With India as the guest country and attendance from China double that of recent years—plus large growth in delegations from Thailand and Taiwan—the signal from the Frankfurt Book Fair is clear: in global publishing, Asia is a major force.

India, which is the first country to return as a guest of honor, is bringing more than 150 publishers and 70 authors to the 2006 fair. "80,000 new books are published in India each year," marvels Frankfurt boss Juergen Boos, adding, "India is of great interest both as an emerging market and key player in publishing and book production." In all, 7,000 exhibitors from 111 countries are expected in Frankfurt October 4-8.

This is the first show with Boos, who took over little over a year ago, completely in charge, and he makes it clear that his aim is to put his footprint on an event that, for the past few years, hit the headlines more often over internal squabbles or failed ambitions than for its performance. So it was time to innovate, he says: "It is important that we constantly reinvent ourselves and come up with attractive offers for exhibitors and visitors."

Among the new offerings is the "Education for the Future" initiative, focusing on the "intrinsic link" between education and the book industry. The centerpiece of the new effort—one Boos says will be a "long-term project"—is the Frankfurt Book Fair Literacy Campaign, which will open with a summit conference bringing together literacy experts from around the world. "The aim of this international campaign is to highlight the need for basic education and literacy with public and key opinion leaders," Boos says.

Another new conference on the opening day will discuss "India on the Rise," bringing together writers such as Amitav Gosh with digital entrepreneur Narayana Murthy of Infosys in Bangalore.

Put altogether, Frankfurt is expecting a record year. "All 13 hall levels are booked," Boos says, which results in an overall growth of 3.5% in rented space, with U.S. publishers taking 5% more space than last year.

What's in Your Briefcase?
So what are New Yorkers bringing to Frankfurt (aside from their BlackBerrys and lots of euros)? PW spoke with three agents about what books they'll be pitching in the rights tent.

Elaine Koster of her self-titled literary agency has high hopes for the second book from KhaledHosseini, of Kite Runner fame, set in Afghanistan (Riverhead Books is pubbing this spring). And from attorney-turned- writer Julie Buxbaum there's The Opposite of Love, a debut novel about a young attorney who, at 29, is struggling with the teenage loss of her mother and her inability to commit in her relationship. As PW reported (Sept. 18), Dial just acquired U.S. rights in a two-book deal. And Koster has a new book from Edgar nominee Scott Frost (Run the Risk) and Sheridan Hay's The Secret of Lost Things, which Doubleday will also publish this spring.

Sandy Dykstra of the Dykstra Agency has Lisa See's Peony in Love, which has been pre-sold to Random House (spring 2008), along with RH Germany and Bloomsbury UK. Gift of Death: How the Awakening Experience Can Help Us Live Without Fear by international bestseller Irvin Yalom is with Wiley's Jossey-Boss imprint Stateside. And a design book that "describes the strange new world of objects that tell us what to do," Donald Norman's Future of Everyday Things (Basic Books) is also being touted by the agency. Dykstra also has Anchee Min's The Last Empress (Houghton 2007), a sequel to her international bestseller Empress Orchid.

Writers House is especially excited about two thrillers, Michael Gruber's The Book of Air and Shadows and CharlieNewton's Calumet City. WH's Simon Lipskar said they are "absolutely determined" to make Gruber's book, which is with Morrow here, his breakthrough. Calumet City, which Touchstone is publishing in the U.S. and which has already sold to the Dutch, is a debut Lipskar calls "intense" and "gritty." Other books from Writers House which Lipskar thinks will command attention are: Ken Follett's sequel to Pillars of the Earth (Shaye Areheart); a new novel from StevenSherrill (Visits from the Drowned Girl and The Minotaur Takes a Cigarette Break); Jonathan Tropper's "big breakout," After Hailey (sold in a number of countries including Germany, Italy and the U.K.); and Jack Henderson's Circumference of Darkness, which Lipskar calls "a big, big, big debut thriller" (Bantam in the U.S.; Little, Brown in the U.K.). —Rachel Deahl