London Book Fair is the place for publishing people to be this April. If you are attending the fair, it is best to be prepared for your trip in order to make the most of your time at this huge, busy and buzzing event.
Absolutely the best thing to be doing right now is planning your time and finalising your schedule (if you haven’t already done so). Ensuring your meetings and any lunch appointments are planned out in advance will not only help shape your time at Olympia but will also mean your time there is used as fruitfully as possible.
You will benefit from using the LBF floorplans, and these are already available for viewing here. It is definitely worth familiarising yourself with these in advance – they will give you a good understanding of the shape of the fair, and will mean you are familiar with key landmarks which will help you navigate the aisles and find exits, cafes and toilets. The floorplans will also enable you figure out how long you will need between meetings to get from A to B, to make sure you don’t miss any key appointments.
If, like me, you find yourself in one location for the majority of the fair, take time to look around you in your time off-stand. Popping to grab a coffee? Try different routes and cafes, and use that time to peek at other stands and displays. Do leave ample time for lunch – refueling is so important. Trying to have lunch slightly earlier or later may mean you avoid peak time queues, but it is worth bearing in mind that cafes are always pretty busy, and seating is not always guaranteed. It is also a good idea to pop outside for some fresh air occasionally to keep you on top form.
If you can, factor in some learning time – seminars and talks are in abundance at the fair, so if you can vary your time between meetings and seminars you will fully benefit from all LBF has to offer. Information about the programme is here if you want include any of these sessions in your schedule.
On the social and networking side, go to some stand parties if you can. Many companies (be they suppliers, distributors, trade associations, publishers…) invite people to their parties – if you receive an invite, do go along! These are great for networking and experiencing a different pace at the fair. BookMachine is having its annual drinks at 4.30pm on the Wednesday of the fair and readers of this blog should definitely sign up and go along.
My final nugget of advice at Olympia is small but simple: look up. Not only will you get an idea of what’s located on the gallery levels, but you will also enjoy Olympia’s architecture. The stunning glass roof framed beautiful blue skies in April 2015 – fingers crossed for the same this year!
In short, the more time you spend preparing your visit in advance, the more you will get out of the book fair. There is plenty of information online, and I strongly encourage you to use as much of it as possible in the next two weeks.
Have a successful and enjoyable LBF!
Charly Salvesen-Ford has been Membership and Events Officer at the Independent Publishers Guild (IPG) since Autumn 2014. Charly previously worked at Osprey in editorial and digital roles and used to organise and host BookMachine events in Oxford. At this year’s London Book Fair you can visit her at stand 6E70.