We've spent three days at the London Book Fair, and the talk of our stand was the happy taking on of the Maia Press by Arcadia Books. Jane and Maggie will still continue to find fabulous books, edit and design them, and they had a very fruitful six years working as a partnership.
We were on the Central Books stand this year, and it was good to be with old friends and meet new people there. We were rushed off our feet with meetings, and hopefully the enthusiasm with which our books were greeted by Waterstone's will turn into good orders. We had particularly good feedback for CHARITY SHOPPING by Lettice Wilkinson, which will be stocked in the UK Travel section for all those holidaying in the UK this year, and for ALCHEMY ARTS - a new guide to fashion and home style using recycled materials. I have always re used things in our home, and indeed in this business, although it is quite thrilling to be able to afford to use new envelopes and not to print manuscripts out on the back of old sales sheets.
And I cannot sign off without reference to the small 'International Incident' that occurred on the Central Books stand. The stand furniture is an eclectic mix of coloured tables made of metal that are assembled each year by Central staff with a screwdriver before the fair. A meeting was going on just in front of the stand, and one table was sagging rather alarmingly as the lady leant her behind on it, threatening each second to transfer further weight to a rather unstable surface. A member of one eminent publishing house applied first a gentle massage (not noticed) to her posterior, then a gentle prod with two biros simulatenously on each buttock, (also unheeded) and then he gently began removing the table from beneath said behind. Which eventually registered and moved off the table of its own accord. This happened with an audience of around three, and I admit I had to stifle my hysterics up a whole aisle on my way to the next meeting. I am glad to say I arrived composed.