The annual Frankfurt Book Fair opens this week with the global publishing industry basking in the success of the latest Harry Potter novel and looking at new ways to sell more books in different formats. Demand for books of all titles and subjects has increased this year, said Andrew Wilkins, president of Australian Bookseller & Publisher magazine.
"More than 1.2 million books are being published every year," he said. "That's a lot of books, a lot of authors, a lot of ideas and … a lot of trees."
But for fair organizers, it's the perfect segue to focus on reading, publishing and expanding new markets for books, be they nonfiction, comic book tales or the Arabic translation of Dan Brown's "The Da Vinci Code." Organizers of the fair, which has been held annually since 1949 and begins Wednesday, said the industry has melded with online and digital media to make books more widespread than ever, tha AP reports.
Dieter Schormann, president of the German Publishers and Booksellers Association, said interest in "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," the use of free books by newspaper publishers to lure customers and the growing size of audiobooks, podcasts and downloadable texts proves that a demand for reading is growing.
Part of that impact is why the fair chose to highlight the literature and culture of the Korean peninsula. The Middle East and Russia have been among parts of the world on which the fair focused in previous years.
Fair spokesman Holger Ehling said more than 30 South Korean authors and others were invited to attend the fair, which runs Oct. 19-23.
Besides author readings, the fair will include movie screenings, photo exhibits and seminars about Korea. Fair director Juergen Boos said that several attempts were made to have North Koreans participate in the event, with fair officials traveling to Pyongyang twice last year, but the communist country declined. A.M.