The 2010 Frankfurt Book Fair was an upbeat affair, thanks in part to a surging e-book market that now translates into a meaningful percentage of trade book revenue, the introduction of the iPad from Apple, the coming launch of Google Editions, and the growth in popularity of reading devices, smartphones, and the Android mobile operating system.
Although professional attendance dipped slightly for the second straight year—off about 1.7% from 2009—organizers said it was a solid showing given the state of the world economy. And there were even signs of recovery and growth. Registrations, for example, surged late after a bumpy start to the year, with 500 exhibitors registering in September alone. Rights center activity also rose again, with fair organizers now considering expanding the rights center in 2011. While publishers and agents noted shrinking advances and the lack of a "big book" at the fair, overall rights volume and interest, organizers report, has been on a steady upswing in recent years.
The fair also unveiled some new digital programs this year, which Juergen Boos, director of the Frankfurt Book Fair, said were aimed at helping to expand Frankfurt into "a content and media fair." Efforts included StoryDrive, a multimedia initiative that brought gamers, filmmakers, and others together with publishers, and the Frankfurt SPARKS program, which placed six "Hot Spot" exhibition platforms in Hall 8, where some of the industry's biggest players discussed the digital transition in brisk, 30-minute sessions. Meanwhile, the second Frankfurt Tools of Change Conference, held on October 6, was sold out. Happy with the success of its digital programs, fair organizers say they'll expand those efforts in 2011. For complete coverage of the 2010 Frankfurt Book Fair, check out our complete coverage online at www.publishersweekly.com/frankfurt2010.