The book trade is predicting a "more buoyant" Frankfurt Book Fair (10th–14th October) this year, with digital and erotica expected to be major talking points.
Caroline Michel at agency PFD said: "Last year was very much a transition. The year before that was doom and gloom, and this year I think will be a lot more buoyant and interesting. I've seen increased flexibility on e-book royalties from US publishers and I think that has to happen here—that will be a talking point."
She added: "There will definitely be more varied digital rights sales this year. Italy and the rest of Europe are catching up with e-books."
Brazil and China are likely to be the liveliest territories for foreign rights, though Pan Macmillan rights director Harriet Sanders said they were not uniformly interested in digital rights. However, Quercus editor-in-chief Jon Rowley said concern over the high street "having so few trading partners" would prove a bigger talking point than digital developments.
Little, Brown deputy publisher David Shelley said the key talking point "has got to be erotic fiction—I think there will be a lot of discussion as to how long the trend will last, and how it will be sustained". Sheil Land agent Piers Blofield agreed, adding: "The other question is, if readers don't want that, what do they want?"