Dates have been set for the 55th annual London International Antiquarian Book Fair. It will run from Thursday, May 24, through Friday, May 26. This year, the fair will be moving to new and larger quarters. It will, naturally enough, still be held in London, but this time at National Hall at Olympia. This is next door to the previously used exhibition space. The fair has outgrown its former quarters.
Commenting on the expanded size of the London Fair, its new Chairman, Brian Lake of Jarndyce Books stated, “We are very pleased about the new location, which will make the 2012 the biggest and best yet; more exhibitors, more books, maps, prints, ephemera & manuscripts in a bigger and better hall providing more space on stands, wider aisles, with ample space to sit and relax in three different cafés.”
While the location is London, this is truly an international fair. Many European booksellers will be exhibiting, others will cross the Atlantic from North America, including both the U.S. and Canada, and there will even be exhibitors coming from as far away as Australia. While the show is managed by England's Antiquarian Booksellers' Association (ABA), it is also promoted by the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers (ILAB).
Additionally, this year the fair will be partnered with the National Trust. The National Trust is a charitable conservation organization founded in the 19th century. They manage everything from historical libraries to conservation lands. Currently, over 2 million books are under the care of libraries managed by the National Trust.
Once again, there will be many activities beyond viewing bookseller exhibits taking place at the fair. There will be a lecture series, the “ABA Road Show,” and guided tours of the fair. Ancillary exhibits will be available, such as one displaying a live demonstration of bookbinding.
Admission to the fair costs £10, but if you register in advance, you may attend for free. Who would want to pass up an offer like that? To register for free admission, simply visit the fair's website at www.olympiabookfair.com. You will see a link to sign up for a free ticket underneath the rotating images.