Text: Lenka Ďurišová
Every year, events take place in our book industry that attract the attention of readers, authors, publishers and all lovers of literature.
One of the most important events globally is the Frankfurt Book Fair, and for Slovakia it is the Bibliotheca fair in Bratislava. These two fairs, each with their own unique atmosphere and history, are important meeting places for the literary community. While the Frankfurt fair is known as one of the largest and most prestigious in the world, the Bratislava fair has gained a reputation as an important centre for Central European literature. In the following paragraphs, we will take a closer look at what makes each of these fairs so special and how they influence the literary scene not only in their respective countries, but also on a global scale.
FRANKFURTER bUCHMESSE 2023
“This year’s edition of the Frankfurt Fair was my first. It was great to experience the atmosphere, meet clients in person and see how a trade fair like this runs and works. I am grateful for my colleagues who supported me and helped me like old hands to make everything run smoothly. It was definitely challenging and exhausting, but also rewarding and interesting. It was good to experience.”
Pavla Dámková, Customer Service Officer
“When I compare the fair in 2022 and this year’s one, I could see a really big difference. There were a lot more potential customers at our stand with a range of questions than there were the previous year. Even on the acquisition rounds, you could tell that the staff at the various publishers were more open to conversation.
I remember that in 2022, establishing a relationship with potential clients was really challenging. This year, I was running out of the flyers and business cards on Thursday afternoon already. I was very pleased that on Monday after the fair, the first enquiry from a potential customer who had “just walked by” landed in my e-mail box.
This year the fair was marked by digitally printed ornaments. Everywhere you looked, there were lots of books with this embellishment. And our customers were interested in them, too. Many of them were surprised that we do everything “under one roof” (in Germany it is often customary to use cooperation). I firmly believe that participation in the fair will bring us new work as soon as possible. Unfortunately, we must take into account that during the fair period the vast majority of the orders for the spring production is already distributed to the permanent printers. Although it is said that “patience brings roses”, I am leaving nothing to chance and am gradually copying the contacts from the business cards I have received.”
Dominik Vavřena, Sales Manager
“I had the opportunity to visit a foreign book fair for the first time. Most of the fairs I have visited so far have been local, focused on engineering or on a different segment of printing production than books. So I had no idea of the scale of the Buchmesse in Frankfurt. The fairgrounds are really huge, and it was really challenging to go through the whole thing in the one day we had to do it. A definite trend in contemporary book production is the digital printing on book edges, and this was seen on the stands of many publishers and printers. So it is good that FINIDR is also investing in this technology and securing its position in the printing market.
There were also a lot of books on display with unusual bindings and refinements. Given the number of books on display and the huge interest of the public, it is clear that book production still has a place in the printing industry.”
Miroslav Staszko, Entry Technologist
“In mid-November we exhibited at the 30th anniversary edition of the Bratislava Bibliotheca, which was the fifth book fair of the year 2023. The whole event took place as usual at the Incheba exhibition centre on the banks of the Danube. We met many of our regular customers there, but we also made many new contacts, which we believe to turn into further orders next year. Although the Bibliotheca in Bratislava does not reach the size of the World of Books in Prague, the Slovak market has been very important for FINIDR in recent years and is worth developing and strengthening.
As a printer we were the only one with a stand at the exhibition, however, the competition does not sleep, and we counted sales representatives from a total of nine printers bypassing the publisher’s stands. That is why it is also important to attend trade fairs so that we have work for years to come.”
Kamil Novák, Sales Manager