Frankfurt Book Fair opens amid tight security

6th October 2004, Comments 0 comments

6 October 2004 , FRANKFURT - The Frankfurt Book Fair began its five-day run Wednesday, with the doors to the world's biggest international book rights marketplace opening to tens of thousands of trade visitors. Security was tighter than in the past, with guards politely asking visitors at frequent intervals to show what they had in their their bags. The square's main plaza, where a marquee has been set up to show off Arab handicrafts and posters, was practically bare of people as autumn's light rain fell o

6 October 2004

FRANKFURT - The Frankfurt Book Fair began its five-day run Wednesday, with the doors to the world's biggest international book rights marketplace opening to tens of thousands of trade visitors.

Security was tighter than in the past, with guards politely asking visitors at frequent intervals to show what they had in their their bags.

The square's main plaza, where a marquee has been set up to show off Arab handicrafts and posters, was practically bare of people as autumn's light rain fell on the central German city. The Arab World is guest of honour at this year's fair.

In addition to the marquee, the Arab organizing team has taken an entire floor of one of the multistorey steel-and-glass halls to display shelf after shelf of books in Arabic.

The Arab League's cultural organization hope some of the forecast 300,000 visitors to the fair's polyglot pavilions will take a look at them and develop a sympathetic interest in the Arab cultures.

The first three days of the fair are for booksellers and publishers only, with the general public allowed in Saturday and Sunday. Most of the books are not for sale, but can be ordered from regular booksellers.

According to a survey released by the fair organizers, the German book trade group Boersenverein, 50 percent of exhibitors are at the fair to deal in translation and reprint rights worldwide.

The rest are local companies focussed on outreach to German booksellers or simply looking to impress business partners.

Around 2,000 of the exhibiting publishing houses, the biggest number ever, are from the English-speaking world, the world's main exporter of book rights. The Boersenverein said the number from China, one of the world's highest-volume publishing markets, had fallen.

The heightened security at the 6 to 10 October fair reflected concern about the Arab focus of this year's fair.

On Tuesday evening, an official opening ceremony with Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder was delayed 40 minutes because the guests had to line up for stringent security checks.

Political issues were practically invisible in the official Arab pavilion, where 1,000 years of Arab inventions, ranging from water clocks to meat broilers, were displayed in glass cases and staff of Egypt's Bibliotheca Alexandrina library used computers to beam a panorama of great monuments onto a wide screen.

A group of German Zionist students who said they would picket the fair to press for regime change in Arab nations turned out to be just six young men, a van and a banner on a traffic island well away from the main gate.

DPA

Subject: German news

 

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