Frankfurt: Dispatches from Hall 8

<p><em>Alison Flood writes</em>:</p>
<p>It's hard to see how the absolute shambles of Frankfurt Book Fair on the Tuesday before it starts will ever be cleared away in time for Wednesday morning's opening. But again, somehow they managed it, and the carnage of Tuesday:</p>
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<p>has been replaced by:</p>
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<p>It hasn't only been the stand organisers who've been busy for the last week--there's also been a <a href="http://cde.cerosmedia.com/1U470ba0e5ad5dc012.cde/page/2">flood of &quot;Frankfurt&quot; rights deals in the run up to the event</a>. HarperCollins appears to be topping the list of big spenders with three six-figure deals, for Benjamin Mee's <em>We Bought a Zoo</em>, Katy Regan's debut and Debra Adelaide's <em>A Household Guide to Dying</em>.<br />
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The second Darfur memoir in as many weeks, Daoud Ibrahim Hari's T<em>he Translator</em>, has been snapped up by Viking; the deal follows Hodder's acquisition of Halima Bashir's <em>Tears of the Desert</em>, the first memoir from a woman from south Darfur.<br />
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The rights market does seem hot this year-and there's a memoir from the legend that is Sir Roger Moore on offer from Lesley Pollinger which should provoke some action--but you have to wonder how much actual money changes hands over the tables in the LitAg centre. The world of email means lots of the business is done pre-Frankfurt--and the number of &quot;Frankfurt&quot; deals announced before the fair even begins is growing each year. In a way it's a shame because some really exciting books--debut <em>Beat the Reaper</em> by Josh Bazell which Heinemann won in an auction for example--become smaller stories for us because of the sheer number of deals happening.<br />
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Having said that translation deals are already starting to flood in, with Little, Brown getting a &quot;substantial&quot; pre-empt for Dutch rights in Cherie Blair's memoir--who would have thought the Dutch would be interested?<br />
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With more than 180,000 trade visitors expected over the course of the fair, the organisers admit the &quot;capacity of the halls&quot; has been &quot;exhaust[ed] to the maximum&quot;. And as people streamed in this morning--some looking the worse for wear after a heavy night last night (the Hessicher Hof as usual the prime culprit)--it's hard to guess what's next--how will the organisers continue to grow the fair's size?<br />
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One big change this year has been the implementation of a no-smoking ban . . . but those hoping for a smoke-free atmosphere could be disappointed. Smokers were spotted yesterday evening around the outskirts of Hall Eight and we'll be keeping a close watch to see if they reappear today.<br />
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So far everyone's talking about the possible Amazon e-reader, the Kindle, and if it'll launch during the fair. I'm dubious, but an Amazon session this afternoon promises 'a presentation on Amazon's digital offerings' so we'll see and will let you know.<br />
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Everyone's also curious about who from agency PFD will be out here, <a href="http://www.thebookseller.com/pfd">given all the shenanigans in the UK</a>. The LitAg centre is just starting to fill up so we'll report back later.</p>
<p>You can read the reports from yesterday in the <a href="http://cde.cerosmedia.com/1U470ba0e5ad5dc012.cde/page/2">digital version of The Bookseller Daily</a>, distributed over the next three days at the fair.<br />
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For now, it's back to Hall Eight.</p>