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THE FRANKFURT BOOK FAIR – VISIONS OF THE FUTURE AND THE PAST

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                                                                                                                             THE FRANKFURT BOOK FAIR

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The Frankfurt Book Fair (FBF), which took place this year from October 9 to 11 2013, is the largest book fair in the world. It is a bellweather for book publishing. This year, according to The Bookseller:

A total of 275,342 visitors came to this month’s Frankfurt Book Fair over its entire opening period, with 149,921 of those coming from the international publishing business….Last year’s total visitor number was 2% higher at 281,753.

More than 100 countries were represented at the fair this year, with 7,300 exhibitors. Nine thousand journalists were in attendance, with the number of international journalists 17% higher than last year.

THE FUTURE OF BOOKS – “NEW TECTONIC SHIFTS”

The Bookseller further reports that,

Juergen Boos, director of the Frankfurt Book Fair, said that this year’s event had shown ‘new tectonic shifts’ emerging in publishing. ‘We can see the ongoing concentration of the publishing sector, but at the same time there is a plethora of new, creative players, including start-ups, tech specialists, investors and business developers in all the creative industries.’

DO BOOK PUBLISHERS UNDERSTAND PUBLISHING IN THE 21st CENTURY?

On of the most striking contrasts on the present and future state of publishing presented at the FBF, was between the views expressed by the E-Book publisher KOBO and those of Penguin Random House.

First KOBO. As reported by the Bookseller,

kobo-logo

Speaking at FBF, Dave Anderson, vice-president of Vendor Management for Kobo, said: ‘The education sector is the
next big thing for us; it is the next big market that we want to get into. That’s the next stage.’

Anderson said the important question for Kobo was “how” to enter the market. ‘It has to be done right, you can’t just digitise print content; there will obviously need to be different levels of interactivity and there will also need to be differences
between what we do in Brazil, what we do in the US, and what we will do in India.’

Anderson, speaking on KOBO’s presence in Brazil went to say that,

‘Education is the big initiative there. We want to help create a culture of reading and we can then convert that into what we’re doing with education.’

KOBO’s Strategy

Kobo expanded into Brazil last September, partnering with Brazilian bookstore chain Livraria Cultura to sell its e-readers and e-books. Anderson told The Bookseller Daily that the next market it plans to expand into is India.

Now, Penguin Random House, at the FBF.

penguin-random-house

Penguin Random House c.e.o. Markus Dohle has said the biggest task for the publisher is solving the discoverability issue in a world where physical bookshop numbers are declining.

Dohle told an audience at Frankfurt Book Fair … that the combined Penguin Random House needed to focus on increasing its reach to
readers and creating awareness to ensure publishers remain “relevant”.

He said: ‘We must crack the code of discoverability. We want people to choose books in the future, not Netflix. Awareness and communication in a more direct form will create the relevance in publishing going forward . . . Relevance equals reach.’

The Penguin Random House Strategy

Dohle said print would continue to be the main business of Penguin Random House going forward. ‘In the UK, growth rates of digital are flattening out at 25% of our business. But even at [a print/digital split of] 60%/40%, print will always be a big chunk of our business.’

He added: ‘Our basic strategic idea is that print will always be important, while digital will also be important too. We are saying even in 100 years, print will be important . . . that means we continue to invest in print. We call it zigzag strategy. When everyone else moves away from print, we invest in it. They go zig, we go zag.’

 WHAT CENTURY ARE THE IN?

KOBO 2Ist,  Penguin Random House 19th.

See our post “CAN THIS BE BOOKFLIX?”

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