Frankfurt Book Fair Draws Record Numbers
If you like books, attending the Frankfurt Book Fair is like being a kid in an unimaginably enormous candy store. It is the publishing industry’s largest annual book fair—and this year’s event, held Oct. 4-8 in Frankfurt, Germany, showcased 382,000 titles, including 112,000 new publications.
And even if you’re used to walking, wearing comfortable shoes is a must. Aisle after aisle filled 13 exhibition halls, showing the products of more than 7,200 exhibitors. Fair organizers say the event, which is in its 58th year, attracted the largest number of exhibitors ever.
Fortunately, shuttle buses that ran from hall to hall helped ease the burden on attendees’ feet.
The ability to speak more than one language is a plus, too. More than 100 countries were represented at the fair— from Germany to Russia to China to Japan to Thailand, India, Israel, France, Australia and Brazil—and more than 286,000 trade visitors from around the globe journeyed to Frankfurt to attend.
Organizers said that the number of U.S. publishers exhibiting dropped just slightly from previous years, but among those who did make the trek to Germany were some of the biggest names in the business: Random House Inc., Simon and Schuster Inc., Harcourt Inc., HarperCollins International, The Globe Pequot Press, Hachette Book Group, Houghton Mifflin Company, Zondervan, Thomas Nelson Publishers and the list goes on and on.
Likewise, many other major players in the industry had a presence, including Barnes and Noble, Ingram International Inc., Google Inc., and Microsoft Windows Live Search, as did many international publishing technology and solutions providers.
Many booths were elaborate and enormous, and one booth even had an on-site “spa” built into it with an ornate massage area inviting tired passers-by in for a quick pause of relaxation.
One thousand authors were on hand, and more than 2,500 events were scheduled, including book signings, readings, performances, discussions and more. While the “Calendar of Events” was a little cumbersome to navigate (it was a 500-plus-page book), attendees also could find a number of educational seminars held during the Book Fair. Topics ranged from region-specific topics, such as “The Basic Trends of Development of Fiction in Modern Russia,” to a variety of business topics for international audiences, such as “Rights and Licenses for Beginners” and “Distribution Secrets in Key Markets.”
While foot traffic is heavy in most aisles, executives from a number of U.S. publishing companies say the Frankfurt Book Fair is all about appointments made in advance with the international marketplace, and the event is heralded as the biggest forum for international rights and licensing deals.
Organizers say about 74,000 members of the general public were admitted when the doors were opened to the public on Saturday morning.
Next years Frankfurt Book Fair (Frankfurt-Book-Fair.com) will be held Oct. 10–14, 2007.