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Publishers hail 'more focused' digital Frankfurt
10.10.10 | Frankfurt News Team
Frankfurt 2010 has been dominated by digital, with a greater level of deal making despite fewer people attending. That was the publishing industry's call on this year's fair as it drew to a close this afternoon.
Faber sales and marketing director Will Atkinson said that this year, there was “more action”. “People are coming for a day or two days, there’s less fun, more work. It feels like the hangover was last year—there is much more optimism this year.”
With the Tools of Change and StoryDrive conferences, a programme crammed with digital themes, anticipation about Google Editions and ongoing debates about digital rights, it was clear there was an overarching theme. Digital has been talked about for years, Canongate m.d. Jamie Byng noted, but the difference this year is the change of attitude. “A way forward is emerging on digital—the book isn’t going away any time soon. The doom and gloom around digital is lifting,” he said.
Jason McKenzie, sales controller at Harlequin Mills & Boon, agreed: “Walking around, you can feel people are more interested in digital and there are bespoke digital stands that you perhaps wouldn’t have seen a few years ago.”
Jane Friedman, c.e.o. and co-founder of the digitally focused Open Road said: “For us it’s been fantastic. I’m using Frankfurt as an entrepreneur. We’re a brand new company with a brand new model.”
FBF director Juergen Boos said the fair had more digital niche strands and mini-conferences than ever, because “we have to mirror what is happening in the trade”. He believes the trend will continue. “I think this is what’s going to happen in five to 10 years. It’s not going to be one book fair, but thousands of little book fairs or conferences.”
Boos said Hall 8 and the agent centre were “quite busy” compared to earlier this year. “This could be for a couple of reasons. There was an ash cloud when the London Book Fair was on and so a lot of people couldn’t meet in London. Also, the publishers in the UK did have some serious challenges over the past two years, but the market is recovering now.”