Visitor numbers down 0.8% at subdued Frankfurt

<p>Publishers have talked of a quiet and subdued opening to this year&rsquo;s Frankfurt Book Fair, with &quot;interesting&quot; rather than &quot;big&quot; titles to the fore, and independent publishers seizing the opportunity from so few editors attending from the bigger publishers. </p><p>After a chilly first day in Frankfurt, official figures released by the fair showed the number of visitors dropped to 45,753, compared with the 46,108 people who came to the fair on its first day in 2008 - a drop of 0.8%. But in Hall 8 Faber sales and marketing director Will Atkinson estimated that fair attendance was down around 20%. &quot;People are coming, meeting and then going away again, so there is far less room to have corridor chats or pick up on something in a conversation - there&#39;s no room for spontaneity,&quot; said Atkinson.</p><p>Orion deputy c.e.o. Malcolm Edwards agreed. &quot;It has been very quiet on the editorial side&mdash;not many have come from the States,&quot; he said. Scout Louise Allen-Jones said there was &quot;definitely . . . less material around than usual and there are definitely far fewer Americans than there have ever been, and fewer editors&quot;.<br /><br />Penguin chairman and c.e.o. John Makinson acknowledged that there was a paucity of editors at the fair, but said the event had been &quot;very busy&quot;, as did Canongate&#39;s Jamie Byng, who called it &#39;busy but hugely enjoyable&quot;. &quot;There isn&rsquo;t a big editorial presence from Penguin, but DK has [one] as it is the centre of the year for them,&quot; said Makinson.</p><p>Mark Streatfeild, international sales director at Orion, said his team &#8232;had &quot;sold lots to Eastern Europe and the Far East&quot;, but that there had&#8232; &quot;been lots of last minute drop outs from the Middle East&quot;. &quot;I think &#8232;they have been hit quite hard by the recession out there,&quot; he said.</p><p>With Mandela&rsquo;s diaries emerging early on as &quot;book of the fair&quot;, the &#8232;rights centre has been kept busy with a host of deals, with Allen-Jones saying that independent UK publishers were &quot;capitalising on the fact that there are fewer editors from the bigger houses&quot; at the fair to snap up exciting new titles.</p><p><a href="" target="_blank">The Bookseller Daily at Frankfurt Day Two </a></p>