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Frankfurt Book Fair

Rethink. Renew. Frankfurt Book Fair 2011

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Graphic Novels – a success story
 
Graphic Novels from Germany can be found on all German collective stands at international book fairs. The term graphic novel was coined by Will Eisner, who used it to describe his groundbreaking comic book A Contract with God in the 1980s. His previous work included writing and illustrating the superhero series ‘The Spirit’. This new graphic novel was neither a heroic story nor the beginning of a series. For Eisner, the new concept was not about denigrating his earlier work, but an attempt to define a new artistic form.
 
A graphic novel is first and foremost a self-contained work, using a format frequently closer to that of a book than to comics or serials.
 
In contrast to comics, graphic novels also tend to be taken seriously in the literary press. The media’s attention was initially drawn to works such as Maus by Art Spiegelman, or Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi. Original German titles then began to appear, igniting booksellers’ interest.
 
Far-reaching campaigns by publishers have also contributed a great deal to the success of the graphic novel. One example is www.graphic-novel.info, targeted at both readers and sellers. News, events and press reviews are posted, as well as discussion pieces on the theme of the graphic novel. The same publishers jointly produce the flyer ‘What is a Graphic Novel?’, which first appeared in 2008. It contains an informative comic strip, and introduces a selection of graphic novels from participating publishers. The flyer is distributed free, and the reception was so positive that four subsequent updates and reprints followed.
 
In this way, graphic novels found their place in the book trade, and were not just confined to specialised comic book shops. And graphic novels, in turn, attracted new, younger customers to book shops.
 
This development has broadened perspectives for emerging German author-illustrators, so that in addition to graphic novels from France and the USA under licence in Germany, there have long been successful home-grown examples. Recent German graphic novels have in turn been licensed successfully on the international market.
 
Reinhard Kleist’s graphic novel Castro

There is a broad spectrum of content. Popular genres and themes include autobiographical stories such as Heute ist der letzte Tag vom Rest deines Lebens (‘Today is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life’) by Ulli Lust, history as in Castro by Reinhard Kleist, coming-of-age stories such as Alien by Aisha Franz, and cultural history, as in Baby’s in Black – The Story of Astrid Kirchherr and Stuart Sutcliffe by Arne Bellstorf.
 
These are stand-out graphic novels, distinguished by their stylistic range. The emerging German scene is refreshingly experimental, but never at the expense of readability. The expanding readership for these books extends beyond Germanspeaking countries, and graphic novels from Germany are also well received internationally. They are capable of winning over new readers, whose heads might not be turned by classic comic books.
 
By Jutta Harms
 
Publishers of graphic novels:
 

 
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Frankfurt Academy: Network with the best at top-quality events
 
The Frankfurt Academy, the new international conference brand of the Frankfurt Book Fair, is ‘The Mind Network’. This year, for the first time, the Fair’s best congresses and special events – such as the International Rights Directors Meeting RDM, or the Frankfurt Book Fair’s Professional Programme ‘Best Practice / New Ideas’ – are coming together under the umbrella of the Academy. It is targeted at rights professionals, editors and publishers, amongst others. ‘We have launched the Frankfurt Academy because trade visitors to the Book Fair are changing the way they work,’ explains Holger Volland, Vice President Conferences & Creative Industries. ‘Now, not only will they have access to a wide range of top-quality, targeted events, but they will also be able to network with top-level professionals from 150 countries and to expand their knowledge base.’
 
Brazil, Apps and Tablet Publishing
For the past twenty-five years, rights managers from all over the world have been coming together at the International Rights Directors Meeting RDM, to discuss relevant changes and developments in their business. This year the long-standing specialist meeting will have two themes: Brazil and the issue of digital apps provide the joint focus for 2011. ‘Brazil will be the Guest of Honour at Frankfurt in 2013. The country represents a fascinating future market, in which publishers in very different areas are currently experiencing enormous growth,’ says Bärbel Becker, the organiser of the RDM at the Frankfurt Book Fair. She added, ‘Over the course of the event we will shed some light on how the Brazilian market is developing, and what its distinctive features are.’
 
But the RDM will not only impart important basic knowledge. ‘We are addressing new topics here as well, which may not play a large role in the day-to-day work of rights managers at the moment, but will do so in the future,’ Becker remarks. Such as apps, for example. ‘I fully support a discussion on mobile apps,’ says David Bowers of Oxford University Press, New York, who will chair the RDM this year. ‘It is a very popular topic these days with big implications for the global publishing business.’ The RDM will take place on Tuesday, 11th October, from 14:00-17:00 in Room Europa (Hall 4.0). A networking reception will follow the discussion.
 
The Professional Programme ‘Best Practice / New Ideas,’ which the Book Fair runs in conjunction with mediacampus frankfurt, is dedicated to current issues and innovative developments. ‘Tablet publishing’ is currently being hyped by publishers worldwide – but is this euphoria really justified? What have the experiences of this been so far, and what will the next wave of technology bring? Attendees can find out at the seminar ‘Tablet of Contents: Take a look inside tablet publishing,’ taking place on Wednesday 12th October at 15:30 in the Entente Room (Hall 4.C). An overview of all the events in the professional programme can be found at: www.book-fair.com/professional_programme
Contact Frankfurt Academy
Holger Volland
Vice President Creative Industries
Phone: +49 (0) 69 210 2 - 166
 
Contact Rights Directors Meeting
Bärbel Becker
Phone: +49 (0) 69 2102-258
 
Contact Professional Programme
‘Best Practice / New Ideas’
Iris Klose
Phone: +49 (0) 69 2102-236
 

 
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Buzz and Business at the Frankfurt Book Fair
A second round for Frankfurt SPARKS
 
‘We are the fair for content,’ declared Juergen Boos recently, describing the Frankfurt Book Fair’s new image. With the market for digital content growing rapidly, the remit of the industry’s largest international trade fair is also expanding: ‘Content serves as the raw material, not only for the book industry, but also for other creative industries like film and games. Without content, these new technologies have no use.’ Frankfurt SPARKS, the Frankfurt Book Fair’s digital initiative, established its innovative exhibition and conference formats in 2010, with the goal of bringing in players from the technology industry, but also decision-makers from film and games, to network with the publishing industry and work on future business models together. Frankfurt StoryDrive and Frankfurt Hot Spots, the two big SPARKS projects, will have new topical focuses and more services added this year.
 
Frankfurt StoryDrive is the first organised meeting point for professionals from the publishing, film and games industries. ‘The motto for Frankfurt StoryDrive 2011 is Storytelling & Storyselling,’ says project leader Britta Friedrich. ‘The two-day conference and the adjacent trading centre will focus on cross-media and transmedia forms of storytelling, along with rights and co-production models that extend beyond industry boundaries.’ Other hot topics are cloud computing, gamification and enhanced e-books. StoryDrive’s programme delivers practical knowledge: new for this year are four master-classes led by top-level speakers. These intensive workshops are a valuable addition to the conference programme and, together with the services in the StoryDrive Business Centre, will provide the necessary tools to do business successfully across industry boundaries.
 
The Frankfurt Hot Spots are six thematically-focused presentation platforms, reflecting current issues in the media and publishing businesses – including social media, mobile content and e-learning. ‘The Hot Spots are our showcase for innovation,’ says project manager Michael Kirchner. ‘Providers of digital content and marketing platforms will be presenting here, along with pioneers in the area of new technologies.’ Each Hot Spot has a stage and lounge area, in addition to exhibition spaces.
 
StoryDrive will take place on 12 and 13 October 2011, 9am-6.45pm, in the Open Space Area
Contact: Britta Friedrich
+49 (0) 69 2102 145
 
Frankfurt Hot Spots 2011
Hot Spot Kids & Comics (Hall 3.0), Hot Spot Publishing Services (Hall 4.0), Hot Spot Education (Hall 4.2), Hot Spot Professional & Scientific Information (Hall 4.2), Hot Spot Digital Relations (Hall 6.1) and Hot Spot Mobile & Devices (Hall 8).
More information available at: www.frankfurtsparks.com
Contact: Michael Kirchner
+49 (0) 69 2102-131
kirchner@book-fair.com
 

 
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Editors in a brave new digital world
 
The brave new digital world – it’s been a long time since this was purely a utopian vision. New digitalisation processes are fostering new ways of thinking; new technologies are creating new markets – but only when there is good content to work with in the first place. ‘New technologies alone are worthless: they require content. Content serves as the raw material, not only for the book industry, but also for other creative industries such as film and games. And the book industry is sitting on a wealth of content,’ says Juergen Boos, Director of the Frankfurt Book Fair.
 
For 2011, the Book Fair is therefore bringing content sales even more firmly to the foreground, and dedicates to it all of Hall 6.0. This will contain an enlarged Literary Agents & Scouts Centre (LitAg) and a new business centre for representatives from the film, game and book industries, the StoryDrive Business Centre. Together with the Rights Directors Meeting, the world’s largest meeting for rights managers, these are the places the Book Fair offers where questions will become answers – and new content will be born.
 
Editors: important guides in the decision-making process
However, it isn’t just the marketing, but the evaluation of content that plays an increasingly large role in this context. Does this novel really have what it takes to become a film? Or should it be made into a game instead? Is an app really the most suitable format for this text? Editors are important guides in this decision-making process, working like diamond experts. They choose the content, evaluate and amend it, classify it, and give their recommendations as to which media and which format is best suited to which content.
 
What changes has this digital age brought to the editor’s job description? What new challenges must today’s editors rise to? The editors’ meeting: ‘Editors in a brave new world – The role of editors, and how they need to adapt in these fast-changing digital times,’ will provide answers to these questions. ‘The production of media-neutral data is undergoing a sea change in most publishing houses,’ explains Dorothee Seeliger, Editorial Director at Gräfe & Unzer, and one of the three seminar speakers. ‘For an editor, this increasingly means working in other PC programmes and playing a significant part in the preparation of media-neutral data. Editors have to ‘tag’ data, which means giving it a key code, so it can easily be found in the big wide digital world.’
 
The seminar takes place on Friday 14th October, in rooms Symmetry 2 + 3 in Hall 8.1 of the Frankfurt Book Fair. Alan Samson, Publishing Director at Orion Books, and David Palmer, Publisher at Wiley, will, in addition to Dorothee Seeliger, talk about their experiences and discuss these with participants. A networking reception will follow the discussion.
 
 
‘Editors in a brave new world – The role of editors, and how they need to adapt in these fastchanging digital times’ Seminar, Discussion and Networking Reception (language: English)
Friday 14th October, 11.00 -12.00
Location: Symmetry 2 + 3, Hall 8.1
Chair: Ed Nawotka, Editor-in-Chief Publishing Perspectives / USA
Registration: Dorothea Grimberg,
grimberg@book-fair.com
 
 
 

Translated by Ruth Martin
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