First Day of London Book Fair

The London Book Fair opened in earnest today and it was noticeably quieter than it has been for several years. About one out of every five of the eighty events planned across today had to be cancelled due to absent guests unable to reach London due to the weekend’s severe flight restrictions. Ironically, it now looks like some flights will resume this evening and tomorrow in and out of UK airports with some European airports already running some flights.
The substantial absence of the overseas contingent has meant that many planned deals on foreign publishing rights and translation rights will not be signed off. Traditionally international book fairs are an ideal opportunity for publishers, agents, distributors, retailers and printers to get together to discuss partnerships and deals face to face. What this does mean is that Book Expo America (BEA) in a few weeks and the Frankfurt Book Fair later in the year will take on even greater significance than they already have.
Major announcements were pretty thin on the ground and the most talked about snippet seemed to be the faux pas performed by Penguin Australia, covered in the Sydney Morning Herald. Their latest cooking opus, Pasta Bible, hit the shelves with the following direction for budding cooks to add ‘salt and freshly ground black people‘ to one recipe! Penguin have reprinted the 7000 copies from the initial print run and say they are happy to replace the books with the typo. They might also have thought of adding a disclaimer in the reprinted edition – ‘no black pepper was offended in the printing of this edition‘.

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