Make the most of the London Book Fair


Jacks Thomas, Director, The London Book Fair shares what to expect at the London Book Fair to be held at Olympia, London from April 10-12, 2018. The London Book Fair 2018 will accommodate over 25,000 delegates from over 130 countries. It really is the place for the world’s book industry to meet, do business and enjoy all that London, the UK’s vibrant capital city has to offer.

The global publishing industry is truly a cross-cultural community and it is always wonderful to see them gather here at Olympia every Spring. The London Book Fair in its simplest terms is a global marketplace of rights negotiation and this year, once again, the International Rights Centre is sold out while on the show floor global publishers from trade, education and academic sectors are represented fully. Complementing the exhibitor and visitor mix, LBF offers world-class conferences and training including the Insights Programme, a seminar programme of 250 sessions. It is also a global creative industries hub for the sale and distribution of content across print, audio, TV, film and digital channels. We are delighted to be a global showcase for individual publishing markets, such as the Baltic Countries (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) who are our Market Focus this year.

As those of you who regularly visit will appreciate, it takes year-round planning and organisation to make the Fair a lively global publishing hub, a veritable hive of activity, that delivers all these events, conferences and platforms for exhibitors and visitors. It is wonderful to have such a great mix of colleagues to work on LBF throughout the year, including, to name but a few, Katie Morris, Event Manager, Orna O’Brien, Conference Manager, Sheerin Aswat, Head of Sales, and Helen Clifford, Marketing Manager.

Cross-media offerings…

Since I took over as Director of LBF in 2013, we have seen many changes in the landscape of the publishing industry, as a book fair we are a reflection of the industry we serve and as the publishing industry has evolved, so, too has LBF’s education, programme, topics for debate and more and different training for everyone. We have increased our cross media offering every year, with this year’s fair doing the most yet. We are pleased to welcome for the third year The Cross Media Rights Exchange, run in partnership with The Children’s Media Conference (CMC). This attracts everyone involved in developing, producing and distributing content for kids including delegates from television, radio, film, games, interactive media, magazine and book publishing, the licensing and toy sectors and the arts and culture. With such a vibrant technology and film scene in India, this is definitely something that I would recommend participating in.

To recognise this growth within the Fair we have a Cross Media Author of the Day for the first time, Charlie Adard. He is the Comics laureate and British comic book artist, known for his work on books such as The Walking Dead and Savage. And all this hard work to bring cross media opportunities to the heart of the Fair is paying off. Last year two of the biggest deals at the Fair were book to film deals.

Children’s publishing…

Children’s and illustration remain a crucial part of the global showcase at LBF. This year the power of illustration will be a key theme. We have named our first Illustrator of the Fair, the wonderful children’s laureate Lauren Child. We are also delighted to welcome Indian author Manjeet Hirani, How to be Human; Life Lessons from Buddy Hirani, and her US illustrator Missy H Dunaway to talk about international collaborations of illustrator and author.

Celebrating poetry

Poetry takes centre stage this year, with our first ever Poet of the Fair Imtiaz Dharker who crosses cultures and continents with her work. She is a Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry award-winner and I thoroughly recommend seeking her out through her new collection, Luck is the Hook.


As we all know the speed of change in publishing and the media is increasing and at LBF we think it is vital to mine the data trends so we can all keep informed and knowledgeable about the industry and its future. For the second year, we have teamed up with Nielsen Book to bring you the latest market insights at LBF’s Quantum Conference: Inspiration, Informed by Data (Monday 9 April). Nielsen Book will reveal exclusive research and their latest market insights will underpin all sessions.

Quantum is a world-class conference which discusses the key trends shaping the book industry and will hear insight from brilliant speakers representing the BBC, Google Play, StoryTel, Penguin Random House, and Hachette. Keynote speakers include digital transformation commentator Tom Goodwin, Hachette’s David Shelley and actor and narrator Adjoa Andoh. It will be chaired by Matt Haslum, publishing consultant and former Marketing Director at Faber & Faber.

For the first time, audio publishing will take centre stage, as the second half of the day at Quantum 2018 will be solely focussed on audiobooks, spanning audio rights, evolving business models, and marketing and creativity.

Matt Haslum, said, “With audio finally taking its rightful place as a serious player in publishing, we’re seeing a broader audience of reluctant readers and non-readers discovering books in their own way. Alongside expanding content and platform thinking and welcoming new, diverse talent into the industry, this seismic shift in audiobooks will be core to how the industry develops in the coming years – and Quantum is the ideal forum to share, discuss and learn.”

Outside of our dedicated conferences, the Fair’s Insights Seminar programme will see over 250 events, ranging from David Baldacci giving advice to aspiring authors, the growth of Crime genre in China and rights and IP across the world. There will be also be a Freedom to Publish conference within the Book Fair on Tuesday morning. Highlights include:

  • Tuesday: The Wonderful World of Mr Men and Little Miss – entertaining generations from the 1970s, CrossMedia Theatre, 11:00-12:00
  • Tuesday: A ‘Bookish Brexit’ – hosted by the Publisher’s Association, Olympia Room Grand Hall, 11:30-12:30
  • Tuesday: How I Write – David Baldacci, Author HQ, 16:45-17:30
  • Wednesday: Illustrator of the Day Lauren Child, CrossMedia Theatre, 11:30-12:30
  • Thursday: Children’s Spotlight: Jaqueline Wilson (Author of the Day), Author HQ, 12:45-13:30

Market focus…

We believe that the power of books and literature as a force for cross-cultural exchange cannot be overstated, and this year we are delighted to be hosting Market Focus: The Baltic Countries (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) with our partners the British Council and the Publishers Association. Look out for a great line-up of author events and a professional seminar programme designed to give a taste of this fascinating market.

The awards….

The LBF International Excellence Awards, run in partnership with The Publishers Association, is the only event to recognise the achievements of those bringing the written word to readers around the globe and we look forward to announcing the winners at the Fair. Previous Indian winners have included Tara Books who won The International Trade Children’s and Young Adult Publisher Award and Motilal Books of India who won The Market Focus Achievement Award. This year Daisy Forum of India has been shortlisted for Accessible Books Consortium International Excellence Award: Initiative. We will announce the winners on Tuesday 10 April.

Authors of the Day..

Authors are, of course, at the heart of The London Book Fair, and we are thrilled to welcome as Authors of the Day this year Jacqueline Wilson, Joanna Trollope, Mikel Mutt, Nora Ikstena and Kristina Sabaliauskaite. Indeed authors and aspiring authors visit LBF in increasing numbers every year. LBF runs an Author HQ programme aiming to provide content and advice for authors. This year it includes a snapshot of many areas of publishing, as well as in-depth practical advice on key areas of interest such as digital marketing and how to crack the American market.

And this is just a whistlestop summary of the activity within the Fair and its allied conferences. There are also many events taking place around the capital during London Book & Screen Week (9th – 15th April), our celebration of books and the films, television and virtual worlds they have inspired, where Jojo Moyes is the headline author.

Here at The London Book Fair we believe that nothing can replace the buzz of being surrounded by thousands of like-minded individuals from across the world, all gathered in one place to meet and do business. We look forward to welcoming delegates from around the world in London, the creative capital of the world. Here’s to a successful Fair!
We believe that the power of books and literature as a force for cross-cultural exchange cannot be overstated, and this year we are delighted to be hosting Market Focus: The Baltic Countries (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) with our partners the British Council and the Publishers Association.

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