Tuesday, April 20, 2010

LBF Does Go On...Volcano and All
By Rachel Deahl -- Publishers Weekly, 4/19/2010

Despite the huge monkey wrench the suddenly active Icelandic volcano put in many Americans' (and some Europeans') plans to attend the London Book Fair, spirits among both attendees and those who stayed behind were relatively high. As many in the industry noted, while doing business face-to-face is optimal, work can be done remotely. And, of course, London isn't just about what the Americans brings to the fair.

Carole Blake, an agent at the British-based Blake Friedmann, said that Americans are often "a rather light presence" at the fair anyway and that she often does heavier business with them in Frankfurt, where they come out in greater numbers. Nonetheless, she is bracing for the show to feel somewhat like a ghost town. "It's estimated there will be at least 170 empty publisher stands alone: goodness knows how many empty tables there will be in the International Rights Center."

To get a sense of just how few Americans made it to LBF, Jon Malinowski, president of the American Collective Stand, said that "in approximate numbers" about seven out of 100 ACS clients were able to get to London.

Agent Peter McGuigan, of Foundry Literary + Media, who was stuck in New York after his flight was delayed, said he thought the turn of events could spell new tidings for another industry event—BEA. "They should begin marketing to the rights community ASAP and turn this year's BEA into the type of important rights event it once was."

Brian DeFiore, of DeFiore and Company, said he was just writing LBF off at this point. While he admitted that it was unfortunate he wouldn't make it to the event, he pointed out, "the actual selling [of titles] usually goes on before and after [the fair]." Now, he added, it was just about "working harder remotely to get to know the personal idiosyncrasies that often determine who will buy what titles."
The rest at PW.

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