Saturday, April 25, 2009

Saturday Suggestions: London!

We just got back from five days in London, it was a wonderful trip! It is easily my favorite city, I love being steeped in history. The architecture is beautiful, everywhere you look there is something interesting to see. And we were blessed with the most beautiful, sunny days! No rain at all and temps in the seventies. It was lovely, I never tire of spending time there. If you ever get the chance, GO!

The official reason for the trip was to attend the London Book Fair. I have never been to a trade show before and I had assumed that LBF would be similar to what I have heard & read about Book Expo America but I wasn't sure what to expect.

I can say that it was a very interesting experience. There were booths from all over Europe, representing every conceivable facet of the publishing industry. Most big British publishers were represented and many smaller ones, too, all with their latest and upcoming titles on display (mostly on posters or graphics, there weren't that many actual books around).

Statue of Boudicca, warrior Queen, on the banks of the Thames

Maybe it was because I didn't know anyone there, but I didn't really enjoy it much, unfortunately. There didn't seem to be much of a focus on authors or readers, I saw scheduled perhaps ten or twelve author interviews/signings/appearances over the entire three days. (The lists of author events at BEA that I have seen so far exceeds 500). My badge said "Book Reviewer/Blogger" and people were definitely looking at badges but not one person initiated a conversation with me. The people I spoke to were all very nice but it seemed to me that the focus was all on the selling (which is completely understandable) and not at all on the publicity aspects, which one would think was important, too.

So, I am very much looking forward to BEA. I am hoping that the experience will be a bit different, since I know a lot of bloggers and publicists that will be attending.

Plaque at 84 Charing Cross Rd, site of Marks & Co. Booksellers

We did quite a bit of sightseeing and then went book shopping...I can't go to London (or anywhere, actually) without shopping for books!

This is my favorite guide to book shopping in London, it is packed with every new and used bookshop in the city, plus outdoor bookstalls, libraries, book fair info and much more.

We bought some great books and had to buy and extra bag to pack them into to get them home!


Molly said...

Welcome back!! It was so good to hear about London --- I miss going this year. I am sorry that the Book Fair was not what you had hoped BUT....I am so very excited to hear that you will be at BEA!! I hope we have the opportunity to meet in person.

I would love to see more photos of the London trip sometime (hint...hint)

Alyce said...

That is so cool! When I went to London a few years ago I hadn't read 84 Charing Cross Rd, so it didn't occur to me that it would be a neat place to go. I'll have to include it on the list of sites to see if we ever go back.

bermudaonion said...

Any excuse to go to London is a good one. I'm sorry that the Book Fair didn't meet your expectations. I'll be at BEA too and look forward to meeting you!

Meghan said...

I'm glad you had fun in London! Kind of a shame about the London Book Fair. I've never been to one either but that's probably the only one I'll be able to go to any time soon. I'm so jealous of everyone going to BEA!

We've had gorgeous weather in England this week, you got very lucky. =)

LuAnn said...

It's too bad they didn't seem to realize the importance of us book reviewers/bloggers. Many of the publishers are beginning to look at how to take advantage of the influence we are beginning to have on readers.

The Tome Traveller said...

LBF was a good experience and I am glad that I went. The unfortunate thing was that, if you were not there to buy/order books, then there wasn't much left to do once you had a good look around. BEA definitely sounds more inclusive, with the many author events, the blogger panel, etc.

Plus all of my fellow bloggers to meet! It is going to be much more fun!

We could not believe our good fortune with the sunny weather, didn't even need a jacket until after the sun went down. It was just beautiful, definitely some of the nicest weather we have had on any of our UK trips.

farmlanebooks said...

I'm sorry to hear you didn't enjoy the book fair. I've never been to one, so wouldn't know what to expect.

Thank you for recommending that London book though - I'll have to try to find a copy!

Amy @ Passages to the Past said...

So glad to hear you had a great time - I'm a little green with envy over here as I've never been there. But when I do finally go I am SO bringing that Book Lovers book!!

Welcome Home!

Thank you!!

Thank you to Beth at Beth Fish Reads and to The Blogger Guide for helping me to customize my template and to Andrea at The Little Bookworm for improving my header!!

About Me

My photo
New Hampshire, United States
Bibliophile, Anglophile, Traveller... I have been an avid reader all of my life, since I took the Dr. Seuss Dictionary away from my Mom when I was less than a year old because I wanted to read it myself. In college, where I earned my degree in English Literature, I was often asked "What are you going to do with it?" Now I finally have the answer to that question!!! Being employed as a Flight Attendant for twenty years has given me a lot of life experience and, better still, a lot of time to read. I love to travel for fun, too.