Gareth Rapley is new director of The London Book Fair

The next fair takes place from 18 to 20 April 2023 at Olympia London

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London Book Fair
Gareth Rapley, director, London Book Fair. Photo London Book Fair

Reed Exhibitions (RX) has announced the appointment of Gareth Rapley as the new director of The London Book Fair (LBF). The first fair under Gareth’s leadership will take place next year from 18 to 20 April 2023.

Rapley takes over from Andy Ventris and will lead the LBF team as it prepares for the 2023 fair when the international publishing community will come together at Olympia London for three days of business, seminars, and networking.

With 13 years of experience delivering large-scale international events, Rapley has worked across a number of industries, including agriculture, finance, technology, and, most recently, the energy sector. Having lived in the UAE for the past three years organizing events across the Middle East and Africa, he has recently returned to the UK.

Rapley said, “I am delighted to be joining The London Book Fair as its new director, and can’t wait to get started and deliver a fantastic offering for the 2023 fair next spring. I know how vital The London Book Fair is for the global publishing community and look forward to building relationships with exhibitors, attendees, and stakeholders to ensure that the fair’s important role in the industry continues stronger than ever.”

Kerry Prince, chief growth officer at RX UK, added, “Following the fantastic response to The London Book Fair’s return to a physical event earlier this year, I am pleased that Gareth Rapley will lead our experienced and committed team in preparation for next year’s edition. With Gareth’s years of experience in delivering major events, combined with the insight and passion for publishing of the Advisory Board and our partners around the globe, The London Book Fair will be in safe hands.”

“For over 50 years, The London Book Fair has been a key moment in the publishing calendar for the industry to connect and do business. Gareth will bring a new perspective and a wealth of experience from a range of sectors to the role of director, laying the foundations for another successful edition of the fair in 2023,” Prince said.

David Roche, chair of the LBF advisory board, said, “On behalf of the LBF advisory board, I’d like to extend a warm welcome to Gareth Rapley, and look forward to working closely together as we prepare for the 2023 fair. The London Book Fair is one of the jewels in the crown of the book world, and 2022 was a particularly special moment when we were able to physically gather again in one place after so long apart. Together with the advisory board, I look forward to ensuring all areas of the industry are represented, maintaining the momentum and energy from this year, and creating another fantastic experience for attendees in 2023.”

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. The London Book Fair 2023 will take place from 18 to 20 April 2023 at Olympia London.

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels 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. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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