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!