Frankfurt 2007: A mixed mood

<p>Frankfurt 2007 and the mood is mixed. At the top of the business, the big boys will tell you, off the record of course, that it is a bit of a flat year, steady as she goes, no dynamite books this year.&nbsp; <br />
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Move down to the smaller players and they are generally far more upbeat. The simple reason perhaps is that for them Frankfurt's real beauty is the thousand chances of the serendipitous meeting that can change their whole business. A few substantial rights deals in overseas markets, with publishers they would struggle to meet in any other context, and all their Frankfurt bills and more are paid. <br />
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For the big boys, those bills must be pretty hefty. Some of the stands are pretty palatial, with Penguin, Random and Hachette all big enough to get lost in, and that is before you factor in the costs of all the people, transport and logistics. At this top level there is very much a see and be seen element, with rival m.d.s nodding to each other in the aisles,&nbsp; but for the big international groups it can also make a lot of sense just to get so many of their senior managers together in one place at least once a year. <br />
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Today's conversation was dominated by Doris Lessing's surprise win of the Nobel: a few long faces at the Random stand, where their man Philip Roth had been the hot favourite. Despite her African connections, the Brits are claiming a second win in three years, after Pinter's of 05, and HarperCollins (Lessing's publisher) were understandably cock-a-hoop.</p>
<p><img width="268" height="178" align="left" src="/documents/UserContributed/image/Bookseller%20Images/harperlessingpic.jpg" alt="" /></p>
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<p>The other topic on everyone's lips was the surprise absence of Caroline Michel. For a woman who famously went by motorbike to avoid the transport hassles at 'ExHell', she must have had a pretty good reason for not being here.&nbsp; I suspect it is something more than the colour of the floortiles clashing with her lipstick, but, whatever the reason, it's a smaller Frankfurt without her.</p>