- Matt Haig and Yomi Adegoke lead event programme
- Visitors from over 90 countries participate in the Fair
- Exhibitors included Harper Collins, IMF, China International Publishing Group, National Book Trust India, Amazon and more
- Most popular sessions explore publishing sustainability, technological innovation and editing expertise
London. 27 July 2021. Following the conclusion of The Online Book Fair this month, The London Book Fair has heralded the success of its first ever digital Fair in offering a new platform for the global publishing industry to connect, creating new networking opportunities, and tackling some of the most pressing issues facing the industry today.
LBF has revealed that the digital platform attracted considerable attention from around the world, with visitors from over ninety countries and six continents attending sessions. The conferences that preceded The Online Book Fair’s seminar programme, including What Works? and The Research and Scholarly Publishing Forum, also had over forty percent international attendance. This increase in international reach was reflected in this year’s International Excellence Awards, with Singapore and Bulgaria receiving their first nominations in a shortlist featuring fifteen counties across four continents.
Andy Ventris, Director of The London Book Fair, said: “We’re delighted with how The Online Book Fair has gone – it really has surpassed our expectations. It was fantastic to see the breadth and diversity of talent and knowledge found in the publishing industry reflected in both the programme speakers and the global audience interacting with the sessions. We’ve had some excellent feedback and I believe we’ve been able to create a valuable business platform for our customers, expanding our global reach and attracting new audiences through our digital events programme. I’d like to thank the industry for their support for The Online Book Fair and engagement with our programme, and we look forward to meeting up in person at our next planned event, the Lifetime Achievement Award ceremony for Margaret Busby, in September, and of course at The London Book Fair in April 2022.”
In addition to an increase in international influence, The Online Book Fair audience served as a cross section of the publishing industry, with attendants ranging from interns and apprentices to directors and CEOs. The online format of the Fair also allowed for a bigger digital reach than before, with total engagement across social channels growing by sixty-two percent on the previous month.
The Online Book Fair also featured a variety of organisations across the publishing sector, including: Harper Collins, Amazon, Oxford University Press, China International Publishing Group, National Book Trust India, International Monetary Fund, The Book Institute Poland and many more.
Exhibitors at The Online Book Fair said:
Alexandra Buchler, Literature Across Frontiers said of their experience: “The Literary Translation Centre at the London Book Fair has been a successful hub for the literary translation sector for a decade, and we welcomed the opportunity to continue contributing to its diverse programme on a platform that will add a useful dimension to this leading industry event when it returns to a physical format in the future”
Ren Renwick, CEO at the Association of Illustrators, commented: “At a time we all crave conversation and connection, The Online Book Fair gave us just that – a plethora of stimulating panel discussions, talks, masterclasses. Illustrators are a vital part of the publishing industry, and the accessibility of the platform meant we could connect, and be inspired, wherever we were in the world.”
Izaskun Arretxe, Director of the Literature Department, Institut Ramon Llull (Barcelona) added: “This year 2021 the Institut Ramon Llull (IRL) has organised three cultural events in the LBF (on authors, translation and the Catalan publishing industry) that have worked very well — making the most of the powerful LBF digital platform. These events have been a preview of the cultural programme the IRL is developing with the fair for LBF 2022, within the framework of the Spotlight programme — which we very much hope will be live!”
Divia Kainth, Head of Sales and Marketing at Sweet Cherry Publishing said of The Online Book Fair: “Sweet Cherry is proud to exhibit at and support The Online London Book Fair. We’ve had some great conversations this year and are excited to see these new relationships come to fruition.”
The Online Book Fair’s programme consisted of over seventy sessions, including the new Industry Insights stream, which featured publishing experts discussing their work in the sector.
Sessions on publishing sustainability, technological changes in the industry, and editing prose were among the most attended live talks of the Fair, while a panel on licensing and building brands for books attracted fifty per cent more attendees than the same session in 2019.
Highlights from The Online Book Fair include:
Author of the Fair Matt Haig appeared in conversation with journalist and comedian Viv Groskop, discussing his writing career, the importance of libraries and bookshops for the book community, and how he has cultivated international success.
Journalist and co-author of Slay in Your Lane: The Black Girl Bible Yomi Adegoke delivered the keynote speech for The Online Book Fair, addressing issues around diversity and inclusion in publishing, the need for change and for authors to be allowed to write about more than their oppression.
Throughout The Online Book Fair, authors led panels to discuss the nature of writing, their publishing journeys and the exciting developments happening in their genres. Authors appearing at the Fair included: Alexandra Christo, Paul Mason, Chloe Gong, Lucy Caldwell, Abi Silver, Mark Edwards, RJ McBrien, Simon Stephenson, Eimear Ryan, Anni Domingo, Lisa Bent, Selma Dabbagh, lisa luxx, Katharine and Elizabeth Corr.
Other speakers at the Fair included representatives from United Nations Publications, Columbia University, BBC World Service, Penguin Random House, HarperCollins, Amazon Publishing, Nielsen, Bloomsbury, The Victoria & Albert Museum, The Roald Dahl Story Company, The Booksellers Association, International Publishers Association, Jacaranda Books, and many more.
The winners of the International Excellence Awards 2021 were celebrated in a series of ‘In Conversation’ interviews. This year’s winners included Ghana Library Authority as Library of the Year, Romania’s Cărturești as Bookshop of the Year, and Editora Trinta Zero Nove (Mozambique), which took home the Literary Translation Initiative Award.
Some of this year’s Trailblazer Award winners – Hannah Chukwu, Ain-Deheb Bensenouci, Grace Keane and Olivia Rosenthall – were interviewed by Tanu Shelar and Amalia Mihailescu from SYP UK about their publishing careers and their advice for those aspiring to join the industry or stand out in their field.
There was an emphasis on accessibility to books throughout The Online Book Fair. Bodour Al Qasimi, Sarah Odedina, Pam Dix, Alison Tweed and Sita Brahmachari led a panel of the importance of children around the world having access to books through which they can see themselves and the wider world. There were also sessions on the work being done in Brazil to improve access to literature, and how Chinese, Arabic, Catalan and Welsh translation can open up new audiences and tell new, previously unheard stories.
The London Book Fair’s 2021 Charity of the Year, Royal Voluntary Service, explained the history, importance, and positive impact of the service, as well as how the pandemic has affected their work.
The London Book Fair will return as an in-person event in April 2022.