Friday, September 14, 2007

Frankfurt is huge!

7,275 exhibitors are registered for the Frankfurt Book Fair this year, and they will occupy 171,790 square meters of exhibition space (that's 563,615 square feet!). From October 10 to 14, everyone related in any small way to books will flood Frankfurt, crowd the subways, and spend gobs of money on food and alcohol, all for the sake of books and reading.

My favorite part of the book fair are the stand receptions at the European publishers' booths. They chatter excitedly over glasses of wine and bottles of beer in their stylish suits and cool eyeglasses. The smoking ban will be in effect for the first time this year (which is fine by me), but with cigarettes, these mini-fetes looked like scenes from classy 1950s dinner parties.

You might be surprised to learn that very few librarians are aware of the Frankfurt Book Fair's existence. While staffing the Frankfurt booth at the American Library Association annual conference this year, I was asked at least five times a day where the Frankfurt Book Fair took place. Really? "Frankfurt, Germany," I would answer with a smile. More often then not, the librarian would nod and tell me a story about having been to Germany once. It never registered that the question was a dumb one. It turns out there is such a thing as a dumb question.

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