Reporting Live, from the Frankfurt Book Fair

[Andy sent this dispatch from Germany.]

The 2007 edition of the Frankfurt Book Fair got underway Wednesday in Germany with its usual bustle of activity. Several thousand publishers from all over the world have set up their displays—some very grand indeed, some more modest. IVP is in the latter category, but we are still very busy with half-hour appointments scheduled back to back all three days we are here, sometimes doubling up.

I am here with our rights manager, Ellen Hsu, who handles most of the heavy lifting—at least in regard to appointments with international publishers. I work mostly with British publishers and also take on others so Ellen can have a break.

Frankfurt is a bit of a mystery to those outside the publishing industry. It is the oldest and largest book fair in the world, hailing back to just a few years after Gutenberg. Oddly to many, publishers don’t sell books here. Instead, they sell rights—translation rights, periodical rights, movie rights, etc. So it is mostly publishers doing business with other publishers.

For IVP, we will meet with sixty publishers and literary agents, looking to sell our rights and perhaps buy some from others.

The big news here is the possibility of a train strike on Thursday. Over two hundred thousand people usually attend in the course of the Fair. So without mass transit, I can only imagine the gridlock on the streets and the impossibility of getting a taxi—a difficult prospect when everything is running well.

Stay tuned for the latest updates.