The Book is dead, long live the book

Category: On Publishing Comments: No comments

I was at the Frankfurt Bookfair about two weeks ago. First time in 13 years. I started out in publishing after high school and went every year at the end of the 90s. Then I switched careers and the rest is basically history. Now I had the chance to go back there.

In recent years the trend has been about how self publishing is this big new thing and “traditional” publishing is doomed and what not. Publishing is not doomed. Not with one bestseller after the other. Not with over 7.000 exhibitors from all over the world at the fair this year.

By the end of the day my legs were killing me, but it was worth it. I even got a massage during it – which was necessary.

For the industry, this event is about making deals. So hall 6.1 is where its at – its the hall where all the agents have their booth. As a normal visitor you can’t get in without an appointment. But I would have loved to be fly on the wall at some of the meetings that went on in there. Maybe one day one of my books will be negotiated there and sold to foreign publishers.

These events usually make me want to go back into publishing. But then reality sets in and I realize I would never be able to do the job in publishing I would want – fiction editor. So i console myself with the thought, that someday I will be back in publishing – from the writers side of things. For that I will have to write of course – which I haven’t done a whole lot of lately. I am still hoping that in keeping this blog semi-regular I can move the motivation over into fiction writing.

I went to Frankfurt on one of the days where the fair isn’t open to the public – so the crowds were manageable. I wouldn’t have wanted to go on saturday or sunday, when thousands of people would clog up the lanes between booths to get a glimpse at their favorite author. When I was there I saw Jussi Adler-Olsen, the Danish crime novelist. But since I have never read any of his work, I wasn’t standing in line to get his autograph. Other than that there weren’t many authors walking around the fair or signing stuff – the big crowds would come a day later.

It is not a fair to buy stuff, though. Many booths had signs saying something along the lines of “Books will only be sold on Sunday”. Obviously the publishers didn’t want to diminish their display material prematurely. So all I was able to grab was a few industry trade magazines and a few brochures.

Overall it was nice to be back at the fair and I guess I will be back in 2014.

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