It's a huge event, in fact the biggest of its kind worldwide: 7500 exhibitors from 108 participating countries displayed nearly 400.000 different titles, according to the organiser's statistics, and the event attracted some 280000 visitors. There is always a Guest of Honour - usually a country, but this year it was The Catalan Culture, which had stirred a bit of trouble before.
On Saturday and Sunday, doors are open for the general public, and with the splendid weather, the fair ground transformed in kind of a big festival area. The exhibition halls with the German publishers are usually very crowded, but I love strolling around, and besides books, one can also spot celebrities.
For example, I could spot the bald back of the head of Umberto Eco, signing copies of his latest book, and nearly bumped into Julia Franck, who had been awarded this year's German Book Prize.
But what I find most exciting is to wander around the exhibition halls of the foreign publishers. They are less congested, and there is a truly international flair, with all the different languages and cultures present at one spot. And there is a larger variety of, say, English or French books than one probably could find at any bookstore - plus, of course, books that haven't reached the bookstores yet.
Unfortunately - or luckily, depending on the shelf space available at your home - you usually cannot buy anything.
TAGS: Frankfurt, Book Fair