New-look FBF proves a hit

New-look FBF proves a hit

Though there was no dominant book or theme at this year’s Frankfurt Book Fair, attendees have reported a busy, business-like week, with strong translation rights trading in key categories. Meanwhile, publishers and agents have broadly welcomed the fair’s new layout.

Pan Macmillan publisher Jeremy Trevathan said: “This year, [FBF] is upbeat, it’s buzzy. I certainly don’t miss Hall 8. There hasn’t been a huge book that has dominated things but there is still a lot of business being done, and we have seen a lot of optimism in many foreign rights territories: Germany has been great, and Italy has been very good, somewhat surprisingly. Spanish publishers are not looking too optimistic, however.”

Faber rights manager Lizzie Bishop also said she had seen more translation rights trading: “It feels like people are actually coming to the fair to make deals again, whereas recently it hasn’t been like that. The Scandinavian market seems to be picking up a bit more.”

“There’s a buoyant mood,” agreed Sharon Parker, group chief operating officer at Bonnier. “There are a few regions, such as Brazil, where currency is an issue but the feeling at the fair is very positive. It’s been very ‘let’s do business’ from day one.”

The new layout was a major focus for publishers. Before the fair, Independent Publishers Guild c.e.o. Bridget Shine said FBF would “be challenging” this year as the IPG collective stand was split between Hall 6.2 and 4.2. The experience has been mostly positive, she said, adding: “Our stand on 4.2 is rocking, we are really pleased. Yet while our members on 6.2 are doing a lot of business, splitting publishers between three floors [in Hall 6] has meant a real decline in footfall. I think we’ll look to expand our presence in 4.2 next year.”