“You are what you read. You read, therefore you are.”

That’s this year’s Frankfurt Book Fair tagline. The event opens today, October 12 and runs until the 16th.  The annual event is a meeting place for the industry’s experts. Be they publishers, booksellers, agents, film producers or authors – each year in October, they all come together and create something new.

With more than 7,300 exhibitors from 100 countries, 299,000 visitors and over 10,000 journalists, the fair is the most important marketplace for books, media, rights and licences worldwide.

The history of the Frankfurt Book Fair dates back to the 15th century, when Johannes Gutenberg first invented movable type – only a few kilometres down the road from Frankfurt.

Frankfurt remained the central and undisputed European book fair city through to the 17th century. In the course of political and cultural upheaval, in the 18th century Leipzig then came to play the part.

In 1949, that early Frankfurt book fair tradition was given a new lease of life: 205 German exhibitors assembled on Sept. 18-23 in Frankfurt’s Paulskirche for the first post-War book fair.

More than 60 trade-fair years later, the Frankfurt Book Fair is the largest of its kind in the world – and the hallmark for global activities in the field of culture.

With the economic downturn in the US and Europe, the publishing industry has much to be worried about too.

Hachette UK rights director Jason Bartholomew said:

“Every year our calendars book up earlier and earlier. Even though the industry is in a shaky period, it does feel like business as usual. Frankfurt is the place to be, and lots of publishers are coming.”

 

Harriet Sanders, rights director at Pan Macmillan, said:

“These are very turbulent times economically, but we’ve been buying some really good world rights properties, so we feel very confident about that as a policy and it has paid dividends for us.

“We’re all having to work smarter and think strategically about world rights in projects with a broad reach. When the home market is so tough, it’s a really important part of income. People are cautious, but if you’ve got the right thing, the money’s there.

There is that mood of caution in the industry but we’re still thrilled that digital is taking center stage.

 

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