In 1989, the last time French authors and publishers were Guest of Honor at Frankfurt Book Fair the Berlin Wall still stood. Yet in 2017, along the miles of aisles across multiple trade show complexes, a visitor could almost believe that the generation since had not witnessed much technological change.
Whether local or global, much of the Fair was political, reports Andrew Albanese, Publishers Weekly senior writer.
At an opening ceremony that spotlighted Guest of Honor France and, more expansively, the French language wherever it is spoken, French President Emmanual Macron said, “There are so many groups trying to spread hatred, fanaticism, and dogmatism, and we have to stand up to that.”
In 1989, the last time French authors and publishers were honored, the Berlin Wall still stood, noted German Chancellor Angela Merkel. “In literature, we see the reflection of the soul of our society, which is based on freedom, and that freedom of expression goes hand-in-glove with political freedom,” she said.
Wandering the miles of aisles across multiple trade show complexes that make up the Frankfurt messe, a visitor could almost believe that the generation since 1989 had not witnessed much technological change. Print more than dominated – it domineered.
“Customers got tired of the screen,” said Carolyn Reidy. “It is still true that the physical bookstore and physical books are what attracts readers.”
Every Friday, CCC’s “Beyond the Book” speaks with the editors and reporters of “Publishers Weekly” for an early look at the news that publishers, editors, authors, agents and librarians will be talking about when they return to work on Monday.