Travelling to Frankfurt Book Fair

The Frankfurt Book Fair is one of our most important events each year to promote our publications, meet with our bookselling and distribution contacts, learn about the future trends in publishing, and generally take the pulse of the industry for the next year. It is always an exhausting week, with back-to-back meetings set every 30 minutes for three days, and socialising and networking opportunities in the evenings.

With such a punishing schedule at the fair, we have always felt that we should make the travel as pleasant and as relaxing as possible, and so in recent years we have taken a scenic drive with an overnight ferry trip and lunch stops in the beautiful Rhine valley to enjoy. Following a car accident that left my car unusable just weeks before the fair this year, we were left with a decision to make. Should we fly to the fair? In the 22 years that I’ve been visiting the fair, I have only flown twice, and the memory of Frankfurt airport full of tens of thousands of book trade contacts trying to leave the city after the fair is firmly etched on my memory, so we decided to return to travelling by train. In the five years since I last travelled by train, connections and frequency of trains along the route have improved, and as such we were easily able to leave Bristol in the early morning, and with just one cross-London underground trip and a change of trains in Brussels, we arrived in Frankfurt by the mid-afternoon to set up our stand. During this time we were able to sit back and relax, eat at our seats in the train, and spread our work out and prepare for our meetings in a very civilised manner. We were even lucky enough to have our own compartment on the Brussels-Frankfurt leg of the journey, which felt very like a step back to the age of Agatha Christie. Thankfully though there were no mysteries to be solved!

Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof

After three days of successful meetings at the fair, we again boarded the train at Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof, and were able to write up all of our post-book fair reports during the first leg of the journey, before a quick lunch at Brussels Midi. The train connections worked seamlessly, and we were back in Bristol in time for dinner on the Saturday evening.

We may have saved a few hours had we travelled by air, but by taking the train we saved ourselves the trouble of first travelling to the airport, then the hassle of check-in, security, and then waiting in departures, before a cramped flight and another wait for bags. Coupled with the environmental benefit of travelling by train, it really wasn’t a difficult choice and it’s one that we will most likely choose to make again in the future!

Tommi

Ever wondered what the Frankfurt Book Fair is like? In 2017 Laura and Tommi filmed every aisle of every hall! You can watch the video here.

A-Z of Publishing: F is for…

F is for FrankfurtF is for Frankfurt. The Frankfurt Book Fair is an annual event in our calendar and a very important one within the book industry. It is an opportunity for us to meet in person with many of the people we deal with by email and by phone throughout the year. Meetings tend to be with sales reps, booksellers, wholesalers, typesetters, printers, other publishers and many more people from within the book trade. It is also a time when we stop our day-to-day work and focus entirely on the trade side of the company.

This post is part of our ‘A-Z of Publishing’ series which we will be posting every Monday throughout the rest of 2015. You can search the blog for the rest of the series or subscribe to the blog to receive an email as soon as the next post is published by using the links on the right of the page.

Frankfurt Book Fair 2013

Sarah, Laura and Tommi on the ferry to the Netherlands
Sarah, Laura and Tommi on the ferry to the Netherlands

For many people in the book trade, October is almost synonymous with the Frankfurt Book Fair and it is no different for Channel View/Multilingual Matters.  For us, the only change this year was that Tommi, Sarah and I decided that we would drive to the fair as we wanted to see some of Europe, rather than fly straight to Germany as usual.  On our way to Germany we visited the site of the Battle of Waterloo in Belgium and had lunch in Luxembourg City before finally arriving in Boppard, a small town approximately 75 miles west of Frankfurt where we stayed a couple of nights.

The view towards the Moselle from our hike
The view towards the Moselle from our hike

We spent a day hiking in the hills between the Moselle and Rhine Valleys which was beautiful, especially as the trees were just beginning to change colour.  We walked about 12 miles and although Tommi had sensibly chosen paths that were mainly downhill (!) Sarah and I were still extremely tired afterwards – perhaps not the best preparation for a busy week of work!  It took a traditional German dinner, good night’s sleep and excellent breakfast before we’d recovered enough to drive across to Frankfurt where we met Elinor ready for the start of the book fair.

Laura, Elinor and Sarah having lunch at the Frankfurt Book Fair
Laura, Elinor and Sarah having lunch at the Frankfurt Book Fair

The fair provides us with an annual opportunity to meet and discuss business with others working in the industry.  Tommi and Elinor meet with our sales reps who sell our books in less directly accessible markets, such as India, China, Japan and Southeast Asia and distributors and wholesalers who make sure that our books get to our customers, and that our customers know of our books.  Sarah meets with those involved in the production side of the industry, such as printers and typesetters, as well as an increasing number of people working on digital projects who she may collaborate with on ebooks and related matter.  Finally, I meet with representatives from foreign publishing houses who are interested in buying the translation rights to our titles for publication in languages other than English.

In between meetings we nibbled our usual selection of German snacks (we’re big fans of Rittersport and Gummi bears) and made the most of the sausages and schnitzel available for lunch!  We spent the evenings sampling yet more traditional German food and we enjoyed the annual drinks reception held by the Independent Publishers Guild, which we are members of.  As ever, we made the most of the opportunities that the fair offers us to meet colleagues from around the world; talk about what’s happening in the industry and discuss future projects and partnerships.  We have all made it safely back to the office and it won’t be long before it’s time to think about next year’s trip!

Laura

Another Frankfurt finished…

The new and improved CV/MM stand!

We’ve all now just about managed to recover from our Frankfurt adventures last week! And Martisse did a sterling job in holding down the fort while the rest of us were away! We had a much bigger stand this year to show off our amazing books.

Our Language of the Month activities came in very handy, especially while eating out and we had great pleasure in sampling the Apfelwein, Palatschinken and different kinds of amazing Schnitzel with the great Grünesauce. Frankfurter sausages were a must for lunch at the Messe – which was a well-earned break from the many meetings each day.

A happy Laura

It was great to catch up with our sales reps, ebook partners and other suppliers, and hear about the latest developments with all of them. It was also fun to catch up with a lot of other publishers, including our friends at John Benjamins and Policy Press.

Dinner with Policy Press

It was a very successful and fun fair this year for Channel View and we’re already looking forward to next year’s meeting and eating!

Language of the Month

All of us in the MM office are passionate about languages and language learning. Between us we already speak 7 languages at some level or another. And when we are not busy publishing the 48 books we publish each year, we like to find ways to entertain ourselves in the office. To combine our love of languages with our need for entertainment, we have decided to initiate a Language of the Month in our office.

Each month we will pick a language that somehow relates to our work in some way, and between the 5 of us we will divide the tasks of teaching basic phrases, idiomatic phrases and proverbs, work-related vocabulary and phrases, travel information and cultural knowledge. We will spend 1 hour per week sharing the information that we have learned and attempting to master the basics, hopefully so that we can at least say please and thank you and ask for a cup of coffee and some cake in our chosen language.

Our first two languages will be:

German in September – in preparation for our visit to the Frankfurt Book Fair.

Maori in October – in preparation for Elinor’s visit to New Zealand to attend the TBLT and LED conferences.

We will end each month by enjoying some traditional food and watching a film from each country.

No doubt we will be in touch with some of our authors and editors for assistance on some of the languages, and we’ll be regularly updating readers of this blog on our progress!