Last month I found myself at the Frankfurt Book Fair 2015 (FBM) in Germany. It wasn’t something I had planned months in advance. In fact, it hadn’t even crossed my mind to attend until my father suggested it. I was having lunch with my parents and as all conversations go, one topic led to another until my dad asked when the FBM would be held. Turned out, it was a mere three weeks away. Thankfully the window for press tickets wasn’t closed yet, so I turned my day upside down trying to pull everything together.
Given that I’d be booking my flight tickets so close to my trip, I wanted to make the most out of it. I called family and friends to see who would accommodate me in October. Within a few days of anxiously awaiting answers I was set for five weeks of travelling in Germany and Switzerland.
I booked my flight tickets to Europe three hours before the price hike that occurs seven days before departure. It was nerve-wracking waiting for answers, trying to overcome system glitches that prevented me from booking my FBM tickets, and basically preparing everything in less than 10 days.
On the upside, I was visibly calm. Some of my friends wondered how I’d be able to do this, since it’d be my first solo trip to boot. The beauty of travelling alone though is that you’re much more flexible. It’s also easier to find accommodation. Lastly, I wasn’t know as the queen of procrastination among my course mates for nothing — resourcefulness under pressure is my daily bread.
Arriving at the Frankfurt Book Fair
Exploration over Schedules
Not adhering to a fixed schedules is another way to stay flexible. That’s one less thing to worry about when planning too. Yes, I knew authors like Kiera Cass and Victoria Aveyard would be present but I have yet to read their books. Kerstin Gier also was going to be there to sign books. I left her books at home though because they are heavy! And I had to watch my luggage weight.
Before the FBM, I did peruse the programmes to get a sense of what I definitely wanted to see. At the same time, I figured it’d be my first time at the FBM. I wanted to explore. I bookmarked all the interesting stuff in the official FBM app but was much more set on visiting every hall to also get an overall impression.
Seeking out Friends
Of course, besides the books, I was excited to meet fellow bloggers. I was also curious about who the people are behind the many bookstagram accounts. Since I blog in English though, I’m not in contact with that many German bloggers. Still, there are a handful and I met a few more, so that was fun. I’d definitely recommend asking around who else will be at such an event (be it FBM, BEA, LBF, etc), so one doesn’t end up wandering the halls alone.
My Love for Trade Fairs
All in all, I’m glad I decided to attend FBM. I was able to take time off work, so it was the perfect opportunity. Who knows when I will next have that kind of time?
Book fairs here in Singapore are very glorified book sales. Sure, everyone loves a good bargain but there’s not much more to gain then cheap books. That’s why visiting a publishing trade fair was something I definitely wanted to do eventually.
Thanks to my parents, I’ve visited more than a few trade fairs since I was a child. The very first one I ever remember attending was the equestrian trade fair, Eurocheval. It was such an overwhelming and eye-opening experience and nowhere else do you see and learn so much about a trade in one place.
One of my favourite trade fairs is Food&HotelAsia. I love walking along the aisles, soaking in the atmosphere and discovering new things. There’s so much to see, it’s worth visiting most halls multiple times. There doesn’t even have to be a purpose to visiting such a place — if you love food, you’ll constantly be entertained.
The same goes for book fairs. People who have no interest in reading might just see stacks and stacks upon books, some extraordinarily creative stands and many, many people. I saw a billion different books, a lot of love for publishing, stories and knowledge and well, yes, many, many people. As much as I detest crowds, that’s just one drawback of fairs.
A Glimpse at FBM15
Naturally, I brought my camera along with me and have a lot of photos to share. I might upload them on Flickr since there are just too many to post here on the blog. For now, here’re some of glorious sights from FBM to warm a bibliophile’s heart.