The general consensus from publishers on the Aotearoa New Zealand stand at Frankfurt was “It’s great to be back!” It had been a long time between Frankfurts and we received a very warm welcome from the book fair team and colleagues across the publishing industry.
The book fair is definitely nudging back to post-pandemic levels and although attendance was still down a little on 2019 levels (estimates put it at around 70%) there was a definite buzz in the air and reconnecting was a big theme. Kevin Chapman (Upstart Press) was pleased to see the fair gradually returning to normal and the fact that it was less crowded didn’t detract from the frisson of excitement people felt at being back together once again.
Dame Wendy Pye (Sunshine Books) was pleased to see that interest in NZ education books remains strong and while there’s enthusiasm for new digital content there’s still a lot of interest in physical books. Peter Dowling (Oratia) noted that we’re certainly not the only country to be experiencing inflation, paper shortages and freight disruption which made for a cautious business climate but did not impact on the enthusiasm from colleagues to renew their international ties.
The PANZ stand was busy throughout the fair with a lot of interest in books by Māori authors, beautifully illustrated titles and as usual, books for children – both trade and education. Our traditional stand party was fun and we were delighted to have special guests from Education NZ, Marina Wilmerstadt and the NZ Ambassador to Germany, Craig Hawke join us for the event.
As well as books displayed on the physical stand we ran a complementary virtual Frankfurt Book Fair stand on www.newzealandbooks.com and here on NZ Educational Publishers. We were pleased to be able to screen a short reel on the stand which highlighted the breadth and depth of our local educational resources.
Big thanks to Martin Bailey from Black Chook Books who created a stand-out, vibrant design for us and an additional shout out to our German helpers, Joy Reifgens and Christiane and Sophie Geipert-Arheilger. We’d also like to acknowledge the funding we received from Education NZ and Creative NZ who provided support for both our physical and virtual stand.