Frankfurter Buchmesse — Books, books and more books
October 9, 2003
FRANKFURT, Germany — There are acres and acres of books at the Frankfurt Book Fair, which bills itself as the largest in the world.
The “Frankfurter Buchmesse,” which opened Wednesday for the publishing industry at the Frankfurt fairgrounds, is open to the public Friday afternoon through Monday. In past years, the book fair has been for window-shopping only. But this year, the books will be on sale to the public from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday.
More than 6,600 exhibitors from 102 countries are presenting books, calendars, postcards and other goods found at a Barnes and Noble.
The book fair is a great place for book lovers to browse, but it’s mostly a place where people in the book industry can do business.
“It’s so we can present ourselves to book sellers, journalists, licensing parties, paperback sellers, audio-book partners, foreign partners, translators, literary agents,” said Markus Desaga of Munich-based Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt.
“The most important point is to make contacts and represent ourselves as a publisher,” said Tatjana Gunthner, a Berlin-based agent of the New York publisher Lukas & Sternberg, whose books include “Sex, Art and the Dow Jones” by Jean-Charles Massera.
“It’s not as much about selling as about contacts.”
There is a star quality to the book fair. On Wednesday, when the fair was open to invited guests and media, camera crews scurried after German big shots such as German-Jewish leader Michel Friedmann and Conservative leader Angela Merkel.
One of the anchors from the “Morgen Magazine” TV show was milling about.
On Thursday, Muhammad Ali was scheduled to make an appearance to promote his new book, “GOAT: Greatest of All Time.” The limited edition, four-inch-thick coffee-table book is selling for 3,000 euros. There is a giant exhibit dedicated to Ali’s book that features hundreds of photos, magazine stories and videos.
In addition to Monday’s book sale, some books will be sold during special readings and discussions groups. Among the scheduled readers are authors Vladimir Kaminer at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Günter Grass at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Frederic Forsyth was among those to participate in a radio show at 10:05 p.m. Friday.
The Frankfurt Book Fair is roomy and spread out, and it takes a full day to see everything. Most of the books are not in English, so finding some might take some digging. There are all kinds of books — fiction and non-fiction, children’s books, picture books.
There are vendors selling sandwiches and coffee, and there are lots of places to sit down.
Each visitor is given a map that explains where everything is, which is a good thing since the book fair takes up four large buildings.