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Frankfurt Book Fair 2014: Challenging, quieter, but still new business opportunities to be found

By October 21, 2014November 10th, 2014No Comments


Frankfurt Stand 2014_croppedAs Frankfurt drew to a close last weekend, PANZ News emailed the publishers on the New Zealand stand as asked for feedback. Here are their candid, mostly brief, reports:

Julia Marshall, Gecko Press:

Julia-MarshallWe are now on the last day of the fair and I am kind of exhausted which is as it should be. It has been good! Solid and steady is the report from the rights agents I meet and my own rights agent says the same.

My most fun meeting was bumping into one of the German illustrators we publish on the train on the way home at 1.30 in the morning (after being at the Frankfurter Hof with Sam Elworthy and he had some news that will change the line-up for our next year’s books!

Tracy Strudley, Global Education Systems:

Frankfurt 2014_Tracy Strudley_croppedFrankfurt still proves to be the leading book fair where new business opportunities are started. GES managed in excess of 20 solid appointments, with new business opportunities presenting themselves in Chile and Brazil.

We confirmed new product with existing distributors and partners and increased focus and interest in Marie Clay’s Professional Development titles.

The New Zealand stand continues to look smart and professional with its current design and branding. Sarah Ropata and her husband Ropes did a fine job! All the NZ publishers really appreciate their focus and passion for our country brand and our content.

Linda Cassells, Calico Publishing:

Linda cassells_cropped

Without a doubt the highlight for me was being presented with the German edition of our book Dealing Daily with Dementia. I met the publisher through a chance recommendation at last year’s fair and one year later the book is in my hand. You cannot match the thrill and satisfaction of that moment. The German publishers are delighted with the exceptional endorsements for the book they have received before publication in their market.

Frankfurt is also about making new contacts, so I was also pleased to be invited to the Russian publishers party held at the Frankfurter Hof, a beautiful nineteenth century hotel in the heart of the city. The lavish hospitality and networking was just amazing.

New to me was the emergence of Google Analytics in a publisher’s assessment process for a project or an author, especially among the Americans. They want authors with established online platforms. But I was struck by the number of new business models that are emerging in the current environment. The models have probably always been there, but there’s a greater openness to trying new things and being creative about how to work cooperatively together.

The channels to market have definitely become more challenging, but quality books will always find their readers.

Kevin Chapman, Upstart Press:

Kevin Chapman_NEW

I think I had a very good fair. The hall was slightly quiet but the appointments were high quality, and while it takes a fair time to know how many leads will eventuate, it feels very good at the moment.



Karen McKenzie, Little Green Frog Publishing:

Karen McKenzieAuthor Dr Libby met with 30 publishers from around the world on the company’s very first visit to Frankfurt. They now have significant interest from publishers in the US, Canada, UK, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Poland, Iceland and Taiwan.

In most cases there is interest from multiple publishers in these various markets, so I will be following up from now on to determine the best fit for Dr Libby in each market. Dr Libby was thrilled with the positive response.

Rachel Scott, Otago University Press:

Rachel Scott otago042589This was my first Frankfurt and I was very apprehensive. I found the first day or so completely overwhelming but eventually I found my way and started enjoying myself. Some very useful meetings, chance encounters, and even a handful of good prospects. At the beginning I wanted to run away; by the end I was sad it was over!

Fantastic support for this newbie from all the veterans on the NZ stand. Sore feet, but!


 Sam Elworthy, Auckland University Press:

Sam Elworthy

I thought Frankfurt 2014 was enormously energising. A little shrinkage in Hall 8 and all of us will be off to Hall 6 next year, closer to the French and Italians which is a good thing. The Finns were country of honour (Finland. Cool) but many said that New Zealand was cooler. Actually, only one person said that, to the media, it was me, diplomatic incident.* Lively stand, one of my busiest fairs with a handshake sale for our anthology of Maori poetry Puna Wai Korero; a bidding fight lining up for Helen Sword’s Writers Diet and Birds of the Pacific, and lots more.

*Interviewed by Publishing Perspectives at the Fair and published in their daily bulletin here.

Peter Dowling, Oratia Media:

Peter Dowling_cropped

The fair kept me pretty busy, but the aisles were noticeably less busy than in previous years. Which gave me a bit more time than usual to talk with people and do follow-ups. We celebrated the launch of our co-edition of Christopher Pugsley’s revised Gallipoli with Frontline Books, and a promising start to our North American distribution with International Publishers Marketing.

‘Difficult’ is the most commonly used adjective for book markets everywhere; you need to be playing the long game.

Sarah Ropata, NZ stand manager:


The stand was well attended this year, and our people all reported good solid meetings. The floor seemed quieter in terms of foot-flow but that said, the walk up traffic seemed more focused and serious. New Zealand is still enjoying excellent PR off the back of Guest of Honour year, with a great centre page piece all about our presence setting a bench mark in one of the Fair Dailies. The big talk in Hall 8 was of the impending move to Hall 6 next year – which is being greeted with support from most. We will report back on that as the plans become clearer to us.