Big business at book fair

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Danuta Kean</p><p>
The 2001 London Book Fair was one of the busiest on record, with exhibitors reporting frantic business done on each day of the three-day event. At times it seemed almost impossible to walk the aisles, as some of the 12,500 visitors wandered along admiring the wares on display. The visitor figures represent a healthy increase on 2000, when 12,167 visitors attended the fair. The 2001 show also enjoyed a 3% increase in the number of UK and overseas press attending, up to 579.</p><p>
Michael Wilson, Penguin head of sales, export, said: "There has been a significant increase in passing traffic this year, with a high number of European visitors. It has been a successful fair with good existing client business done and lots of new contacts made."</p><p>
Bloomsbury, fresh from its triumph at the British Book Awards, also reported a good fair. "It has definitely been our biggest and most successful London Book Fair," Kathleen Farrar, international sales director, said.</p><p>
There was a strong presence from international publishers this year. Twenty-six German publishers formed the first German Collective stand to exhibit at the fair. Mechthild Bartel, project manager, international marketing and sales, the German Collective, said: "We've had a very busy fair, and the publishers are very happy. It's a wonderful opportunity for smaller publishers and the numbers exhibiting will grow next year. London is the spring fair, it's very important." </p><p>
This year saw the continuation of the evolution of the fair from a general trade event to one that is also an international rights marketplace second only to the Frankfurt Book Fair in the autumn. Many coedition publishers are finding in consequence that their business is spread more evenly through the year. Exhibitors without rights businesses are also starting to rethink their LBF strategies.</p><p>
Neil MacGowan, TBS key account and business development director, said this year his company used the fair to tout aggressively for new business. It was the first time the company had taken such a proactive approach to the fair. Invitations to visit the TBS/GBS stand were sent out to potential new customers before the fair, and a number had made appointments to talk with the company.</p><p>
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