This year I showed everyone press proofs for our new book on tiny homes (pub date Feb '12) and the response was inspiring. Many people turned through all 224 pages, one after the other. Once they started, they kept going. People get it. We're bumping up the press run from 10,000 to 15,000 copies (in Hong Kong) due to the initial reaction. See: http://lloydkahn-ongoing.blogspot.com/2011/10/incredible-first-day-at-book-fair.html
The Fair is gigantic. Think of BEA times 10 (or more). 7,500 exhibitors; 280,000 visitors, of which 150,000 are trade visitors; 5 main gigantic halls, with bus service running between. The first year I came, I was in heaven. In between appointments I criss-crossed every aisle in every hall. Every year, I end up buying a lot of books (although this year v. few).
Book people, I encourage you to go, at least once in your lifetime. It's a bit intimidating, but SO worth the effort. There's so much going on in the rest of the world outside the US; exciting, enriching, inspiring to be in the midst of it all.
That said, here are 3 mini-rants:
2. The seminar "Tools of Change For Publishing," which included American digital uber-gurus, was $1000 to $1400 for a 1-day seminar on Tuesday. Are they kidding? (I just checked it out more fully, and the fee for all 3 days was from $1795 to $2395.) A friend who attended Tuesday said there were maybe 1000 people. That's a million $$ in a day, at the lowest rate! Publishers are desperate about ebooks and the fast-changing landscape and these guys are sticking it to them. How about picketing them along with Wall Street? https://en.oreilly.com/toc2012/public/register
3. 3rd rant (and discovery). The Bookseller (which I'd never seen before) is the English trade publication, and it's perceptive, witty, and informative (though expensive). It made me realize how drab, dull, and boring is our very own Publishers Weekly. The Bookseller is a breath of fresh air, an exciting read, especially after the unimaginativeness of PW. The layout, style, writing and newsworthiness are on a much higher level. American publishing deserves way better than PW (which at least had some weekly soul when Sarah Nelson was editor). A wake-up call from London, which -- I get reminded every so often -- is the motherland of the English language.
Now to some GOOD stuff:
Books I am buying:Life 75 Years, The Very Best of Life. Stunning book of photos. (I loved Life; it had a lot of influence on my style of book design.) A bargain at $23.00
Photo Box by Robert Koch, Abrams - Contrasto. 250 photos by the greats: Ansel Adams, Richard Avedon, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Frank, Annie Leibovitz, Helmut Newton, others. About $8 used.
Portraitfolio, a tiny handmade book by Belgian artist Leen Van Hulst.
Walker Evans: America. Out-of-print, got it for $33.00. Spare, lean, pure black and whites of people and rural poverty in the Great Depression, and obviously the inspiration for Robert Frank's 1950s book The Americans. Evans teamed up with writer James Agee to produce the masterpiece Let us Now Praise Famous Men in 1941.
Unique books I didn't buy (too expensive):
Book I read on the plane on my iPad
Our plans post-Tiny House book
2. Next book most likely will be on nomadic living: wheels (vans, campers, busses, housecars, trailers) and water (sailboats, houseboats). We already have a ton of info. Eventually a 2nd book of tiny homes.
3. We're contemplating a pocket book version of Stretching (has been done in Germany and Spain with great success, and has not harmed sales of full-size version). Thinking of a scaled-down Stretching as an ebook. Stretches on yr. smartphone. Rick Gordon did a beautiful job making a (Kindle & iPad) ebook out of our Marathon-You Can Do It!, so we're off to a good start. Going to consult with authors Bob and Jean Anderson.
4. We're upgrading StretchWare: The Software That Reminds You To Stretch, for Mac Lion and the latest Windows.
5. Trying to determine which of our books would work in e-form. Not sure about graphic-rich building books. We've got a lot of, er, "content," but what about context? The print world has moved along pretty fast for me (having started with hot lead, i.e. linotype, in late '50s).
Antique Books on display at Buchmesse
So Long, Steve
Over and out from the Frankfurt Airport
Sorry this is so long, I don't have the time to make it shorter (per Mark Twain).