Best Sites To Get The Most Out of the London Book Fair

London's big literary event takes places from 8 - 10 April, these are the sites to help you get the most out of it.

As of next Tuesday, the literary intelligensia (read publishing industry) will descend from the world stage onto London’s Earls Court exhibition centre and The London Book Fair. Yes, the publishers, the agents, the digital publishing executives with content to gather and pitches to hone, never has one venue seen such an influx of literary ambition; at last glance around 25,000 people, both veterans and novices - but how to prepare for the three day extravaganza/test of endurance? These are the sites to peruse in the run up.


It may be stating the obvious but don’t set foot inside Earl’s Court exhibition centre without turning the LBF website upside down and inside out. It’s replete with helpful information, timetables and of course it’s the place to register. NB: there’s still time to enjoy a £15 discount on the early bird rate if you’re looking to attend the exhibition, though this won't allow you access to industry events.


Now you do have to be a subscriber, but that’s the usual business model with the trade publications at the heart of the publishing industry. The Bookseller more than earns the subscription fee as a veritable bible for all the latest acquisitions, pre-empts and general shenanigans going on in the literary world. It’s nothing if not essential reading pre-LBF.


Whilst the first ever London Author Fair occurred on 28th February, the clean simple, well designed site is chock full of brilliant, insightful videos with respected authors and industry professionals. Brought to you by authoright, the equally disarming site that is the frontispiece for a company that values altruism above all else; Gareth Howard has (off the back of his own challenging experiences of getting published), set about helping other authors by providing a plethora of resources, including a monthly magazine to help them realise their dreams of publication. A commendable ethos that's well executed, and one that will certainly get you in the mood for LBF.


This remarkable charity, that echoes the ethos that books can and do change lives, was set up in 1954 by the Countess of Ranfurly; since then over 30 million books have since been sent to libraries in Africa as a result, with the additional training of hundreds of librarianst. As charity of the year at LBF, Book Aid International will be collecting any left over books at the fair (no need to kart them back to the office) and reselling them, offering publishers a 15% commission on net sales with any left over books donated or recycled.


Another worthy scheme that aims to increase literacy, by first targeting children and their families, Booktrust will also be playing an important part at LBF. With an incredible range of seminars specifically aimed at the children’s market, How to Write a Prize Winning Book, The Power of Series Fiction (LINK: to name but two – (both on Tuesday the 8th of April) it's a stand well worth visiting.


The membership organization that works on behalf of booksellers in the Uk and Ireland, The BA offers an incredible range of services intended to support those who sell the books and ergo the industry as a whole. The site is full of useful information, but the USP is that members can register free for the three day event/extravaganza. Now there’s an incentive to join.


Publishing Talk, the magazine servicing the publishing industry deserves a special commendation for its upcoming live blog which will be updated every five minutes or so live from the conference, bar following the Twitter feed this is as real time as it’s going to get if you’re not able to attend the fair yourself.


This site has a defiantly nascent feel, but it must be commended for some seriously upbeat video content, sixty panel led interviews, debates and ‘in conversation discussions’ at last glance, handy for indulging in some pre fair fever.


Off the Shelf deserve a round of applause for commissioning this piece from author and Silverwood Books publishing director Helen Hart who as a veteran of LBF offers up a whole host of tips specifically for the authors attending. We stumbled across it on Twitter , a handy reminder that the fair is not all abotu the publishers.


And last but certainly not least if there are some of you chomping at the bit to get all literary and you just can’t wait till Tuesday the 8th, then there’s still a whole host of incredible talks over the weekend at the Cambridge Literary Festival. Hanif Kureishi waxing lyrical on his recent satire The Last Word, Charlotte Mendelson discussing her Booker nominated novel Almost English, Nina Stibbe on the utterly charming diary of literary North London in the eighties that is Love Nina, there’s tons to enjoy.

3 April 2014