt will be bigger than ever this fall as a result, but the publishing industry was already hurting. This isn’t going to help.

On a personal note, my daughter is attending school in London this semester and decided to spend her spring vacation visiting a good friend in the Loire Valley. She was supposed to have a seat back to London on the Eurostar this morning, but I haven't heard from her yet. Fingers crossed.


Charles Gramlich said...

Wow, didn't even think of the volcano having such an impact. Probably many more impacts that we haven't yet thought of. I'm sure your daughter is fine, just delayed.

Steve Malley said...

It's like that butterfly effect-- talk about unpredictable consequences!

pax deux said...

Well, as an avid book reader (which is not the same as saying dinosaur!), I hope Frankfurt picks up some of the business London was not able to make; I also hope that the London Fair has a wonderful 2011.

And if your daughter is still in Paris, have her make the best of it!

1. Check out the house of Nicholas Flamel, famous alchemist(truly) and fictional friend of Dumbledore (yes, *him*)
House of Nicolas Flamel
51, rue de Montmorency
75003 Paris

2. Visit the Canal Saint-Martin neighborhood, for lovely bridges, canals and grassy knolls, as well as super cool boho-chic parisiens

3. Take a late afternoon coffee at La Butte aux Cailles, a tiny little nook near Montparnasse, full of lovely art deco architecture, and (last I checked) nary a chain store in sight!

orannia said...

Fingers crossed your daughter arrives back in London without too much of a delay :)

Shame about the London Book Fair. So many ripple effects. Here's hoping the 2010 Frankfurt Book Fair, and next year's fair in London, are extra big!

laughingwolf said...

21st century and we still get flummoxed! :(

some flights are happening today, but few in england...

cs harris said...

Charles, think about what it's doing to mail delivery alone!

Steve, that's it, all right.

pax deux, those are some wonderful suggestions; I'll send them on. I spent a year in Paris as a grad student, but that was a long time ago.

Orannia, I woke up to an email from her, and she's back in London. Unhappy about not making it to Spain (they were flying from Paris) but glad to be back.

Laughingwolf, it is scary how something like this can have such huge repercussions.

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