Frankfurt Book Fair, a.ka. Frankfurter Buchmesse

This week marks the start of the world’s largest international trade fair for books.  It’s in Frankfurt, a cool 4 hours away from me (but no, I won’t be going; apparently, there’s not much to see for aspiring writers).

This book fair is where publishers and multimedia companies from around the globe get together to Talk Shop.  Basically, they negotiate international book rights and licensing fees.

The fair first started ~500 years ago after Johannes Gutenberg (yeah, the printing guy) invented his movable letters and books became hot commodities.  A handful of booksellers met together in Frankfurt and hosted the first book fair.  It fell by the wayside in the 17oos, but then in 1950 it was revitalized in full-force. (You can learn more about the 60th anniversary here.)

These days, the fair attracts close to 200,000 trade visitors (publishers, agents, librarians, translators, printers, etc.), and includes guests from over 100 different nations.  Cool, huh?

The guest of honor for 2010 is Argentina, which means Argentinian literature and the history of its writers will be highlighted at the fair.  (Good choice in my opinion — it is the land of Luis Borges, after all.)

And, to wrap up my Frankfurt Book Fair overview, I’ll leave you with this adorable video.  It’s an advertisement of Frankfurt Sparks, a new digital initiative at the fair meant to help connect industry professionals.