Frankfurt Book Fair officials this week confirmed that talks are underway to encourage rights dealing at the fairgrounds a day earlier in 2016.
Frankfurt LitAg director Riky Stock told PW that more than 50 agencies have now added their names to a preliminary list of agencies committed to scheduling meetings in the Frankfurt Book Fair Literary Agents & Scouts Centre (LitAg) on the Tuesday before the fair’s official Wednesday opening. Stock said the list, which is circulating, is designed to encourage agents to set more meetings at the fairgrounds on Tuesday.
The LitAg is open to agents on the Tuesday before the fair, Frankfurt officials say, but agents often take their Tuesday meetings at the Frankfurter Hof, about a 20-minute walk from the fair grounds. But last year the situation came to a head, Stock says, partly due to the unseasonably cold temperatures in Frankfurt. “Several agents approached us,” Stock told PW, "asking for help in getting people into the fairgrounds earlier." At a recent meeting with agents in New York, Stock said that request was again presented for the fair to help encourage agents to meet at the fairgrounds.
Silvia Meucci, of the Meucci Agency, said editors and agents at the 2015 fair were filling the coffee shops around the Frankfurter Hof to hold meetings, "with no place to sit down, queuing for something to drink or eat, a lot of noise, very unprofessional.” All the while, she noted, the LitAg was sitting empty.
Stock confirmed that fair officials were in talks with the Messe Frankfurt about enhancements to draw agents to the LitAg on Tuesday, although no details were settled.
A record number of agents participated in the LitAg at the 2015 Frankfurt Book Fair, with more than 300 agencies represented, and more than 600 registered agents. The 2016 Frankfurt Book Fair is scheduled for October 19-23.
Correction: Due to a miscommunication, an earlier version of this story referred to opening the LitAg on Tuesday. The LitAg is open on Tuesdays, although it goes largely unused. The current effort is to explore ways to entice more people to meet at LitAg.