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Frankfurt: a bustling and positive Fair

13 October 2014

Frankfurt was much more ‘business as usual' than anyone might have predicted. With just a few less visitors than last year, the mood was pretty upbeat, with a lot of solid rights business being done.

Apart from the very real ongoing anxiety about the Amazon/Hachette dispute - no big publisher feels safe from the feeling that they might, and probably will be, next, - there's the progress of the digital revolution and, surprisingly, publishers seem to have taken things very much in their stride.

Ebook sales in large areas of genre publishing are doing very nicely, thank you, but there is no longer the feeling that ebook sales will extinguish print sales, as there was a widespread prediction that they would within five years. It's now clear that we're talking about a ‘mixed economy' and that print sales will continue to some greater or lesser extent. In fact just this week research by Random House and Teletext Holidays suggested that despite the convenience of e-readers, traditional print books remain by far the most popular way to read on holiday - which is exactly when ebooks were expected to come into their own.

Relationships with authors were high on the agenda at Frankfurt, as were publishers developing ‘direct to consumer' models, subscriptions (see the Kindle story) and territoriality. But the real business of the fair was buying and selling rights, and that went on pretty much as usual. In fact, Tom Weldon, CEO of Penguin Random House UKPenguin Random House have more than 50 creative and autonomous imprints, publishing the very best books for all audiences, covering fiction, non-fiction, poetry, children’s books, autobiographies and much more. Click for Random House UK Publishers References listing, said that the week before the fair was busier than he had known it for a decade, with agents offering their big books all at once. Even though the deal may have started or be concluded after Frankfurt, it is the Book Fair which provides the catalyst as it allows for the personal contact which is still so important to the whole business.