The London Book Fair is to take place from 29th June to 1st July in 2021, it has been confirmed. It comes as Andy Ventris (pictured) is named the fair's new director.
LBF was originally scheduled for March next year, but has been moved to "provide the best possible opportunity of creating a live event where the publishing industry can reconnect and do business". The decision was made after a survey of LBF stakeholders showed 89% of exhibitors and 76% of visitors believe face-to-face meetings are "extremely important" for business. The new June dates have been chosen in line with the current UK projected timelines for large-scale events restarting.
Planning for 2021 is taking place in collaboration with the LBF advisory board, which is set to meet later this month.
David Roche, chair of the advisory board, said: “LBF was created to facilitate the book business and support the publishing industry. Reed Exhibitions have curated the show over recent decades and through some challenging times. LBF, as part of Reed Exhibitions, the biggest player in staging global exhibitions, is uniquely placed to deliver a buoyant, safe and exciting environment for the publishing industry to carry out face-to-face meetings again, and for new business to be facilitated. The advisory board has been strengthened to work closely with the LBF team: together I am confident that we can deliver a brilliant experience for all our visitors."
New director Ventris — who takes on the role vacated by Jacks Thomas earlier this year — joined Reed Exhibitions, the fair's organiser, in 2013 and has worked across some of its key brands for seven years. He was previously the event manager for the company's luxury travel portfolio, and also worked in marketing and sales.
Commenting on the decision to move LBF dates and host a live event, he said: "Having worked with the LBF team in recent months, I’m delighted to be taking on the role of director, especially at this time of great change. There continue to be many challenges facing us as we plan LBF 21, and I believe it’s crucial that we are open and transparent with our exhibitors, partners and visitors throughout the process.
“Large-scale events in the UK are subject to ever-changing national and local guidelines and regulations. We have made the decision to move LBF to June 2021 to create the best opportunity of hosting a live event.
“Given the dynamic nature of the pandemic we will continue to closely monitor the situation, and if the current outlook changes will make a final decision on the live event’s feasibility by the end of March 2021 at the very latest. We want to give all our partners, exhibitors and visitors this date to work towards, as we appreciate how much planning and resource goes into preparation for a trade fair of this scale."
The fair is scheduled to take place at Olympia, and organisers are working with the venue to ensure "a safe event environment that meets the needs of visitors and exhibitors". A number of hygiene and safety measures have been developed, and will be reviewed and implemented as the event approaches.
Nigel Nathan, m.d. at Olympia London, said: “We’re delighted that The London Book Fair will once again be taking place at Olympia London in June 2021. The London Book Fair is a highlight in our calendar and always brings so much energy and vibrancy to our venue and the surrounding area. Working with the LBF team, we’re putting a wide range of safety measures in place ready for this big event – sensible measures to make sure the show is as enjoyable and memorable as always for the publishing community. We can’t wait to welcome everyone back."
Reed Exhibitions has confirmed LBF will return to its usual spring dates in 2022.