Richard Charkin’s Frankfurt, Day Four: ‘Suffering’

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The ‘essential elements of the Frankfurter Buchmesse experience,’ Richard Charkin says, come along with some suffering.

At the Jerusalem International Book Forum breakfast during Frankfurter Buchmesse 2022, JIBF’s Sharon Katz, left speaks. JIBF director Yoel Makov and Albert Bonnier are at table. Image: Publishing Perspectives, Richard Charkin

By Richard Charkin | @RCharkin

‘I’m Suffering From Too Much of Everything’
This, October 21, is my last day before returning to the (temporarily, I hope) leaderless (dis-)United Kingdom.

Richard Charkin

I’m suffering from too much of everything. Too many meetings, too many debates, too many sausages, too much dry Riesling. But the suffering is tempered by enjoyment, productivity, friendship, and jokes, all essential elements of the Frankfurter Buchmesse experience.

Yesterday started with breakfast with the organizers and alumni of the Jerusalem International Book Forum. The next event is in 2024. With the support of the Holtzbrinck family, young publishers can attend, learn, mix with literary figures, and enjoy one of the most beautiful and culturally important cities in the world. Do make suggestions for speakers and learners to the organizers.

Walking from the breakfast reminded me that Frankfurt does have some green spaces with gorgeous autumn colors.

Stefan von Holtzbrinck

The highlights of the day were the Holtzbrinck formal lunch and a totally informal supper.

At the lunch, Stefan Von Holtzbrinck reminded us all of the importance of publishing accurately. In a world in which falsehoods abound, it’s more than ever necessary for readers to be able to trust what they read and that’s part of our job.

The evening was less serious but no less international.

What happens when publishers from Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, Poland, the United Kingdom, and United States get together?—Answers will go to my editor at Publishing Perspectives.

From left at dinner are Cecilia Andrade; Jordi Nadal; Jean-Daniel Belfond; Gianlucca Mazzitelli; Aleksandra Saluga; Richard Charkin; and Juan Mil. Image: Publishing Perspectives

Meanwhile, Jordi Nadal was still basking in the reflected glory from chatting with his king.

And the evening finished with the culmination of my rapprochement with the world of literary agents—a late-night drink with Jonny Geller of Curtis Brown.

Bon weekend, tout le monde.

Richard Charkin, right, with Jonny Geller, CEO of London’s Curtis Brown Group. Image: Publishing Perspectives


As Publishing Perspectives readers know, Richard Charkin, our columnist and an international advisory board member of Frankfurter Buchmesse, is giving us updates on his impressions this week during Frankfurt 2022.

Our Frankfurter Buchmesse Show Magazine now is out—in print on the Messe Frankfurt for trade visitors and exhibitors, and here in a free digital download for our world readership online.

The magazine has extensive coverage of issues and trends that are leading discussions and debates at the trade show this year, along with interviews, profiles, and commentary in this strongly attended Frankfurt year. Click here for your download (PDF).

More on Frankfurter Buchmesse is here, more on this year’s Guest of Honor Spain is here, more on guest of honor programs and markets is here, and more on international book fairs is here, more on industry statistics is here.

Publishing Perspectives is the global media partner of the International Publishers Association.

Join us monthly for Richard Charkin’s latest column. More coverage of his work from Publishing Perspectives is here.

About the Author

Richard Charkin

Richard Charkin is a former president of the IPA and the UK PA and for 11 years was executive director of Bloomsbury Publishing Plc. He has held many senior posts at major publishing houses, including Macmillan, Oxford University Press, Current Science Group, and Reed Elsevier. He is former president of The Book Society and non-executive director of Institute of Physics Publishing. He is currently a board member of Bloomsbury China’s Beijing joint venture with China Youth Press, a member of the International Advisory Board of the Frankfurt Book Fair, Bonnier Books UK’s Advisory Board and is a senior adviser to nkoda.com. He is a non-executive director of Liverpool University Press, and Cricket Properties Ltd as well as founding his own business, Mensch Publishing. He lectures on the publishing courses at London College of Communications, City University, and University College London. Richard has an MA in Natural Sciences from Trinity College, Cambridge; was a Supernumerary Fellow of Green College, Oxford; attended the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School; and is a visiting professor at the University of the Arts London.

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