Flying round Frankfurt – 36 hours, 2 countries, 10 meetings – Welcome to the world’s largest book trade fair, Frankfurter Buchmesse!
Stood in front of a squat, circular, fairly unimposing building with the words ‘messe frankfurt’ emblazoned stylishly on the side. Up the short flight of steps and into the foyer. A few people with wheeled suitcases and rucksacks bustling back and forth. A row of clean-lined counters, behind which stood the smiling, uniformed ticket collectors. It was like some futuristic departure lounge and they were gatekeepers to the shuttle.
Taking off on this whirlwind adventure, you realise this shuttle doesn’t just travel in space, but also time. Stepping into one of the six gigantic halls, you enter another world as timeless as the written word. Aisle upon aisle and floor upon floor of books. Fiction, non-fiction, art books, novels, children’s books, antiquarian books, cookery books, mathematics books, self-help, DIY, craft, scientific books, architectural books, history books, books, books, books, books, books. And people talking about books. Recording TV spots about books. Presenting new technology for producing and reading books. For anyone with a love of languages like us at First Edition, it’s like returning to the mother-ship. And this is where I got to spend my day.
It’s true I had a lot of meetings, but that just meant I got to hang out and chat with so many lovely people, who are passionate about what they do, in an atmosphere buzzing with enthusiasm. And experience that amazing collision of the ancient and the futuristic. And hear myriad different languages talk about myriad different worlds. I’m already booking my shuttle for next year!
Post by James Stedman, FE’s Editorial Project Coordinator