Wednesday, October 6, 2010

World's biggest book fair begins in Frankfurt

The 62nd annual Frankfurt Book Fair kicked off on Wednesday, honouring literature from Argentina and focusing on the digital and multimedia innovations that are rapidly transforming the industry.

Some 7,533 exhibitors from 111 countries are expected this year, a three-percent increase on the previous year, the fair's director Jürgen Boos told reporters.

"Well-told stories are the engine of the book fair and new technologies ensure one thing above all: the demand for content is increasing," Boos told reporters. "The book is not dead but it is true that our industry is undergoing profound change.”

Gottfried Honnefelder, president of the German publishers and booksellers association which organises the fair, said only about one percent of the €9.6-billion German book market was currently made up by digital offerings.

However, he said he could see the market rising to 10 percent in the near future.

During the five-day fair – which the public can attend on Saturday and Sunday – the growing digital publishing sector will have its own section, called “Frankfurt Hot Spots,” where readers can explore emerging technologies.

Argentine President Cristina Kirchner and German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle celebrated the fair’s official opening on Tuesday evening, and Westerwelle commented on the future of publishing.

"I dare to predict that the electronic book will not replace the printed book but complement it,” he told guests. “The book will outlive all those people who today want to dig its grave.”

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