Frankfurt Book Fair 2015 Highlights

By Virginia — When the Digitales team went to the Frankfurt Book Fair this year, they discovered that today is an exciting time to create digital content. Read the event highlights below.


Every year, the ‘Hot Spot’ digital zones at the Frankfurt Book Fair grow, creating new opportunities for discovery. Each of the following offered a daily program of demonstrations and talks:

  • Digital Innovation
  • Education
  • Professional and Scientific Information
  • Publishing Services

The Digital Innovation zone

The Digital Innovation zone showcased content creation to quickly service multiple channels. There was plenty of discussion on the challenges of our multi-channel environment, as well as the theories concerning the decrease of 10.3% in e-book sales in the US. Speakers agreed the figures were skewed due to a 2014 print bestseller. These are interesting times as e-book pricing becomes similar to print.



This zone also introduces the use of hand gestures to leaf through scanned archive material:



The Education zone

There was a great array of both print and digital learning content at the education zone, including new material from Mathland creators Yellow Dot:



This zone was also where learners created tangible objects prior to using online creation tools, bringing their ideas to virtual life:



The Professional and Scientific Information zone

Sessions attended by Digitales at the Professional and Scientific Information digital zone highlighted ‘Creating Value and Accessibility’ and included topics such as:

  • Metadata: Semantics and Extraction
  • Metadata Enrichment
  • Next Generation Information Management
  • ePub and Patents


The Publishing Services zone

Representatives from the Alliance of Independent Publishers discussed ‘fair’ speech compared to ‘free’ speech—a term highlighted by Betty McLellan, a feminist author, ethicist and psychotherapist.

The Australian independent publishers were well-represented at the Frankfurt Book Fair by Spinifex Press, who publishes ‘innovative and controversial feminist books with an optimistic edge’. The  award-winning independent feminist press presented on the concept of dominant cultures stupidities.



This zone also reviewed the ongoing watermark versus DRM (Digital Rights Management) debate, including a spirited discussion on copyright issues:



Other highlights

There was this amazing poster for the Met Museum.



Indonesia was the 2015 Country of Honour and their forum highlighted the literature and culture of their island.

The fair was opened by a speech by Salman Rushdie, who said that “the guardians of freedom of speech are to be found in publishing”. The choice of Rushdie as a guest speaker led to Iran boycotting the book fair.

It was fascinating to see the efforts made by representatives from countries such as Afghanistan and Syria to create a presence under extremely difficult circumstances.

Patent registration figures in China, Japan and South Korea overwhelmed the European audience.

Some figures on smartphone usage and internet penetration across the globe:

  • South Korea has one of the highest internet usage figures with close to every citizen under 50 online every day. 83% of South Koreans have a smartphone.
  • Australian smartphone penetration is expected to reach 80% in 2017.
  • Latin American countries, with a total population of 600 million, have a smartphone penetration of 50%.
  • 95% of sales on Google Play are on smartphones with $1.99 the key price point.
  • An interesting presentation from Brazil reminded us that access to books in not good in emerging markets and that ‘a smartphone is a person’s first computer’.
  • 50% of books sold in Brazil are in English where 80% of smartphones are android.

Speakers questioned whether we are YouTubers. Do we use all of its features enough?