The London Book Fair moves online for 2021

The Online Book Fair by LBF to run in June

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View of the London Book Fair
London Book Fair at the Olympia. Photo Reed Exhibitions

Reed has announced on 15 April 2021 that the London Book Fair 2021 will go ahead as a digital-only event, creating opportunities for the publishing industry to meet online, following the impact of the global pandemic. The in-person format will return next year to its usual Spring dates of 5 to 7 April 2022. This is quite in line with Ron Augustin’s report on our pages on 8 April 2021.

The Online Book Fair will bookend the month of June, with conferences taking place the week of the 7th and a further series of flagship digital events running at the end of June. The focus will be to shine a spotlight on the fair’s key areas, creating the opportunity for a larger global audience than ever before to come together in a flexible way to do business, network, learn and share ideas. More information on the digital event will be released in the coming weeks, including options for exhibitors and visitors and details around the content program, which will address themes relevant to publishers, booksellers, authors, the rights community, and more.

Andy Ventris, director at The London Book Fair, said, “It is with sadness that we postpone the in-person London Book Fair for 2021. Over the last few months, we have explored every scenario for this year’s fair with our exhibitors, stakeholders, and Advisory Board. Given the complex challenges and constraints of the global pandemic, we wanted to give as much notice as possible to exhibitors and attendees while making the best possible decision for the publishing industry. With the continued uncertainty around international travel and vaccination rollouts, it has become apparent that an in-person Fair for 2021 would not be able to offer the full value to participants that we want to deliver.

“We are deeply committed to delivering a digital event in June that offers real value and flexibility and to broaden the reach of the fair to the widest possible international audience. The Online Book Fair will provide the industry with a dynamic digital program packed with content and opportunities to make new connections.

“We want to do whatever we can to support the international publishing trade as we transition to a post-pandemic environment and The Online Book Fair will allow us to do that this year, but we look forward to celebrating the resilience and creativity of our industry with you all in-person at the 2022 Fair in London.”

Exhibitors and visitors

All contracted exhibitors for 2021 will have options to choose from regarding their 2021 investment. For maximum trade visibility, exhibitors can put a portion of this year’s investment into participating in the Online Book Fair and roll over the remainder into 2022, when it can be topped up as appropriate. Alternatively, exhibitors may decide to roll over their entire investment into the physical 2022 event with a price freeze applied.

Visitors will be able to access The Online Book Fair free of charge.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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– Naresh Khanna

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