Leipzig Book Fair closes with marvellous end result:
147,000 visitors, including 43,000 trade visitors; around 2,900 journalists from 23 countries; first Books + Media Careers Day a complete success; Leipzig Book Fair Prize awards literary masterpieces
The Leipzig Book Fair ended on Sunday evening with outstanding results. 147,000 visitors (2008: 129,000) had come to the Exhibition Centre over the previous four days. This is a 14 per cent increase over the previous year. On a 65,000 square metre area, they viewed the new publications of 2,135 exhibitors from 38 countries. Around 2,900 journalists from 23 countries (2008: 2,700 from 21 countries) reported on the industry's international Leipzig springtime get-together of authors, publishing companies, trade visitors and the enthusiastic reading public.
"The Leipzig Book Fair 2009 has carried out its two most important tasks: it has given the book industry momentum and it has shown that society needs books – now more than ever", said Wolfgang Marzin, CEO, Leipziger Messe GmbH.
Dr. Gottfried Honnefelder, president of the German Publishers und Booksellers Association – Börsenverein – commented: "With or without the e-book – literature, authors and content were at the heart of the Leipzig Book Fair 2009. That is a good and important message and it is what makes the Leipzig event unique. This is also felt by the many visitors who come to Leipzig from all over Germany to celebrate the book. The individual book matters in Leipzig."
For Oliver Zille, director of the Leipzig Book Fair, one thing is clear: "Education is still important in our country. This year too, the Book Fair has been a key venue for dealing with this subject."
Exhibitors make a very positive assessment
The official exhibitor survey by the Institut für Marktforschung revealed very high levels of satisfaction among exhibitors: two-thirds described their success here as "very good" or "good". 92 per cent of exhibitors were already saying during the fair that they definitely wanted to come back next year.
Georg Reuchlein, publisher at Random House GmbH: "For me, the Leipzig Book Fair is all about communication. It is an important place to meet colleagues from bookselling, other publishing companies and the media. The Leipzig fair has a very special atmosphere. It is not driven by the hectic of other fairs, but is like a marvellous salon where you can interact in what is an otherwise rare calm and depth."
"We are very happy with the fair", says Petra Baumann-Zink, press director for fiction at S. Fischer Verlag. "It was a successful event in every way. A particular highlight was our event with Sarah Kuttner in the sold-out Cinestar. For our authors, Leipzig is their absolute favourite fair, and they all want to present their books to the public here."
Dr. Thomas Sparr, deputy publishing director and managing director Suhrkamp Verlag/Insel Verlag: "We like the mixture of trade and general public fair, we appreciate the very interested public here. And this year, we are of course particularly pleased with the Leipzig Book Fair Prize in the Fiction category for our author Sibylle Lewitscharoff."
"I came to the Leipzig Book Fair with definite expectations: to present our just issued publishing list for the first time", says Monika Osbergshaus, programme director at Klett Kinderbuchverlag. "For me, it was completely obvious that this had to be in Leipzig and nowhere else. For us as a young company, the media attention we achieved is of course very profitable. But readers are also very interested here and some of them look at all the books very closely indeed."
Publisher Jörg Sundermeier of Verbrecher Verlag agreed: "For us, Leipzig is the most important fair in terms of our readers. We get their feedback here. The mix of trade and public fair is agreeable in every way. Above all, we feel very well looked after by the entire Book Fair team. We will be happy to come back to Leipzig, only hail, thunder and lightning can keep us away!"
"A wonderful fair", enthuses Christoph Links from Christoph Links Verlag. "We had very good events all round. The visitor response in the fair's forums was particularly impressive. This shows that the Book Fair public was even more interested than in the past."
Visitors already looking forward to the next Book Fair
There was also a very positive mood among the 147,000 visitors. 90 per cent said that they wanted to attend the Leipzig Book Fair again next year. A third of all visitors had travelled more than 200 kilometres to be here. Half of all private visitors said in the survey that they had bought or ordered at the fair, a third still intended to at that point. Trade visitors made up 29 per cent, a slight increase over the previous year (2008: 28 per cent).
Education focus very well received:
First "Books + Media Careers Day" a complete success
The Leipzig Book Fair has been highlighting education even more strongly for three years now. At a large number of professional events, special exhibitions and presentations, the fair looks into all aspects relating to childcare and education – and does so very successfully. "There were clearly more teachers at the Book Fair than in previous years", says Elke Wittenborn, director, fairs and exhibitions, Cornelsen Verlag. "Virtually all the career training events were well or very well attended."
Lea Treese of Nintendo Deutschland was also happy with the many interested visitors: "The visitor response to our learning and movement orientated video games is very positive. That shows us that the decision to exhibit again was the right one."
A new feature at this year's Book Fair was the "Books + Media Careers Day" which delighted hundreds of school leavers and college students on the Friday (13 March). Organisers were the Leipzig Book Fair and the German Publishers und Booksellers Association – Börsenverein. Executives from publishing and bookselling presented interesting career profiles and were available in panel discussions and meetings to talk and answer questions on opportunities for starting and developing careers in the book business. "We have laid down a marker in education policy terms with the Careers Day. We will definitely continue with this", says Book Fair director Oliver Zille.
Dr. Thomas Casagrande, director of training at the German Book Trade Academies, was one of those who welcomed this: "We are a central training institution for booksellers and publishers and the "Books + Media Careers Day" enabled us to talk to potential young future professionals. Our expectations in terms of the public were more than exceeded. Leipzig is very important to us."
Leipzig Book Fair Prize awards literary masterpieces
The highlight of the first day of the fair (12 March) was presentation of the Leipzig Book Fair Prize, attended by around 1,500 visitors in the Glass Hall at the Exhibition Centre. Chaired by Ulrich Greiner (DIE ZEIT), the panel of judges chose the following authors from among the 16 nominated candidates:
Category Translation: Eike Schönfeld for her translation: Saul Bellow "Humboldts Vermächtnis" (Kiepenheuer und Witsch)
Category Non-Fiction/Essays: Herfried Münkler for "Die Deutschen und ihre Mythen" (Rowohlt Berlin Verlag).
Category Fiction: Sibylle Lewitscharoff for "Apostoloff" (Suhrkamp Verlag).
"Leipzig Reads" attended by tens of thousands
Once again, "Leipzig Reads" was a literary festival of superlatives with tens of thousands flocking to the 1,900 events featuring more than 1,500 authors. Well-known authors, actors and politicians such as Wilhelm Genazino, Günter Grass, Julia Franck, Wladimir Kaminer, Daniel Kehlmann, Alexa Hennig von Lange, Benjamin Lebert, Mirjam Pressler and Julia Zeh delighted their public.
The total of 200 international authors included names such as: T.C. Boyle, Péter Esterházy, György Konrád, Geert Mak, Kiran Nagarkar, Olga Tokarczuk, David Lodge, John Griesemer, Petros Markaris and Jonathan Stroud.
Sold out "Leipzig Long Night of Literature"
For the fourth time, the historical student club, the Moritzbastei, was the grand stage for new literature during the "Leipzig Long Night of Literature" (L3 for short). More than 1,500 fans came to the Moritzbastei to listen to around 50 authors. "All the readings were very well attended. The public and authors were pleased. After four years, the Long Night of Literature is established as a firm fixture and is the biggest reading as part of "Leipzig Reads", says Claudius Niessen, the main organiser of the Leipzig Long Night of Literature.
Antiquarian Book Fair doing well
The 15th Antiquarian Book Fair was held in Hall 3 parallel to the Leipzig Book Fair. 67 exhibitors from seven countries presented their very varied public with treasures from 500 years of the art of printing.
Detlef Thursch, organiser of the Antiquarian Book Fair: "It was a good fair. For the first time, the Antiquarian Book Fair was accompanied by an exhibition of banned books. That and our Literary Mile were the highlights of this year's fair."
Note to editors: We are happy to send you the latest images from the Leipzig Book Fair 2009 on request. A first selection of photos is also available to you at www.leipziger-buchmesse.de.
The next Book Fair is from 18 to 21 March 2010.
Ms Susanne Tenzler-Heusler