The Frankfurt Book Fair, the global publishing industry’s biggest trade show, is busily positioning itself for the digital era in advance of its opening in October. At the customary pre-event press conference, as reported by Germany’s, Director of the Frankfurt Book Fair Juergen Boos announced a “new era in international publishing.” Boos declared: “The dividing line is not between old and new, print and e-book, analog and digital, but between those who have the passion for content and want to provide access to it – and those who do not care what they sell.”

The Frankfurt Book Fair is following up on this credo in 2013 with a 20-page booklet listing the “Best of publishing startups.” As well as self-publishing and multimedia books and media convergence, categories include social reading and crowdfunding.

This year will also see the debut of CONTEC Frankfurt, “a new, highly-engaging event experience created by the Frankfurt Academy to address the complexity of the needs of today’s publishing business,” focused on digital publishing, contemporary library management, educational publishing, supply chains, and other cutting-edge themes. Publishing startups are being invited to submit a video pitch for presentation at CONTEC, and the three winning entries will be invited to present at the show. There is also a Hot Spot Digital Innovation Stage, where various startups, developers, and service providers will be exhibiting throughout the show.

Whether the annual beanfeast of the publishing establishment will really deliver genuinely disruptive innovation remains to be seen. The Frankfurt Academy certainly seems to be doing all it can to at least pick up on that buzz.


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