Monday, October 19, 2009

Frankfurt Book Fair 2009

I attended the Frankfurt Book Fair on Friday and Saturday. I live in town, quite close, so wanted to see it.

What it is--this is a rights fair. There were about 7000 exhibitors this year. Publishers and editors and agents and scouts meet and make deals, or buy and sell rights to publish a book in another country. The site of the trade show consists of many huge buildings, most with two or three floors. It is so big that shuttle buses run continuously. It is over a mile from one side to the other.

Here is a view (taken from the floor above) of part of the German children's book section-- Hall 3.0. You can see H and J. The depth is hard to see. This isn't the biggest hall, but it is still huge. It wasn't crowded at this time on Friday, but on Saturday I couldn't even shove through the crowds. I left and went to another hall.

Almost all the booths had books lining the walls. Some booths were small, about 8 by 12 feet, with a table in it. Other were massive, with over 50 tables. This is a not a fair where ARCs (advanced readers copies) are handed out.

I spent most of my time in the US, British and Canadian hall, and the hall with German children’s books. I also looked at publishers from all over the world, stopping at many booths with children’s books.

Most US publishers had their children’s books in a good location, near the front, to catch people’s eyes. Plus there were many publishers who specialize in children’s books, like Peachtree, Candlewick and Usborne.

The French children’s publishers, l'ecole des loisirs and Pastel, had the best designed booth that I saw. It caught my attention from the back side. See the paned windows, with books in each pane.

The front also looks great.

I fell in love with some books from a variety of publishers. (I hope they sold some rights to US publishers.)

Here are a few my favorite foreign publishers that I'd never heard of before-

Kalandraka is based in Spain and publishes award winning picture books. A Big Dream caught my eye, as well as several other books. (The book is translated into English but I could only find a photo of it in one spot on the internet, and that site is in Spanish.) I wanted to buy some of these books for myself to take home and read. Some of these titles would sell very well in the United States.

Mladinska knjiga Zalozba in Slovenia has lovely picture books. I wandered back to their booth several times, just to enjoy the book covers. They have some great illustrators.

Amarin Printing from Thailand. This company has some very nice books. I think some would fit very well in the US market. I particularly liked the Preecha Taothong's illustrations in The Brave Blue Crab. I actually bought a couple books on Saturday with gorgeous illustrations. (Sometimes the publishers don’t want to carry the books home with them so will sell them or give them away.) The books I bought are in Thai, but a translation was taped in.

I’m excited to attend the Bologna Children’s Book Fair in March, and look forward to the Frankfurt Book Fair 2010.

More photos are on Angela Cerrito's blog and on my livejournal blog.


Shari said...

Wow, what an experience! So many books!! (Sarah, I was thinking you still lived in China... I'm behind on things, apparently!) I'm glad you had the opportunity to take in the fair. :)

Sarah Blake Johnson said...

Shari, I moved from China to Frankfurt a few months ago.
The fair was very cool. It is convenient that I live here, plus with my VCFA student card, I can get in on the closed to public days.

Kathy Cowley said...

Wow, that's awesome. I guess I didn't get a sense of the sheer size of it before I saw the photos.

Sarah Blake Johnson said...

The size is huge. The interior of one hall would hold a football stadium, and the others would hold a football playing field plus some. Then there were multiple stories!

The continuous buses shuttling people. The moving sidewalks. It is just immense!

Anne M Leone said...

So nice to see what it actually looked it--what a treat! Thanks for sharing this.

Marjorie said...

I brought a gorgeous Thai book back from the Bologna Book Fair last year - I treasure it, even though I can't read it - though I was lucky to find out about it -

Sarah Blake Johnson said...

Anne, glad you liked the photos.

Marjorie--wow. What great photos. I love the covers that you posted!!!
Also, I love your blog. It is cool.

If you come back to Frankfurt, be sure to contact me before you come. I live here and would love to meet you, and help you in any way I can.