Monday, 23 April 2012

London & The London Book Fair

I know some of you were hoping to see some pictures from my trip to London, and here they finally are! I didn't take that many photos, but it's enough to give you an idea. For those of you only interested about the London Book Fair, you can scroll down for a bit! All of the LBF related pieces of text are made purple for your convenience.

As I live in the Netherlands, it's pretty easy to get to London. Basically you jump on one of the high-speed trains (mine leaves from Aachen in Germany, as that one is closest), switch to another high-speed train in Brussels (Belgium) and zoof through the tunnel under the sea to the UK. All in all, it takes about five hours. Here's me and the Eurostar, which goes through the tunnel.

Going through a tunnel underneath the sea was pretty scary the first time, but if you take the train you barely notice it. These trains can go about 250 km/h and you're at the other side in no time.

When we arrived in London (after putting our bags in the hotel & eat lunch) we decided to visit the Book Fair. My first impression? Overwhelming. To give you an idea, we made a picture of me in front of the information board. You see all those teeny tiny names? They're all individual stands. Yeah. That many.

So we just walked around aimlessly for a bit, trying to take it all in. If anyone dares to tell you that there is no money to be made in books, force them to go to the LBF. There are hundreds and hundreds of company professionals walking around, sitting at tables, trying to get book deals. I stopped reading name tags after a while after seeing CEOs and directors of so many big companies. A note should also be made towards all of the different countries represented at the Fair. This year there was a big focus on China, but I also saw stands from the Netherlands, Germany, Hungary, Sweden, and dozens more (not only just European countries).

After trudging through the Fair for two hours, we did some shopping. We went to Westfield, which is the biggest shopping mall in Europe (after going the the second biggest shopping mall in France, we wanted to see this one too). I snatched a picture from the internet to show you how big it is (click it to go to the source).

It's huuuge! I know you Americans are used to things being gigantic, but for us Europeans it's shocking. I went to Foyles, a bookstore, where all LBF attendees got a 10% discount (*happy dance*) and got some new books. We also checked out The Village, a part of Westfield that houses brands like Dior and other shops we obviously haven't bought anything. Here's a picture of its marble glory.

The second day we went sight-seeing, visiting the Tate Modern museum and Covent Garden. We discovered that not everything at the Tate Modern is modern, as when we ordered a coke (expecting a bottle of Coca Cola or Pepsi), here's what we got.

A fermented botanical cola drink with ginger and herbal extracts! Yummy!

I saw on the map that the Globe Theatre (the famous copy of Shakespeare's theatre) was a five-minute walk, so we brought ol' William's dwelling a visit too. It's squished between redbrick buildings, but it's quite pretty nevertheless.

We also visited Trafalgar Square and Piccadilly Circus, and went to my favourite bookstore in the world, Waterstones! The combined effort of my Waterstones & Foyles & Fair visit can be found at my In My Mailbox post.

The third day I did a full Book Fair experience. I visited two seminars, collected catalogues & promotional books, and attended the interview with Anthony Horowitz. The first seminar I visited was called New Young Adult Lists: Representatives of Three Major Publishers Discuss their Lists, Launched in 2011. It's a mouthful, but it was very interesting. There were representatives of Razor Bill, Electic Monkey and Hot Key Books, and they talked about what they look for in young-adult submissions, the current market and their goals as publishers. I think this seminar was quite interesting both as a blogger and a wannabe-writer. 

The second one I visited was more casual; Mal Peet & Moira Young in Conversation. I haven't read Moira's book, Blood Red Road yet, but it still was very interesting to hear about her story, and how she has written her book. Mal Peet was awesome too, but I'm afraid that I won't be reading his books, they don't sound like something I would enjoy. They were both very nice, and signed books from people in the audience before the interview and answered their questions.

The last event I visited was Anthony Horowitz's interview. That man can talk! I was a bit disappointed that it was only half an hour, I would have loved to listen to him a little while longer. There were some questions in the audience about violence in books, and it was very interesting to hear his views about this. Here is a picture of his interview.

As a blogger, is the LBF something you want to attend again? Definitely yes. Even though you don't really belong to the "in" crowd (all the publishers seem to know each other) if you attend seminars and author talks, it's very educational and interesting. You can probably find some publishing contacts here too, but I was way to shy to walk up to the publishing people and give them my business card. I would love to visit the Fair with some fellow bloggers sometime.

So that's my London story. After that it was back to the cold and rainy Netherlands. (: A massive stack of cookies for everyone that read the whole story!


Mariska said...

Wauw! Dat klinkt geweldig! Wat een belevenis. En wat een boel boeken heb je gekocht. (Ben even naar de link gegaan)  En ik wist niet dat er zo'n grote beurs bestond in Londen. Te gek zeg! Daar moet ik zeker een keer heen. 


Hannah said...

Great post! Sounds like you had a fantastic time :3 I have to say, I've never visited Foyles or the giant Waterstones because I didn't know about them last time I went sight seeing in London but these days: DO WANT. 

Beth said...

Sounds like a great time--I'd love to go sometime.  London is about a five-hour train ride for me, too.

Kat (AussieZombie) said...

Awesome, it looks like you had a fantastic time!

*IF* I'm still in Europe next year, I'll definitely be trying to visit The London Book Fair too!

Nicole @ Teenage Fiction said...

This looks so interesting! I have to agree that Waterstones is my favourite book store in the world, and it sounded like quite an experience :)

Celine said...

Haha, ik kwam er ook pas een paar maanden geleden achter! En toen ik hoorde dat ik ook echt kon gaan was ik helemaal in de zevende hemel. Ik hoop dat je een keer kunt gaan, het is echt heel leuk (:

Celine said...

Argh, you must visit Waterstones! It has great YA department, and their fantasy, sci-fi & horror shelves are to die for. I found so many great books there from authors I hadn't even heard from. I wish I could just take you all there xD

Celine said...

It's a fantastic city (: I hope you can go sometime too!

Celine said...

I did ^^ You should! If you're in Europe that is, it's quite a long stretch to come from Australia (:

Celine said...

Yay, another Waterstones lover! It was quite an experience, and I would definitely recommend it (:

Hannah said...

We used to have a Borders nearby before they went bust in the UK and that was my FAVOURITE store ever. I swear. I imagine it was nowhere near the size of London's big book stores but seriously. HUGE. Loved it and I'd lose myself in the 3 for 2 offers, different sections, fiction and non-fiction, fantasy. Man I miss it!

These days my weaknesses are all for The Works and charity shops. Bargain book shopping is like a mini treasure hunt I adoooore it! <3

Celine said...

Borders sounds like an amazing store! Wish I could have seen it before it closed.. I'm always a little sad when bookstores go bankrupt. I wish we had better bookstores in the Netherlands, but even the biggest ones only have a tiny English section. I think I'll have to move to the UK someday ^^

Pragya said...

Thanks for the cookies. And yay for you travelling all the way from Netherlands! And who heard of traveling beneath the sea, must be some experience, eh! Oh, the pics are so gorgeous and this was huge! The World Book Fair we have here is really huge too but maybe it's not as pretty with all the marbles and stuff. ;)

Good to know you went sightseeing too.  And obviously you went with lots of empty space in your bag to bring back all the books that you did. :)

Celine said...

Travelling beneath the sea is a very scary idea. I mean, there is a SEA pressing on that tunnel. But it's a fast way to get to the other side, and I tend to get sea sick on ferry boats (:

Hehe yeah, we made sure we had enough space because we already counted on me getting a lot of books. We hadn't counted on this much though xD

Ellie Warren said...

Glad you had a fun time. I ended up being really disappointed about not going but that's because a few publicists asked me if I'd be there or if I was going to the tweet-up. Would have been lovely to meet them and I think it would be a different experience "knowing people". I will definitely be going next year when I can take time off work :) 

Vicky @ Books, Biscuits & Tea said...

I'm the same as you, I'd be way too shy to walk up to these people :( But I'm glad you had a great time! :) And you know you can visit me in a few years and we can go together, ha!

I love Shakespeare's Globe!! <3 Been there twice and I effin love that place. Plus, it's so cool that you can just jump on a train and go up to London. I wish I didn't have to take a plane in order to get there.. even though it only takes about 3 hours, but still. I prefer trains, haha.

Great photos! xxx

Linny @ Linnys Literature said...

I don't know how I missed this post! Saw it in your Monthly Wrap Up and had to check it out.

Cookies for me for reading the whole thing! ;D I didn't know they had trains that went underwater.. *Adds going on underwater train to Bucket List* Fabulous. Thanks for all the pictures! I'm so jealous. And even as a gigantic-stuff-loving American that mall looks huge and awesome, haha. And the Globe Theater, so cool! I haven't read Blood Red Road yet either, but that's so cool you got to see her and everything. Getting that tag with your blog name printed out so professional and buisness like is awesome too! Anyway, thanks for sharing!

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