World’s biggest book fair throws open doors

World’s biggest book fair throws open doors

World’s biggest book fair throws open doors

A woman puts books into a shelf in the Brazilian pavilion at the Book Fair in Frankfurt, Germany. AP Photo

The meeting point of world literature, the Frankfurt Book Fair, opened its doors yesterday to book lovers for the 65th edition with participating publishers from around the world, including Turkey.

According to a written statement made by the Turkish Culture and Tourism Ministry, the International Book Fairs Turkey National Organization Committee has prepared a rich program for the world’s biggest fair.

Turkey is being represented in the fair on an area of 350 square meters, 48 square meters of which is devoted entirely to children’s books. Nearly 3,000 books from 200 publishing houses will be on display at the fair.

The Turkish National Stand will also be actively working for the TEDA project, which was initiated by the Culture and Tourism Ministry in 2005 to translate Turkish books into other languages and promote Turkish arts and culture abroad. Books translated within the scope of the project are being displayed in the Turkish stand, and talks have been organized with foreign publishing houses for the project.

The program also includes panel discussions, talks and the presentation of traditional Turkish cuisine. Also, the Turkish National Stand is hosting an exhibition titled “Piri Reis: The father of the Mediterranean - Mystery of 500 Years” as well as a panel on the celebrated Ottoman explorer.

More than 7,000 exhibitors are in the fair city, which annually hosts the five-day showcase of international publishing and its cross-over into film, video games and merchandising.

Brazil guest of honor

Brazil’s literature, arts and culture will take pride of place, represented by around 90 writers, and backed by a $1.2-million government program for 2011-13 for the translation of Brazilian works into other languages.

Faced with competition from bookselling online giants, publishers are facing an “imperative to be big,” organizers of the Frankfurt Book Fair said, pointing to this year’s merger to create Penguin Random House, Agence France-Presse has reported. But the flipside is that start-ups are springing up, with all eyes on the newcomers shaping the future and hunting for a viable business model.

“The dividing line is no longer between old and new, print and e-books, analogue and digital,” said the fair’s director, Jürgen Boos. “Instead it runs between those who have a passion for content and who want to provide access to it, and those who don’t really care what they’re selling.”

The publishing sector is in “relatively good” shape compared to other industries, with children’s and youth literature a driving force, while school books also doing well, Boos told reporters.

“Parents are investing in their children,” he said. But the environment is changing with the scale of runaway successes such as “Fifty Shades of Grey,” the 2011 erotic blockbuster by E.L. James. It was the first part of a trilogy that has sold over 70 million copies worldwide.

Not only does it pose questions about the diversity of what people read but also drives up the price of translation rights, Boos said. “Everyone wants a certain bestseller, they all want the next Harry Potter, or the next ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ or Dan Brown. Everyone’s lusting after it,” he said.