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Frankfurt - the global market place for content?

8 October 2007

This week the focus of the international book world will be on Frankfurt and its famous book fair, still the largest and most influential one on the planet. Starting on Wednesday 10th October, more than 7,000 exhibitors from over 100 countries will bring their staff to Frankfurt for several days of frenzied meetings and schmoozing.

The Fair is important for anyone with any interest in international publishing and a must for the international rights community of rights managers, agents and editors. Sales people are also busy, but editors get less of a look-in these days as large publishing companies have reined in their staff to prevent them spending a fortune on the 'book of the fair' - usually something which is acquired for far too much money in an atmosphere of fevered competition.

Frankfurt is still a great place to meet contacts from across the world, and generally regarded as the best time to make major announcements about big books and company acquisitions. Perhaps the current credit crisis amongst the world's banks will act to slow potential acquisitions this year, but there are persistent rumours that Amazon plan to announce their new 'Kindle' e-book reader and a major e-book programme. If they do make an announcement we'll report on that next week.

Catalan Culture was chosen as the guest of honour this year, a surprising decision which raised hackles in Spain. There's an Africa Day on Saturday 13th October, with a focus on the African Renaissance and events about the relationship of African literature to listening and writing. Amongst 2,500 other events there is a big seminar on the topic of the moment, The Quest for Global Digital Sales: New Relationships and New Revenues.

LitCam (the Frankfurt Book FairWorld's largest trade fair for books; held annually mid-October at Frankfurt Trade Fair, Germany; First three days exclusively for trade visitors; general public can attend last two. Literacy Campaign) has a meeting about the campaign to promote better educational opportunities for all. There's also the Forum for Film and TV and the Comics Centre.

Frankfurt isn't really for writers, even if what happens there is crucial to the book world. The official website has little real information about the fair although this page may yield more of interest once the fair starts. Bloggers will be working from the new Web 2.0 Living Room which doesn't seem to be in place yet.

There's no doubt that, with all of this and also its involvement in the book fairs in Cape Town Abu Dhabi, the Frankfurt Book Fair is trying to broaden its appeal and secure its position as the global market place for content.

Inside Publishing: The Frankfurt Book Fair

2007 International Book Fairs