Frankfurt: Still the place to be

<p>The last day of the Fair and everyone has a slightly puffy, twitchy feel after three days of stand schmoozing and three late nights of drinking and talking.<br />
<br />
People are also in a reflective mood, able to put Frankfurt 2007 in context. Here are some of the broad themes:</p>
<ul>
<li>no great book of the fair this year, but the book of the fair phenomenon has been in decline for some years anyway</li>
<li>slightly fewer people in Hall 8, the English-speaking hall, but the quality is better</li>
<li>Frankfurt is a damned expensive place to do business, but it is also worth it</li>
<li>the two weeks run-up to the event is when the action happens, but everyone likes to see the whites of everyone else's eyes at least once a year. No one can afford not to come, not least because it would send out such a bad signal to the rest of the trade</li>
<li>the Germans have less to spend this year but the Italians are really flashing the cash</li>
<li>why are there no retailers here? I find it strange that they don't bother to come along and see what is coming up on the market for them to sell, or at least to get some new ideas for new types of books. One honourable mention though to Kes Nielsen at Amazon, who is here</li>
<li>toilets, and food, in the hall as busy and unpleasant as ever</li>
<li>and, from the ridiculous to the sublime, this is an inspiring and uplifting event, which cheers everyone up and reminds us all of how big the book world is and how vibrant it is.</li>
</ul>
<p>Rumour of the day: Blair deal already sealed with Murdoch/HarperCollins. No evidence yet, and this runs counter to what we have already reported, that he has seen a string of publishers in London. Apparently, he has been curiously unimpressive in these meetings.</p>