London Book Fair 2016 Making words go further!


The three-day event attracted publishing professionals from 124 countries where the show floor was abuzz with various conferences, seminars, one-on-one meetings, rights selling and more….Varsha Verma and Shweta Khurana of ABP bring a comprehensive report of the event.

Sukumar, Sapna Kirtane, Sunil Kumar, Jacks Thomas, Srinivas Gotru , Pranav Gupta, Amy Francis and Mehraj WaghuThe London Book Fair welcomed publishing professionals from over 124 countries, authors and aspiring writers to a successful 45th Fair. From top authors visit – Julian Fellowes, Jeffery Archer, Peter James, Marian Keyes, Judith Kerr, Tracy Chevalier, Jeanette Winterson and more – to sixfigure book deals brokered and the best new talent discovered, the 45th London Book Fair 2016 was a vibrant showcase of international publishing and a bustling centre for rights negotiation.

Top deals & trends…

In a Q&A with London Book Fair 2016 director Jacks Thomas, Julian Fellowes discussed his new Belgravia app on 12 April, and why ‘serialised’ publishing is back in vogue thanks to modern technology. The London Book Fair also revealed a research showing that 41% of 18-23 year olds read serialised fiction on a monthly basis.

Public libraries were a hot topic at this year’s fair as children’s author Philip Ardagh participated in a lively panel debate entitled No to Library Closures – the benefits of the public library in the UK and beyond; is the library an unaffordable luxury in the digital age?

Few of the top deals closed at the show include: Hutchinson to publish The Raqqa Diaries: Life Inside the Islamic State by Syrian activist Mohammed; Nobel Laureate Ohran Pamuk and Costa-winner Sebastian Barry signed “major” new deals with Faber, while publisher Mitzi Angel has snapped up two “provocative” titles from UK academic Jacqueline Rose; Nadiya Hussain, winner of “The Great British Bake Off ” in 2015, will write three contemporary women’s fiction novels for Harlequin imprint HQ; while the ultimate makeup book, Face, by sibling bloggers Sam and Nic Chapmen, has been acquired by Blink Publishing. To mark the 150th anniversary of The Jungle Book, Macmillan Children’s Books has inked a deal for world Englishlanguage rights to a brand new survival book from Bear Grylls.

Aimed at 10+ readers, the book is inspired by Rudyard Kipling’s title and is full of survival tips and will be published in October. There were many more such deals closed at the show.

The Shakesperience

2016 saw LBF commemorate 400 years since the death of the bard, with multi-lingual performances of some of Shakespeare’s most-loved works at the onsite Globe Theatre.

From Arabic to Hindi and Polish to Maltese, actors took to the specially constructed mini Globe Theatre to delight the passing crowds with some of Shakespeare’s best-loved sonnets. Literary heavy-weights Jeanette Winterson and Tracey Chevalier were Authors of the Day at the fair. Both writers have recently penned modern re-telling of the bard’s works.

International Excellence Awards

The London Book Fair International Excellence Awards were presented at a prestigious awards ceremony to a global list of winners including Actes Sud (France), Readings (Australia), Words Without Borders (US) and Jieli Publishing House (China). The LBF Lifetime Achievement Award was awarded to Gail, Baroness Rebuck, DBE, chair of Penguin Random House UK.

31st International Publishers Congress

The London Book Fair played host to the 31st International Publishers Congress, where keynote speaker Arnaud Nourry, CEO of Hachette, gave a rousing and optimistic speech on the state of the industry. Later, author Philip Pullman gave an enlightening talk on the four revolutions which have impacted the book business over the years.

Quantum conference

At Quantum, the fair’s rebranded agenda-setting pre-conference, a futuregazing speech from artificial intelligence (AI) expert professor Nick Bostrom opened the proceeding, followed by an inspirational address by Gail, Baroness Rebuck. Delegates later enjoyed an engaging and upbeat conversation between Waterstones managing director James Daunt and Faber & Faber CEO Stephen Page.

Author HQ

Crowds gathered at Author HQ on the show floor, where a full seminar programme over the three days provided clear, concise advice for how authors can interact with the publishing community. Agent one-on-one was fully subscribed where agents, authors and publishers imparted insights to a host of authors.

Market focus 2017: Poland

At a special event on the final day of the fair, The London Book Fair in partnership with the British Council, the Publishers Association and the Polish Book Institute celebrated the launch of LBF Market Focus Poland 2017. Market Focus Poland will combine an extensive professional programme with a comprehensive schedule of cultural events throughout the year to celebrate the very best of Polish literature and writing.

Exhibitors and visitors agreed that the 2016 fair had been a brilliant showcase of the publishing industry. Here’s what Indian exhibitors have to say:

Sunil Kumar of CAPEXIL says they have taken a delegation of 19 member exporters to the London Book Fair 2016 sponsored by Government of India Ministry of Commerce & Industry and supported by Department of Commerce & Industry under the Market Development Assistance (MDA). The delegation of Indian exhibitors was led by Pranav Gupta, managing director, Prints Publications Pvt Ltd, as the chairman of CAPEXIL Ramesh K Mittal could not attend due to other commitments. National Book Trust, India and CAPEXIL had set-up a combined stand in the fair. Srinivas Gotru, Minister of Culture for the Indian High Commission and the director of the Nehru Centre, London visited the stands of Indian publishers and printers and interacted with them to understand their success stories as well as difficulties in exporting their items. Sunil Kumar said that Mittal, chairman of Books Division, is very positive about taking up the members’ problems before the concerned departments of the Government of India in order to solve the industry’s problems. He also said that Books Division has plans to participate in various international book fairs in the coming months such as in Manila, Beijing, Sao Paulo, Frankfurt, Guadalajara, Mexico, etc.during 2016-17. CAPEXIL is also planning to organise a Reverse Buyer Seller Meet in India wherein overseas buyers would be invited to interact with Indian exporters to expand their business from India.

Sunil and Pranav Gupta met Reed Exbibitions’ country manager and sales director Sapna Kirtane and Mehraj Waghu respectively, Jacks Thomas, director, London Book Fair, besides interacting and facilitating Indian printers and publishers at the fair.They were happy to see extensive participation by Indian publishers and printers. The total Indian participants were around 54 exhibitors and 100 trade visitors. Next year, CAPEXIL is planning to participate in a bigger way from India. On the whole, Indian participants were happy and wanted to come back in the future.

Bharat Rai Mediratta and Nidhi Kundra of Edu Hub Publishing said, “London Book Fair 2016 was a landmark event in the epic history of an year old Edu Hub Publishing Company. There was much to learn from the fair about the means and ways of international publishing. The welcoming weather of the city only added to the wonderful experience. LBF is a B2B fair offering a platform to interact with world leaders in the field. One gets to know the publishing giants very closely. We were able to speak with the like of Nielsen and Baker & Taylor, an interaction that made us aware of the requirements for global presence. The fair certainly reiterated the fact that print media has a long way to go as long as book lovers continue to throng the fairs. Also unfolded, an undisputed fact, is that children book industry demands great creativity and insight as far as target audience is concerned. The clientele is aware and the emphasis on quality now is much more that what it was ever before. Yes, the level of competition is far more, however, for a focussed seller, it is not unscalable.”

Abhishek Kejriwal, director, Parksons Graphics, said, “We have been participating for over 4-5 years. We are focusing on UK, Scandinavia and Australia. We are adding 1-2 clients every year; we are here to serve existing ones.”

Ravi Shroff, managing director, Nutech Print Services, shared, “We participated in London Bok Fair for the first time in 2004, and since then we have been here to meet existing customers. We prefer not to move to newer territories and are focusing in London, UK and a little bit in Europe.”

Ankit Vij, president, Jaypee Brothers Medical Publishers, said, “We have been participating at London Book Fair for 20 years but this time there is lesser crowd due to Visa issue for countries like Africa, Sharjah, etc.”

Manish, Orient Press, shared, “We are participating for the first time and are exploring new markets. We are focusing on children book segment. We already have a market in US and UK and are looking at markets from Ghana, Nigeria, etc.”

Vishal Salgotra, Alpere Technologies, shared, “Europe is the biggest market for us, with good presence in Asia, and now US will come into play by next year. LBF is a step towards it.”

Apurva Ashar, executive director, e-Shabda, said, “LBF is an important event for us.”

Mudit Mohini, Vishv Books, said, “LBF is a good experience for us. Through this fair, we get good business from Asia and Africa.”

Trisha & Bikash Niyogi, Niyogi Books, said, “LBF is good for rights selling. We are getting good response for art and culture books.”

Saumya Gupta, managing director, New Age International, said, “The fair is well focused and we got some walk-in customers also from countries like Vietnam, Greece, China, besides our prereserved appointments. We have over 3000 titles, including 200 new books and revised titles every year. We also have 150 titles in New Academic Science, UK, with our offices in New Delhi, London and Nairobi.”

Sandeep Kaushik, Macaw Books, shared “Since Bologna Book Fair and London Book Fair are closer together we do rights selling in Bologna and trade sales in LBF, which works very well for us.”

Anuj Chawla, Dreamland Publications, said, “It has been a busy time for us. We are looking at good sales for books here.”

Varun Johar and Sanjay Kharbanda, Micro Prints, said, “We are doing business only in India; we are at LBF to explore export opportunities.”

Purvesh, Sheth Publications, said, “We are expecting good business at LBF.”

Ajay Mago, Om Books International, said, “We are exhibiting in the children pavilion and expect good business for our books.”

Apurv Garg, director, Brijbasi Art Press, said, “We participated in Bologna Book Fair and now we are at LBF to explore our opportunities further.”

Gulshan Dadani, Gita Publishing House, said, “Since Dada JP Vaswani visited the LBF, our stall garnered huge response as people thronged our stall to meet him.”

PG Bandhu, director, CBS Publishers & Distributors Pvt Ltd, said, “LBF is always special for us. We are here to meet our existing customers as well as new ones.”

Sagar Jain, Art Factory, said, “We have been participating since 2015 and we are here to sell rights.”

Nitin Jain, B Jain Publishers Pvt Ltd, said, “We are here to meet our existing customers and also generate new leads.”

LBF 2017 will be held at Olympia Exhibition Centre from March 14–16, 2017.

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