Online London Book Fair 'surpasses expectations' by engaging 90 countries

Online London Book Fair 'surpasses expectations' by engaging 90 countries

This year's digital version of the London Book Fair "surpassed expectations" with boosted global engagement, organisers say.

The Online Book Fair, which ran from 21st June to 1st July, “attracted considerable attention from around the world, with visitors from over 90 countries and six continents attending sessions,” organisers Reed said. They claimed this year’s event offered "a new platform for the global publishing industry to connect, creating new networking opportunities, and tackling some of the most pressing issues facing the industry today”. 

The fair was initally rescheduled to June in the hope of holding a physical event but organisers were finally forced to abandon this in February due to disruption caused by the pandemic. The three-week digital event was named the Online Book Fair and featured conferences, streamed programming, discussions and author appearances.

The digital offering helped extend the global reach of the fair. The conferences that took place before the seminar programme saw a boost of 40% in international attendance compared to last year.

This year's programme included over 70 sessions, including the new Industry Insights stream, which featured publishing experts discussing their work in the sector. Matt Haig was author of the fair, appearing in conversation with journalist and comedian Viv Groskop. Journalist and author Yomi Adegoke (pictured) delivered the keynote speech, addressing issues around diversity and inclusion in publishing, the need for change and for authors to be allowed to write about more than their oppression.  

Other speakers included representatives from United Nations Publications, Columbia University, BBC World Service, Penguin Random House, HarperCollins, Amazon Publishing, Nielsen, Bloomsbury, The Victoria & Albert Museum, The Roald Dahl Story Company, The Booksellers Association, International Publishers Association and Jacaranda Books. 

Participating organisations included HarperCollins, Amazon, Oxford University Press, China International Publishing Group, National Book Trust India and the International Monetary Fund amongst others.  

Andy Ventris, LBF director, said: “We’re delighted with how The Online Book Fair has gone—it really has surpassed our expectations. It was fantastic to see the breadth and diversity of talent and knowledge found in the publishing industry reflected in both the programme speakers and the global audience interacting with the sessions.  

“We’ve had some excellent feedback and I believe we’ve been able to create a valuable business platform for our customers, expanding our global reach and attracting new audiences through our digital events programme. I’d like to thank the industry for their support for The Online Book Fair and engagement with our programme, and we look forward to meeting up in person at our next planned event, the Lifetime Achievement Award ceremony for Margaret Busby in September and of course at the London Book Fair in April 2022.” 

The fair will return as an in-person event next year.