Frankfurt Book Fair so far
October 13th, 2009
By Tiina Kristoffersson (Stilton Finland)

Monday 12th of Oct

I woke in the middle of the night to a terrible pain in my back. I could hardly move. All these months I’ve been worried about getting the schwein flu just before the Frankfurt Book Fair. I’ve even bought all the disinfection hand washes from my corner shop. And here I am totally free from schwein flu but still unable to get myself up from the bed. Just great!

With little help from the painkillers I managed to drag myself into the plain and land safely in Frankfurt. The lady by the check-in counter at Helsinki-Vantaa airport probably felt sorry for me because she didn’t charge for those ten extra kilos I had in my luggage filled with author presentations. She reminded me, however, with strict voice that if I haven’t lost those extra kilos by the time I was flying back to Finland they would show no mercy to me. I took my humblest smile on my face and told her how much I appreciate her kindness and Finnair's support for the Finnish literature export.

Finally at the hotel I decided to get some help from the nice lady at the reception. I googled the words “Frankfurt” and “Osteopath” and gave the lady the number I found on the Internet. As my German is a bit rusty I asked if she could call the number and try to get som help for me. Luckily she managed to get a time for the treatment. I am heading off to the osteopath now. If I understood it right the person who’s going to give me treatment is Romanian. Dear God, let him be gentle with my bones.

Tuesday 13th of Oct

Woke up rested and guess what – without any pain in my back! Thank God for the Romanian osteopaths! I am sure Stilton-Emma will be pleased not having to drag me around in a wheel chair at the book fair.

Full of energy I decided to walk to the hotel where the Tools of Change seminar took place. According to everyone this was the place to be so I decided to attend to find out the secrets of the digital publishing. TOC web page announced: “Where is publishing headed? What does it mean to “go digital”? More readers today expect to find published material in the blink of an eye, no matter where they happen to be—and that means publishers must create, produce, and deliver content that may never appear on a printed page. It requires content syndication, mobile delivery, search-engine optimization, and more. In this one-day conference, you’ll explore the options and the digital tools available to the publishing industry.”

I don’t know if I’m any smarter after listening all day to different speakers. It’s interesting to hear all the exciting visions and ideas but still, at the end of the day, the focus should be on the content, shouldn’t it? I mean, it was a lot of fuss about DRM, Google, Amazon, e-readers and platforms but so far I have never heard a reader complain about the format of the physical book. It seems to work just fine for most of the readers. So to whom are we doing this revolution for? Don’t get me wrong – I am a big fan of digital ideas and I see great opportunities here. But I just think we should focus on the needs of the readers and try to figure out some business models that really make sense in this world of digital confusion.

Well, got to go now. Emma and Jenny have just landed in Frankfurt and we need to get something to eat. The Book Fair opens its doors to the book people tomorrow. It's show time and I'm excited!

Tools of Change, Frankfurt: