‘The Ireland stand (The Village!) looked great’: Frankfurt 2012: The Irish Publishing Experience II
Welcome to the second instalment of Frankfurt: The Irish Impact, where we caught up with two of Ireland’s finest publishers O Brien Press and Mercier to see what they thought of this year’s fair. Michael O’Brien began with how well it all looked:
The Ireland stand (The Village!) looked great, worked well and was busy. Thanks to AMK for logistics and building, ILE for organization and manning the stand, and to Culture Ireland for financial support. Both myself and Ivan O’Brien attended from O’Brien Press and we had around 100 meetings with contacts from all over the world: publishers, editors, agents, printers, digital innovators. Overall, drop-ins were down in number, but some proved extremely valuable. There was a big drop in Spanish publishers and talk of the downturn in Germany and Eastern European countries. However, overall it’s a big world out there with lots of potential in emerging and growing markets such as Latin America, Korea, Aus/NZ, Canada, and some aspects of the US market buoyant. We have found it essential to book appointments months in advance, and that research before the fair really pays off.
Sharon O’Donovan, Mercier Press
Mercier Press is proud to have fifty-seven years of unbroken attendance at the Frankfurt Book Fair. Events such as the Frankfurt Book Fair are vitally important for us to make and maintain international contacts and to keep up to date with innovations and business practices in the publishing industry.
Many thanks to Culture Ireland and Ireland Literature Exchange for their support in organising the Irish stand at this year’s fair. The design of the Irish stand is very distinctive in a huge hall full of other publishers and marks us as a presence to be reckoned with on the international stage. I’m pleased to have our partners in the publishing industry, both old and new, meet with us at our table in the Irish stand each year. The collective stand helps us to showcase Irish authors to publishers and fair visitors from all over the world. The team behind the Frankfurt Book Fair is also of huge importance as they organise publishing events and programmes year round. This year I was delighted to be the first Irish publisher to take part in the Frankfurt Fellowship Programme. I spent the week before the fair travelling with publishing representatives from fifteen other countries throughout Frankfurt, Cologne and Berlin under this programme. We toured the offices of German publishers, met with booksellers and publishing experts and learned a huge amount about the German book market as well as learning about the market in each fellow’s individual country and making firm friends along the way.