World's biggest publishers' fair eyes safe future for books

Oct 11, 2011
A stand attendant arranges books at the booth of German dictionaries publisher Duden on the eve of the launch the Frankfurt Book Fair. The world's biggest book fair, which opened Tuesday, wants to put paid to fears for the survival of the book in its traditional, bound form in the face of its digital rival's growing popularity.

The world's biggest book fair, which opened Tuesday, wants to put paid to fears for the survival of the book in its traditional, bound form in the face of its digital rival's growing popularity.

While electronic and other gadgets have been all the talk of the Frankfurt Book Fair in recent years, industry movers and shakers say the future of ebooks and is safe.

"The printed book and the digital book will both be at the centre of the publishing place and the art of publishing," Gottfried Honnefelder, president of the German Booksellers' and Publishers' Association, said.

"In the coming years, they will come on together and not eat each other up," he told a news conference in this western German city ahead of the official opening of the five-day fair.

Although the ebook market in Germany is still very small, he said it was expected to jump from its current share of about one percent to between five and 10 percent in five years.

At a recent conference on the publishing industry's future up to 2025, participants had forecast growth for the book market, he said, adding however that sales were down by two to three percent so far this year.

The challenges thrown up by the upheaval in the book world will be a central theme at the fair, including for authors who once just had to deal with a publisher but must now also negotiate TV, film and gaming rights to their works.

Buying and selling of rights to works has soared by 30 percent in the last seven years, according to fair chief Juergen Boos, who urged authors and publishers to draw up that embrace multimedia interest.

"One has to consider in what way the book will be interactive," Boos told the news conference.

Experts and stars of film, the computer game industry and music world are also scheduled to take part in discussions on the convergence of media and its future landscape.

Iceland, as guest of honour, will shine a spotlight on its literature, past and present, during the showcase of some 7,500 exhibitors which opens to industry insiders on Wednesday and to the public on Saturday.

"Iceland is a nation which always focused on story telling. We think something has not happened as long as it hasn't been written down on paper," Icelandic President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson told the fair's inauguration ceremony.

About 40 Icelandic authors will attend, including internationally known crime writers, Arnaldur Indridason and Yrsa Sigurdardottir, while a new German translation of the 10th and 11th century Icelandic Sagas will also feature.

Describing Iceland as a literary "giant", German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said "art and culture mirror the state of a society".

"Iceland has not only a big literary tradition but a living and exciting current literary scene," he told the opening ceremony, adding that about 200 Icelandic titles would appear in German during the fair.

Explore further: Voice, image give clues in hunt for Foley's killer

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Multimedia creates the buzz at Frankfurt book fair

Oct 05, 2010

The world's biggest book fair was inaugurated on Tuesday, with an increased number of exhibitors expected to focus on the digital and multimedia sectors that are rapidly transforming the industry.

'Enhanced ebooks' take giant book fair by storm

Oct 06, 2010

Is it a book? Is it a film? Is it a game? Or all three? Publishers and authors at the world's biggest book fair are battling to entice a new generation of readers with the latest multimedia products.

Book industry meets over uncertain future

May 30, 2009

Publishers, booksellers and authors are holding a major annual convention in New York this week as the industry reels from a global recession and readers migrate to digital formats.

Japanese publishers organise to discuss e-books

Mar 24, 2010

Japan's top book publishers Wednesday formed an alliance to harness the growing e-book market as Amazon's Kindle and e-book readers by Sony and other companies are set to battle for market share.

Recommended for you

Voice, image give clues in hunt for Foley's killer

Aug 21, 2014

Police and intelligence services are using image analysis and voice-recognition software, studying social media postings and seeking human tips as they scramble to identify the militant recorded on a video ...

Smartphone-loss anxiety disorder

Aug 21, 2014

The smart phone has changed our behavior, sometimes for the better as we are now able to connect and engage with many more people than ever before, sometimes for the worse in that we may have become over-reliant on the connectivity ...

Why conspiracy theorists won't give up on MH17 and MH370

Aug 20, 2014

A huge criminal investigation is underway in the Netherlands, following the downing of flight MH17. Ten Dutch prosecutors and 200 policemen are involved in collecting evidence to present at the International Criminal Court in the Hague. The inv ...

Here's how you find out who shot down MH17

Aug 20, 2014

More than a month has passed since Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crashed with the loss of all 298 lives on board. But despite the disturbances at the crash site near the small town of Grabovo, near Donetsk ...

Assange talks of leaving embassy, sowing confusion

Aug 18, 2014

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange sowed confusion Monday with an announcement that appeared to indicate he was leaving his embassy bolt hole, but his spokesman later clarified that that would not happen unless ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

not rated yet Oct 11, 2011
Anything that interrupts, delays, or interferes with the authors personal storytelling to me, is a bother.