This year’s Frankfurt Book Fair has just opened with a discussion on “The Future of Reading” between bestselling Brazilian author Paulo Coelho and Frankfurt Book Fair Director Juergen Boos. “How will The Alchemist be received in 100 years?” asks the Book Fair’s materials. “What will authors have to do in the future to get their content into the hands of readers and keep it there? How will cultural technology change, and what aspects will remain the same?”
Interestingly, Coelho refused to attend last year’s Frankfurt Book Fair, even though Brazil was the 2013 guest of honor, citing the Brazilian government’s failure to send younger Brazilian writers to the events. This year’s appearance, then, comes as something of a recompense. Coelho himself tweeted that this is “my only public appearance this year.”
As reported by Latin American press, Coelho sees his own fame and success as hard to replicate in today’s literary and internet environment. “Today would be much more difficult because everyone has a voice. And from the moment that everyone has a voice there is a lot of noise. And from the moment that there is a lot of noise nobody listens to anybody.”
He also warned of the need for literature to adapt, because “we can not go back to the nineteenth century … Like it or not, you’re moving fast toward the digital world … there is no way to go back.” And he advised publishing professionals: “do not fear this monster called the digital world. Adapt to it. That’s all you can do. ”
The full discussion is in theory available as a stream here on HuffPo’s German version. However, so far this has come up as offline.