Tuesday, 12 April 2011

A Day at the Fair

I've had a day out at the London Book Fair today. If only the fair consisted of piles and piles of lovely vintage books, as in the picture above. Alas it does not. It is ultra-slick with massive stands put up by the big publishers that are just like big offices, full of execs beavering away trying to do deals. You can't wander onto them to look at the books or anything. There is a constant hubbub of voices which is at exactly the right pitch to activate my (very) partial deafness (ie too much time listening to John Peel on giant headphones as a teenager) so I spent the whole day feeling slightly out of it.
     It takes place at Earls Court and this is what it looks like:
There are many stern young women guarding the entrances to the stands and lots of middle-aged men in serious need of haircuts pulling little wheelie trolleys round. The food costs an arm and a leg and there aren't enough places to sit down. 'Why do you bother going?' I hear you ask. Good question. I did manage to spend most of the day feeling somewhat alienated and had to retire several times to neglected corners to have a read of my book, but I had some meetings in the afternoon with our US distributors and with our sales representatives, all of whom are extremely nice, and after that I felt more human.
     Funnily enough, one of the things you can't do at the fair is buy books, but I did manage to buy one, unexpectedly. I was admiring a gorgeous book on vintage packaging on one of the smaller stands where you can actually look at the wares. I asked the person on the stand whether they had a catalogue, so that I could track the book down later (it was a Spanish publishers). She said, no, but I could buy the book now if I wanted to and she knocked a few quid off the price. So it's mine:
Now that I'm home and looking through my carrier bag of free bookmarks and obscure catalogues, I feel more generous towards the whole event and am glad I work in this industry (you can be in no doubt that it really is an industry after a day at the book fair).

4 comments:

Joanna said...

Sounds absolutely exhausting! Funny that you can't actually buy books at the book fair, I would find that so frustrating. Well done for finding the one book apparently for sale - and what a cool book too! Stunning colours in those pages you've shown us.

And you can never have enough bookmarks......!

Menopausal musing said...

My other half has that sort of deafness too, makes going anywhere and getting/hearing conversation very difficult. Would love a look at the book you bought, the pages you photographed are tantalising...........

Kitsch and Curious Elaine said...

Ooh yes, that packaging book looks wonderful...
Interesting for the rest of us to get an insight into such an event, and at least it got you out of the office!
And in yet another weird twin moment, I am almost completely deaf in one ear, with tinnitus to boot, and have much the same experience in noisy places like that.

Printed Material said...

Jane,
Sounds like my idea of heaven and hell all wrapped up in one place. Give me dusty old second hand bookshops I think... although I do like your new book purchase.... a lot! Lesley