By Edward Nawotka, Editor-in-Chief, Publishing Perspectives
Frankfurt could have easily become a story about who is not here: the banned Chinese dissidents, the notable reduction of American and UK publishers, thinner crowds of people partying late into the night at the Hofs—a consequence of their having fled from extortionary accommodation prices in the city center by opting for hotels in the suburbs.
Indeed, there are many familiar friends and faces missing—some the victim of lay-offs so deep it has left my address book looking as if it had been redacted by the CIA—others because of cost-cutting at home. One company managing director of a major UK firm (who wished to remain anonymous) confessed that he cut the staff he was sending to Frankfurt so much, which allowed him to reduce his company’s stand by some two-thirds, that he saved his company an estimated half-a-million pounds in expenses. Still, if that’s a permanent change, it will ultimately be a loss for all of us who come to the fair to mingle, transact business and reconnect.
Even so, what’s exciting about the start of each Frankfurt Book Fair is the sense that almost anything is possible. And for me, at least, serendipity plays an important role: you never know who you’ll meet walking the aisles and what amazing story they have to tell. That’s what make the Fair a little different and a little surprising and even a little special each and every year.