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Frankfurt book fair to promote Indian literature

This book fair aims to increase awareness about Indian literature and is a meeting point for all book publishers.

india Updated: Oct 03, 2006 13:36 IST

The world's biggest book fair kicks off this week in Frankfurt and will focus on authors and culture from India as well as the challenges new media pose for the industry.

Running from October 4-8, the book fair is expected to attract close to 300,000 visitors to Germany's financial capital and offers an important networking opportunity for authors and publishers.

Last year, 600 million euros' ($760 million) worth of rights and license deals were struck on the sidelines of the fair.

The book fair also wants this year to raise awareness about Indian literature.

Every year, around 80,000 books are published in India. Some 150 publishing firms from India and more than 40 Indian authors, including Amitav Ghosh known for novels such as "The Hungry Tide", are expected to attend the book fair.

India is not only in focus culturally and as a growing market, but also as a business partner for publishers because production and printing costs are about 40 percent lower there.

"European publishers are outsourcing a lot to India in particular," Juergen Boos, director of the Frankfurt book fair, said ahead of the fair.

The book fair also intends to highlight the problems of illiteracy around the world.

Digital drive

The book fair will also focus on the rising challenge of digitalisation in the form of CD-ROMs, DVDs, audio books and online databases. Part of the fair aims to bring together traditional publishers and new media companies.

Web company Google Inc is set to be in the spotlight over its efforts to make extracts of every book printed available online via its search engine, prompting concerns with authors and publishers over copyright.

The German Publishers and Booksellers Association will on Wednesday present its own Internet-based book database, which it hopes will contain at least 100,000 titles by the end of 2007.

Gottfried Honnefelder, head of the association, said that the aim of the German database was to ensure that book sellers and publishers remained "masters of the texts".

But he also said the database was not intended to compete with Google and that the association wanted to cooperate with the search engine.

"It would be a shame if Google did not want to use this," Honnefelder said.