The London Book Fair

The London Book Fair is the global marketplace for rights negotiation and the sale and distribution of content across print, audio, TV, film and digital channels. In 2015 the fair will take place at Olympia, in West London, and will cover all aspects of the industry.


History and development 

The fair grew out of a librarian's trade show called the The Specialist Publishers Exhibition for Librarians (SPEX) that was started on 5th November 1971 by Lionel Leventhal "as a tabletop affair in the basement of The Berners Hotel", Leventhal wanted to give small publishers a platform to easily show their titles to librarians, and so the idea of SPEX was born. "The location was chosen for its proximity to the Library Association, and the date because it coincided with a monthly council meeting there, which would be attended by a number of out of town librarians." 

The first exhibition was a success and Leventhal was keen to make the event a regular one. Partnering with Clive Bingley, a publisher of textbooks on librarianship, the pair delivered the second exhibition in November 1972. The Bloomsbury Centre Hotel played host to the renamed "Small and Specialist Publishers Exhibition." 

The scope and influence of the event grew and began to encompass bigger and more general publishers.[ "In 1975, the initials LBF made their first appearance when the fair was renamed SPEX'75: The London Book Fair. By 1977 SPEX had been dropped and the title London Book Fair was born." 

The London Book Fair has grown in size and importance over the years and is now considered as second only to the Frankfurt Book Fair as "a mecca for European publishers, booksellers, rights agents and media trendspotters".

More than 25,000 publishers, booksellers, literary agents, librarians, media and industry suppliers from over 100 countries now attend the fair. Book publishers come to London to publicize their upcoming titles and to sell and purchase subsidiary and translation rights for books from other publishers.

Over 1700 international exhibitors participate in The London Book Fair. The fair itself covers a range of interests and markets within the publishing industry, including rights negotiation and the sales and distribution of content across print, audio, TV, film and digital channels, as well as more traditional forms of print publishing.

The event also includes a dedicated conference, The Publishing Digital Minds Conference, held on the Monday before the main fair, as well as an educational programme of over 300 seminars and events as part of the Insights Programme.

Until 2006 the London Book Fair had been held at the Olympia exhibition centre, but it moved to the ExCeL Exhibition Centre in London's Docklands that year. Due to generally unfavourable feedback from attendees over the new location, the book fair returned to west London in 2007 and took place at Earls Court Exhibition Centre from 16 to 18 April. Every year since 2007 The London Book Fair has been held at the Earls Court Exhibition Centre. LBF 2015 will take place in Olympia London on 14-16 April 2015 as part of London Book And Screen Week.

Visit the following website for information:

Market Focus Programme 

The London Book Fair Market Focus programme showcases one particular country or region of note each year, with the objective of putting the spotlight on publishing trade links with this territory, its publishing industry and the opportunities for conducting business with the rest of the world.

Market Focus countries and regions have included the Arab worldIndiaSouth AfricaRussiaTurkeyChina and South Korea. In 2015 the Market focus will be Mexico.

London Book and Screen Week 

Launched in 2014 London Book and Screen Week was designed to celebrate the importance of the book and the written word at the heart of creative content across all formats. Comprising a week of events, the pinnacle of the week was the The London Book Fair for the 43rd edition.

Taking place in a variety of venues across the capital, London Book and Screen Week welcomed all those involved in writing, reading and creating content for book and screens in all formats from e-reader to silver screen.

It incorporated, among others, the Publishing for Digital Minds Conference, the recently launched Tech Tuesday, writers from this year’s Market Focus and a direct-to-consumer creative writing event.

The week focussed on the business of publishing and storytelling from concept to consumer, shining a spotlight on authors, industry leaders, screen writers, agents, publishers, retailers, etailers, developers, technology gurus and start-ups. London Book and Screen Week 2015 takes place from 14- 16 April 2015.