The 3 things that stood out at the Frankfurt Book Fair

The Booktrack Team and I have just spent an amazing week exhibiting at the Frankfurt Book Fair, the largest book fair in the world. With more than 7,000 exhibitors and 3,200 events, there was so much to see and learn. However, three things really stood out for me during the week:

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1. Self-Publishing

We met with the self-publishing Wattpad team, who have created a new form of collaborative entertainment that connects readers and writers through storytelling and creative fiction. The scale of their users and user participation is mind blowing:

- 10 million unique monthly users
- 4 million members
- Platform reading time exceeded 2 billion minutes last month (more than Pinterest)
- 66% of users are on mobile devices

With the internet there are no barriers for authors and readers to create and share content, so self-publishing sites like Wattpad will continue to grow.

What I found most interesting was the majority of their users read on their phone, something not many people realize (and many thought would never happen) but we see the same trend with our Booktrack readers. This is because phones are very convenient (they’re always with you!), and the screens on most smart phones are now fairly large and great for reading.

2. Digital Future for Publishing

The Book Fair was still heavily dominated by print publishing, with many different companies selling similar products and trying to get their titles into foreign markets. Despite all the talk about Digital Publishing in recent years, it was surprising that the digital section at the Fair was very small.

It made me wonder what the offering at the Book Fair will look like in 10 years’ time, as eBooks become more popular globally and phones and tablet devices become more widespread.

3. The Country of Honor: New Zealand

This year New Zealand was the Country of Honor at the Book Fair, which was very special to be a part of.

The New Zealand Pavilion, which featured a great piece of architecture by Andrew Patterson, was very well received with a record 90,000 people visiting it. New Zealand enjoyed a very high profile at the Book Fair and around the city with both Authors and the Kiwi Culture on display.

In this modern day of digital media and "many-to-many" marketing, brands regularly use events to promote their products. So it was great to see the New Zealand Government use the Book Fair as an opportunity to promote the country, while also leveraging and promoting its creative cultures and publishing technology companies. Overall, the feedback was extremely positive and helped to cement New Zealand as a country to watch.

I’m already looking forward to next year’s Book Fair - who knows what will happen between now and then in the ever changing digital publishing world... But Booktrack will definitely be in amongst it!

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