Oratia Media was back for our fourth successive year at the Frankfurt Book Fair, which concluded on the weekend.
There were way fewer publishers on the New Zealand collective stand than during our Guest of Honour year in 2012, but for the 14 of us who came back, the benefits of that programme were tangible. We had a big open stand in a good location, well put together by the Publishers Association of New Zealand team, and I really felt able to build on last year’s profile.
Our section on the New Zealand collective stand in Hall 8
Among my 50 or so meetings were a good number with German publishers, kicking off with a rousing session of beer and pretzels on the Tuesday evening at the BuchMarkt magazine stand. (See Herr Mayer’s column - http://www.buchmarkt.de/content/56406-der-messe-mayer-tag-1-von-6.htm) Relations with our German counterparts have never been healthier.
The unofficial opening party for the fair with German book trade magazine BuchMarkt
Overall visitor numbers at the fair were down some -2% on 2012, to just over 275,000, however. These are times of change and challenge for the global publishing industry, with big challenges in some of our key overseas markets like Italy.
That notwithstanding, the tone of our meetings was mostly positive, especially with US and Canadian publishers, who have already been through a lot of the digital changes that are now reshaping book markets in the rest of the world. There was good interest in our children’s and Māori authors.
Saturday brought a landmark for us, signing a two-year distribution agreement for Libro International books in North America with Virginia-based International Publishers Marketing. We’re looking forward to working with Jane Graf and her team from April 2014.
Libro International books on display
I had a good few meetings with publishers from this year’s Guest of Honour, Brazil, starting with the wonderful Gisela Zincone of Gryphus Editora – we’ve agreed that our 2014 translation of Gryphus’ children’s classic Branquinho o Dognauta will be entitled Snowy the Doganaut. Some lovely illustrated kids’ books are coming out of Brazil.
There wasn’t quite the buzz expected around Brazil, due in part to their stand’s location deep in Hall 5.1, and also the boycott by major authors including Paulo Coelho. No doubting, though, that this is a growing market and one we’re going to continue to develop.
And as the public flooded in on the Saturday and Sunday, it was time to beat a weary retreat for a last few drinks at the Frankfurter Hof – leaving the Messe to the colourfully attired German cosplay teens. Auf wiedersehn till 2014!
Come the weekend and the cosplay kids were out in force around the fair