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The Frankfurt Book Fair 2014: thoughts & innovations

A large blow up book
© Frankfurt Book Fair / Peter Hirth

Having been to the London Book Fair this year, I can tell you my feet were quite unforgiving for several days.

LBF2014 was a tremendously impressive show for many reasons, not least for the fact that it restored my faith in the paperback book buying market. Virginia Woolstencroft of Harper Collins described it as, ‘Impressive as ever, a brilliant hub of literary activity and a great week for all publishers’ and a smattering of instantly recognisable famous faces brought further glittery sparkle to a work event that was anything but work.

We embraced the opportunity to join the Independent Publishers Guild and were overwhelmed by their physical presence. They had member publishing companies oozing from every corner of their enormous hub, all proudly presenting their wares to the world. During an unusually quiet period, I asked one of their team to tell us a bit more about the Frankfurt Book Fair, as we tried to ascertain whether we should book a stand to present our new titles.

We were asked if we thought the square footage of the London Book Fair was substantial and our toes replied with an aching, ‘I should say so’, whereupon we were advised that one catches a bus to get from one side of the Frankfurt Book Fair to the other.

FBF2014 is expected to welcome over 275,000 visitors to 7,275 exhibitors from around the world and weaving amongst them will be some 9,300 bloggers and journalists. A couple of their focal points will be children’s and young adult media and also the arts and fiction. They’ll also explore all the usual suspects including the diverse and complex issues that surround rights and key players from around the world will present their wares next to tomorrow’s trend-setters. There will also be knowledgeable representatives discussing licensing amongst other literary topics and there will be cultural contacts from almost 100 countries.Galaxy Tab from Samsung

Rory O’Neill is the marketing director for European Telecommunications Operations at Samsung, who are also the fair’s Innovation Partner.

In a recent interview with Publishers Weekly he said they were looking to deliver some rich and refreshing experiences on new Samsung products via new distribution methods and with new multimedia content and cited comic reading as a great example. He also indicated that hardware manufacturers are still speculating as to how future generations are going to want to interact with reading material and perhaps more importantly, the ways they’ll want to share their thoughts and experiences on social media platforms, perhaps utilising video as a means to do so.

I remain confident of three things:-

Firstly, the coming decade will see a multitude of whizzy electronic virtual reading devices leech into the market, all boasting definitive credentials of being the be all and end all.

Secondly, you are still highly likely to find the richest of all reading experiences whilst your nose is firmly pressed between the pages of an actual book.

Finally, German chiropodists will do a roaring trade next week.

Happy (reading) days.

The Team