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PANZ News from Frankfurt – the publishers’ perspective

By October 23, 2012October 26th, 2012No Comments

Here's a collection of PANZ News items, sent from Frankfurt over the duration of the 2012 Book Fair.

#1: Frankfurt Book Fair Setup,
and Opening Ceremony!

Tuesday 9 October 2012

The first two days on the collective NZ publishers’ stand at Frankfurt were jam-packed. With a steady flow of jet-lagged publishers arriving to set up their panels, an energetic team of volunteers helping with all the fiddly but necessary details, and a very small but incredibly efficient stand-build team on the go at all times, the NZ stand was completed just in time for the 5pm Opening Ceremony.

It’s hard to believe that we have made it to this point in such a short time. The NZ collective stand, managed by PANZ, almost tripled in size this year with 35 publishers represented. And the stand design by the Auckland-based Designworks added a brand-new, sophisticated dynamic to the look – a bright-white set to contrast with the dark of the Pavilion in the day/night While You Were Sleeping theme of NZ Guest of Honour at the Fair.

Here are some shots of the work in progress.

A fresh-faced Melanie-Laville Moore from Allen and Unwin arriving to set up her panel.

The NZ stand setup, not quite there yet.

Belinda Jones (CNZ) and Anne de Lautour at the wheel.

By 3pm most of the publishers had escaped to doll-up for the Opening Ceremony. The New Zealand delegation arrived in force to a packed hall in which politicians (both German and Kiwi), dignitaries, publishers, writers, readers and booksellers celebrated the opening of the 2012 Frankfurt Book Fair.

Speeches were made by Book Fair Director Juergen Boos, as well as the German deputy prime minister and Frankfurt mayor. New Zealand was represented by authors Bill Manhire and Joy Cowley, alongside Deputy Prime Minister Bill English.

There were discussions around New Zealand and Germany's shared goals, the challenges facing the publishing industry, the power of children's writing and the significance of independent bookshops for a robust cultural environment. Digital was of course touched upon, although it appears that the Germans currently prefer their reading to come in more traditional formats.

There were also many quips about the smallness and isolation of New Zealand, but perhaps the strongest impression was the sense that New Zealanders now have a history, in storytelling.

Following the official part of the ceremony, guests wandered over to the NZ Pavilion, the spectacular star-lit realisation of the NZ cultural theme, designed by Pattersons architects. The audience were free to wander through in the dark, as singers Aivale Cole and Sarah Castle performed from where they sat, their feet dipped in pools of moonlit water.

A peak of the NZ Pavilion Opening, and audience members walking under the moon and stars.

(Image courtesy Lisa Gardiner, Ministry for Culture and Heritage)

Tomorrow the trade fair begins, and the NZ stand will be given its official blessing at 8.30am before publishers take to their meeting posts. Let the games begin.

Listen to Catriona Ferguson of NZ Book Council in a live podcast interview with Kevin Chapman on the eve of the Book Fair:

For news on the Guest of Honour Pavilion programme:


#2: Day 1 of the Frankfurt Book Fair: the NZ Stand is blessed and trade begins

Wednesday 10 October 2012

Publishers filed in to the NZ Stand early on the first morning of the Frankfurt Book Fair as proceedings began for the 8.30am opening mihi from Huia’s Brian Morris.

Chris Finlayson, Minister for the Arts, Culture and Heritage, also addressed the publishers and guests, and thanked PANZ for its drive and determination in seeing the project through to delivery.

Brian Morris led the waiata, and the music drifted through clusters of publishers and performers mingling throughout the stand, and carried across the great Halle 8 of international publishers.

9am meant business, and the NZ collective stand was – for the entire rest of the day – a bustling, crowded hive of activity, with publishers, camera-folk and curious spectators all jostling for space.

The day was overwhelming. Kevin Chapman reported on events at the NZ Pavilion, and how New Zealand had exceeded all expectations. ‘The feedback from the visitors to the Pavilion is universally positive and in fact, in many cases full of superlatives. The Book Fair organisers are incredibly happy with offerings so far; the German press coverage has been glowing. And with four days to go, we still feel as though we have already delivered a very successful programme.’

However by 5pm on the NZ Stand (a good 10 minutes’ fast walk from the excitement of the NZ Pavilion), the feeling from some publishers was that the day was very much business as usual. But that means business.

Tracy Strudley of Global Education Systems was glowing: It was ‘a fantastic day, a great first day. We started at 9am with a company from Lithuania, who walked in without an
appointment based on the look and feel of the stand and what they saw. It’s now 5.30 and we’ve hardly had time to lift our heads. Very happy indeed.’

And Sam Elworthy of Auckland University Press declared it 'my best day ever at the Frankfurt Book Fair. I have four or five titles with competing publishers and I’ve never had that, so it’s great!'

With a huge deal of global interest and even some contracts (into French and Vietnamese) signed on the spot, one can imagine the sigh of relief at the end of the day come happy hour. As Mark Sommerset of Dreamboat Books put it: ‘I’m parched.’

Ande Kuric of Beatnik Books taking time out for the camera.

For more news and updates on the Pavilion programme check out NZ Book Council Catriona Ferguson's blog:

For news on the Guest of Honour Pavilion programme:



#3: Frankfurt Book Fair, trade day 2 in action 

Thursday 11 October 2012

Day 2 of the Frankfurt Buchmesse was again action-packed, both on the publishers’ stand in Halle 8 and with events across the fair grounds.


While business continued, PANZ News sought an overview of the publisher event highlights.

8am: Heart of New Zealand Publishing Business Breakfast

Peter Dowling, Alison Brook and Sam Elworthy (chaired by PANZ President Kevin Chapman) impressed their audience with good-old Kiwi flair at the Thursday morning publishing business breakfast.


Over croissants and coffee the publishing trio – representing independent, multinational and academic aspects of the publishing market – led a ‘very informative and very informal’ discussion on the publishing industry and book market to foreign publishers and agents at the Book Fair.


A lively question and answer session followed, and the general feeling in the room was that the speakers presented information in a relaxed and convivial environment while remaining professional and knowledgeable, and producing plenty of laughs.

11am: NZ Editors Buzz Panel

Featuring editors Tracey Borgfeldt, Debra Millar, Jenny Hellen and Sarah Bennett, this half-hour session saw editors getting passionate about a book of their choice.


The crowd filled up and more people drifted in to hear about the two novels and two works of non-fiction, from an editor’s perspective.


Thanks to Riky Stock, Kevin Chapman and Julia Marshall for facilitating such a unique discussion.


2pm: Innovative Education Hot Spot 

In the buzzing atmosphere of the educational Halle 4, 11 NZ educational publishers were given a 15-minute slot by moderator Karen Sewell to present the very best of their own educational resources.


8interactive got the ball rolling with their presentation of junior readers in digital format, while Mark Sayes of ESA Publications and Neale Pitches of South Pacific Press gave an impressive background to their long-established learning programmes.


Kiwa Media and Hana Ltd were two more that stood out on the digital front, proving that the NZ educational publishing community is one of innovation and expertise.


Indigenous educational publisher Hana Pomare summed up the ‘snappy’ event as one that added punch to the industry. ‘It was great to have publishers supporting each other. We all agreed that coming together as a group of publishers at the fair was a really strong initiative. And because of that relations have strengthened… None of us are rushing off home, and the communication and relationships are already building.’


To celebrate, the event concluded with the cracking open of bottles of New Zealand wine, and the day was almost done.



Back at the NZ Stand, the remaining publishers made their way over to visit the Aussies across the Halle at their own stand party.


Tomorrow PANZ will put on the ‘do’ of the week, and guests will be flocking to the NZ Stand at 5pm to celebrate the mid-point of the fair, the end of trade meetings for most, and an all-round spectacular week.


For more news and updates on the Pavilion programme check out NZ Book Council Catriona Ferguson's blog:

And you can listen to some of Catriona's interviews here:

And for all the latest updates on New Zealand Guest of Honour:




#4: Final day of trade, and the crowd swarms in on the NZ Stand Party

Saturday 13 October 2012

Friday at the Frankfurt Book Fair saw the conclusion of three days of business meetings and negotiations on the publishers’ stand. Many agreed that it was a coming together of a great deal of hard work, as the day was filled with success stories and a real sense of achievement.

Mark Sommerset of Dreamboat Books was thrilled with how his day eventuated, having found strong publisher interest in Dreamboat’s children’s book catalogue on his walk through the German publishing halls.

Debra Millar was also a first-timer at the fair, and commented that she is very keen to build on the momentum created at this year’s fair, which was a first for Penguin NZ in a number of years. ‘Every day has been a great success, with some really positive meetings and lots of genuine interest in our list. Just meeting directly with agents and sitting down face to face is so worthwhile.’

Although contracts are not typically signed right on the spot, plenty of handshakes were made across the stand. ‘I haven’t been given any offers, but would say that I have three or four sales in the bag… What Guest of Honour has done is shine a light on New Zealand and made foreign publishers aware that we have books that are relevant and will work in their market.’

Next will come the many follow-up emails and sending of manuscripts and pdfs, and the processing of pages and pages of notes back at the office, said Debra.

Another glowing publisher was Rhonda Kite of digital developer Kiwa Media. Rhonda burst out to declare that this fair ‘certainly won’t be my last. On Day 2, I was already thinking about my next fair and what we’re going to do.’

What attracted people to her panel was Kiwa’s point of difference. ‘Our multilingual solutions attracted a lot of attention to us – particularly from the US, who were very impressed with the innovative technology coming from such a small country. It’s been an amazing experience that dwarfs any book fair I’ve ever been to.’

At 5pm the brightly lit NZ Stand transformed from a meeting hub to the Frankfurt Book Fair party station, and more than 500 people swarmed in to celebrate the high point of an enormous week, and sample delicious NZ beverages from Hunter’s wines and Monteiths. International Halle 8 never saw such a crowd.


The NZ Stand party from above.

Saturday at the fair was the first day open to the public, and with some publishers still arriving for meetings the NZ stand once again returned to its busy commotion. The effect of the Guest of Honour programme was unmistakable, as interested onlookers arrived at the stand in hordes, eager to find out more about New Zealand and its authors and publishers.

Tomorrow is Sunday and the final day of the fair. For a lot of people this will be the chance to venture across to the NZ Pavilion to catch the Guest of Honour programme lineup, and also the last day for that dreaded ‘Frankfurt feet’ feeling owing to the great distances travelled and the hard concrete floor.

And at 3pm on Sunday New Zealand will go out with a bang at the Handover Ceremony and pass on the baton to the next country of honour in 2013, Brazil.


Our phenomenal team of volunteers: Carolin, Ella, Sue, Julia, Conny and Heike.

With thanks to our sponsors Oceanbridge Shipping, 1010 Printing and Times Printers, to whom we are greatly indebted.

For more news and updates on the Pavilion programme check out NZ Book Council Catriona Ferguson's blog:

And you can listen to some of Catriona's interviews here:

And for all the latest updates on New Zealand Guest of Honour:


Some more pics from the NZ Stand and party…


First morning of business on the publishers' stand.


The New Zealand stand in the morning, lit up.


Anne de Lautour, Joy Cowley and Sandy Roydhouse of Clean Slate Press.


Friday at the Fair: the NZ Standy Party draws near and our very own bartenders Dave Williams and Mark Sayes (ESA Publications) take their posts.


Peter and Anna Ryan of Ryan Publications, in front of their panel.


HarperCollins publisher Alison Brook in conversation with NZ chef Peter Gordon.


The party from the rooftop.


More faces spotted from the rooftop.


Author Barbara Ewing with Sarah Ropata (Manager Publishing and Literature Programme, NZ Guest of Honour).