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German book fair lures readers, publishers

October 21, 2005|Matt Moore | Associated Press

FRANKFURT, Germany — The annual Frankfurt Book Fair opened here this week with the global publishing industry basking in the success of the latest Harry Potter novel and looking at new ways to sell more books in different formats.

So far, 2005 has been the sort of year for booksellers that organizers of the 57th Frankfurt Book Fair are eager to see.

Demand for books of all titles and subjects has increased this year, said Andrew Wilkins, president of Australian Bookseller & Publisher magazine.

"More than 1.2 million books are being published every year," he said. "That's a lot of books, a lot of authors, a lot of ideas and

But for fair organizers, it's the perfect segue to focus on reading, publishing and expanding new markets for books, be they nonfiction, comic book tales or the Arabic translation of Dan Brown's "The Da Vinci Code." Organizers of the fair, which has been held annually since 1949, said the industry has melded with online and digital media to make books more widespread than ever.

Dieter Schormann, president of the German Publishers and Booksellers Assn., said interest in "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," the use of free books by newspaper publishers to lure customers and the growing size of audiobooks, podcasts and downloadable texts proves that a demand for reading is growing.

"As an international business platform, as the biggest cultural event in the world and a political forum, the Frankfurt Book Fair highlights once again the importance of the medium and the market," he said.

The fair, which runs through Sunday, has 7,220 exhibitors from 101 countries.

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