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Increased foreign visitors, lively rights activity--and an opening to the public
THIS YEAR'S London International Book Fair, which ran from March 17-19, was the biggest and, by the judgment of most who attended, the best yet. More than 12,000 book professionals passed through the doors, and the number of overseas visitors--more than 3000--represented an 11% increase over the figure for 1995.
The physical space for the fair increased considerably with the addition of Olympia's National Hall, next door to the Grand Hall, and there were many favorable comments about the wider aisles and more spacious feel this created. The International Rights Centre jointly sponsored by Publishers Weekly also expanded, playing host this year to more than 220 agents and rights dealers, a 30% gain over last year; it was estimated that a record 3000-plus rights meetings were conducted during the fair.
According to LIBF director Mike Allsopp, the fair is developing its rights business strongly, but still aims primarily to be an occasion, like the ABA show in the U.S., where British booksellers--and this year an increasing number from overseas as well, coming from as far afield as Turkey and Saudi Arabia--come to look at the wares and place orders. It is also an opportunity for multimedia publishers to show off their new products, …