Mark Stephens Mark has been working with Java and PDF since 1999 and is a big NetBeans fan. He enjoys speaking at conferences. He has an MA in Medieval History and a passion for reading.

My First Visit to London Book Fair

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This week the London Book Fair is running all this week. As we are seeing an increasing number of publishers of all shapes and sizes using our PDF to HTML5 converter. I decided to visit Olympia and take a look at what is happening in publishing.

Anyone can attend the Book fair as a visitor (tickets cost 50 pounds or 35 pounds in advance). The first thing that strikes you about the London Book Fair is the size of the event. There are 2 huge conference Halls and several smaller ones, all packed with exhibitors (and people). There was a huge range of stands of all shapes and sizes and there were several zones (children’s books, foreign publishers, publisher services). It took me almost 3 hours to walk around all the stands…

Most of the big names publishers (Wiley, Harper Collins, Penguin Random House, Hatchette Book Group) were there with big stands. There was also a huge number of smaller, independent publishers of all genres, dotted around the edge. As a keen Historian, I spent quite a lot of time on the Pen and Sword stand (my favorite historical publishers), browsing their catalogue.

Academic and professional publishing are big categories and all the big University publishers were there. Oxford University Press and Cambridge University Press had big stands but there was a whole host of smaller stands from Harvard, and many British Universities. The British and Bodleian Library were also there. There were lots of ‘professional ‘ publishers including a large number from medical publishing but also Architecture and Science.

The Book Fair is an international event and the International section contained exhibitors from all over the world – I spotted Romania, China, Korea, Turkey, Mexico to name a few.

Compared to my more familiar Computer and IT conference events, the style of the London Book Fair is more traditional. The focus is very much on arranging meetings and many stands had large seating areas for this. Business cards are very much the order of the day, and you should take a large stack with you.

These days everyone is a publisher, and there were also quite a few stands I would not immediately have expected to find there (World Bank, Automobile Association, Imperial War Museum, English Heritage).

I left with the impressions that the book (both online and in its traditional physical form) is still very much alive and thriving. If you are interested in books and publishing, the London Book Fair is well worth the visit. And if you want to publish online, why not give our free online converter a spin….

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Mark Stephens Mark has been working with Java and PDF since 1999 and is a big NetBeans fan. He enjoys speaking at conferences. He has an MA in Medieval History and a passion for reading.

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