Posted by Adrian Lucia
The first question I was asked by almost everyone I met at the Frankfurt Book Fair was regarding the economy—editors, printers, and others were all constantly discussing the health of the publishing trade in general, not simply the stability of their own firm or institution. I found it a difficult question to answer. In my eyes, little had changed from previous years, though I thought some publishers’ booths might have been a smidge smaller and less extravagant. And the rumor mill hinted that conservatism dominated the big-book deal making on the floor of the Messe.
In our tiny corner of the Fair, the daily bustle seemed fairly routine despite the worsening economic news. Museums like the Art Institute of Chicago, MoMA, the Metropolitan Museum, National Gallery, and Getty are unsure as to how the economic downturn will affect their publications programs. There may be some adjustments in the future, but none of these institutions, at least, are about to stop publishing books. Fingers crossed.
My favorites at the Fair: Actar, the Spanish design and architecture publisher; DAP, with its thousands of compelling titles; Steidl, cool as ever, and continuing to define the look of the art book; Prestel, showing off The Hyena and Other Men, a fascinating book of photographs by Pieter Hugo; and Moleskine, whose booth design is always captivating.
See you next year. We’ll be there.