However you arrive at the important decision to attend your first international fair, the earlier the decision is made, the better the likelihood of success. Stepping onto the international stage should be part of a long-term plan, a decision made months in advance. According to Catherine Mitchell, this cannot be emphasized enough. It is far better to await the following year’s iteration of a fair than to decide too late and think it will all come together. Sign up for information relating to book fairs and read as much as possible.
Once your attendance has been determined, there are a number of display options to consider. Selecting the right one can be instrumental in reaching your goals. The protocol in rights is that if you are selling, for ease of displaying books and other pre-published material, publishers come to you. If buying, you go to their stand. Choose accordingly from a variety of options.
Canada Stand – Livres Canada Books organizes a collective Canadian publishing stand for three major fairs each year: the London Book Fair, the Bologna Children’s Book Fair, and the Frankfurt Book Fair. Months in advance of each respective fair, an invitation will be sent out to display on the Canada Stand.
For the first-time attendee, being on the Canada Stand can be advantageous for several reasons. First, your space rental or booking is made through a reliable and familiar organization. In addition to basic stand furniture and shelving, your space fee may also provide access to coffee, tea, and water (when available) to assist in your meetings. Often, publishers have walked a good distance from hall to hall, so having something on offer can be greatly appreciated. Finally, Livres Canada Books’ knowledgeable staff are present at the reception desk to field questions about publishers and the industry.
The Canada Stand offers several different display options for publishers, allowing you to choose the one best suited to your needs and budget.
- Publishers can share space with another Canadian publisher and save money, a great option for those making their debut entry into the world market. It’s generally a good idea to do this with a house that publishes a different list from yours for obvious reasons, or one that is at least complementary to your list. A compatible colleague will help ensure the best experience during the fair. Livres Canada Books staff can advise as to which publisher may be a fit.
- Another option is to book your own respective space on the Canada Stand. While this option is more costly, it can be a good choice for publishers whose lists are large enough. This size is generally taken by a publisher that sends at least two staff, often three, with corresponding tables and chairs, to maximize their time.
- Livres Canada Books also offers a Pied-à-Terre option for publishers who are seeking a flexible and cost-effective meeting space. Publishers who select this option share a communal meeting area to do their business, and tables must be reserved for specific time slots. Note that the Pied-à-Terre option generally does not include signage or display shelving for your titles.
The options of space on the Canada Stand vary from one fair to the next—not every option is offered for every fair. The display options depend on the overall size of the collective stand. General table and booth bookings include a meeting space, shelving, storage, signage, Internet access, a listing in the fair directory, exhibitor passes, and a reception desk service. Space on the Canada Stand is offered on a first-come, first-served basis. Book early so as not to miss out. An additional advantage to being on the Canada Stand is that you avoid any fines the fair organizers might otherwise apply if you decide to leave early.
If Frankfurt is your fair of choice, a reception on the Canada Stand is usually held on the first day of the fair, with Canadian and international publishers in attendance. This presents a great additional networking opportunity to socialize with new contacts. Often, there are diplomatic representatives present, which helps send the message that books and their authors and publishers play a significant role in Canadian culture.
Other Collective Stands – ANEL, the Association nationale des éditeurs de livres in Montreal, organizes a collective stand primarily for Quebec publishers but with space open to any Canadian publisher at international book events through Québec Édition, their export committee. With this stand at FBF in the same hall as publishers from France, some publishers alternate their presence between this and the Canada Stand. There is close collaboration between stands, their staff, and the Canadian publishers and professionals.
This text has been excerpted from our market guide Attending an International Book Fair: A Guide for First-Time Participants. Curious to know more about other display options at international fairs? Download the full market guide!