The LBF was my second book fair ever, the first one being Frankfurt way back when. It has the advantage of being close by but somehow I spent almost as much money in between getting a hair cut and getting there and other stuff I can't think of right now but managed to empty my debit account. Seriously, in two weeks, I ended up going from 100GBP to 0.36! Oh and, American friends (and friends from elsewhere too for that matter) if you need a haircut, don't do it here. Regardless, the fair gave me an excuse to go back to London, which I love (probably because I don't have to live there), and it also meant that I had a legitimate reason not to do any NPD work. That's a big plus. Another one was that as a volunteer and a student, I didn't have to pay an entry fee (£40). Another tip, if you're a student and want to get in for free, you need to preregister online. No one told us this and boyfriend ended up having to pay the full fee to get in. He was so pissed he only went one day.
I think I enjoyed this fair better than the one in Frankfurt. Part of it is that we were better prepared, we know more about what is going on in the industry so we were more interested and knowledgeable about the products certain publishers were exhibiting. Another thing was that we could go to seminars which broke up the hours of aimless wondering through the stands although I found the seminars fairly vague and general and I knew most of what the speakers were saying already (minus the exact numbers of course) maybe they weren't very good speakers or maybe Brookes just prepares us really well. I'll go with number 2 ;) It was also much smaller, as in, a small fraction of the size of Frankfurt. And I still managed to get more free stuff. LBF FTW!
I was doing some volunteer work but that was very light. Just change the paper at the door with the title of the seminar and make sure the speakers had water. Most of the seminars pretty much ran themselves and I didn't even need to do that. After that, I could leave if I wanted to. Which I did only once because the seminars were fairly interesting. Also, my first one was a talk with James Patterson and I got to shake his hand and got a free hardcover too. There was this scary woman managing everything, really scary. I was very intimidated. Also, there was police on the floor, woot, James Patterson is so VIP :) It was the most interesting talk too, about literacy and getting boys to read. I have to say the talks on literacy and getting boys/teenagers to read were the best of all those I went to. I learned about this effort called "Headspace" run by teens for teens that creates library spaces where teens are encourage to spend time relaxing with music, internet and of course books. Apparently, they're quite successful in getting kids to start seeing books as fun. I missed the talk about Spinebreakers which was a shame because apparently it was excellent and everyone was very impressed.
Other than that, I got to try some food prepared by international big name chefs and even chatted with a Peruvian one, yay! I got four free books (that's 3 better than Frankfurt) and loads of publishers bags (which I kind of collect) and other neat freebies :D
Canon Tales was a lot of fun and I recommend it to anyone thinking of going to the Fair next year. That's also were I managed to ambush Cory Doctorow and got his card (I want to interview him for my dissertation) so there, I made the day count for something, academics-wise. Of course, I'd had a bit of wine beforehand so I'm afraid I babbled a bit and wasn't very coherent. Oh well, I'm sure he doesn't even remember anymore and as long as I get my interview, who cares?