Publishing Student works at the Frankfurt Book Fair
The annual Frankfurt Book Fair is the biggest book fair in the world. This year, part-time MA in Publishing student Jonathan Davis from the Oxford International Centre for Publishing Studies was invited to work on the Independent Publishers Guild (IPG) stand during the Fair.
'They came, they saw, they bartered and then they left. Outlasting the Frankfurt Book Fair before it outlasts you presents a unique opportunity to view the actions and behaviours of a rare breed of animal which come into full display every year at this time: the Frankfurt Book Fair buying public. If David Attenborough were to shoot a documentary on these creatures great and small this is where he would begin.
'I had the repeat pleasure of assisting my London Book Fair friends, the Independent Publishers Guild (IPG), with their activities in Germany this year and got a taste of what it's like to be on the other side of the exhibitors' stand. Attending the fair for the first time last year with the Oxford Brookes MA in Publishing programme and seeing the business between publishers happen in the flesh - I felt a repeat experience was needed as the sheer size of the event was slightly overwhelming. The IPG provided me with an accessible way this year to get my hands dirty for the last two days of the fair when the general public are allowed access to over 7,000 publishers and the tens of thousands of books available. All to be bought, bargained for and carried home by any means necessary.
'Equipped with mountaineering backpacks, suitcases, and trollies, the public are ready to deal, scoop up the bargains and leave with sometimes over 30 kg of titles the exhibitors have put on display in an elaborate fashion. "It's like climbing a mountain," one patron said to me near the end of the fair: with eight halls spread across an area akin to a small town he wasn't kidding. You have to get up pretty early if you want to find your choice of titles on the Saturday and Sunday public-admission days, and as the 9 o'clock bell rang to signal the opening of the fair, it was like being in the full force of a salmon run making their way up the river. A rare sight indeed!
'In addition to that, working with IPG allowed me to meet more publishers and speak to them about their business practices, personal stories and the inspiration that keeps them moving forward with an industry that moves just as fast as that rushing river just mentioned. As the fair came of a close Saturday night I had a rare treat of attending the Exhibitors party, celebrating 60 years of the fair being a place to do business, make new contacts and have a bit of fun. If ever the fair is worth a repeat visit these are the reasons why. IPG not only took good care of me, but also showed me a good time.'
Read Jonathan's earlier report from the London Book Fair.