Frankfurt: is everyone enjoying the sunshine?

Neill Denny and Ed Nawotka
News - Publishing Friday, 12 October 2018

Exhibitors are happy, but report that the halls are quieter


The wall-to-wall sunshine all week in Frankfurt fashioned a positive backdrop for the fair, but reactions to the event itself were more mixed.

Michael Bhaskar, publishing director of Canelo, said: "The general feeling has been a mixture of bullish confidence and strange unease."

Nic Cheetham, publisher at Head of Zeus, said: "It's been busy, our busiest ever fair - I've seen a lot of interesting Chinese publishing for example," while Suzanne Baboneau, md of adult publishing at S&S UK, said: "All the deals come before the fair - as usual." Ian Chapman, ceo and publisher, said: "The fair feels quiet to me. There are no ‘big books' any more, and any big deals are contrived by the agents holding a book back."

Transworld publisher Bill Scott-Kerr said: "The weather makes a massive difference, there are loads of people out enjoying the sun in the courtyard, which could contribute to the feeling that the fair [in the halls] is a bit quieter."

David Shelley, UK ceo of Hachette, said the fair was "uneventful and feels quiet. But that has made more time for conversations, for talking about trends in the market - audio, for example, is becoming a theme."

Jane Harris, md of children's trade at Bonnier, said: "We have had a very busy fair for children's fiction, with a lot of interest. There is money in the market for the right things. But the fair in general seems a bit quieter, and there are not many Americans."

Jeremy Trevathan, publisher at Macmillan, said: "It's been a bit like last year: quiet, upbeat, with lots of good connections. There hasn't been anything really significant to buy – which may have contributed to that feeling of bonhomie."

Johanna Ingalls, managing editor of Akashic Books, Brooklyn, said: "The mood of the fair has been overall positive. There seem to be fewer people around, but that's not a bad thing. It's less frantic."

Kevin Chapman, at Upstart Press, New Zealand, said: "The mood seems quietly confident, while the corridors are more quiet, which is fine with me: I get more work done."

Llana Suppressa, of Atlantyca, a children's publisher from Italy, said: "It's going very well for us. Frankfurt is always a milestone of the year for us. We are seeing a big bump in requests for middle-grade books, particularly stand-alone titles of high quality."

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