This post originally appeared on the Frankfurt Book Fair blog.
(There was also talk of an International Society of Young Publishers—more on that in the near future.)
Athough most of the talk at Frankfurt is about the publishers, editors, agents, and authors, it’s also a great place for booksellers to connect with each other and to find out about various resources, such as the International Congress of Young Booksellers.
The ICYB has been around for over 50 years and is an organization designed to support “young” booksellers interested in sharing ideas with other booksellers from around the world. I put “young” in quotes, since they accept anyone into the organization–those young in age, in experience, in heart . . .
One of the primary activities of the ICYB is their annual congress, which takes place at the end of May in a different country every year. Last year it was in Athens, Greece and was attended by more than 35 booksellers from 12 different countries. (Although no one from the U.S. or UK attended . . .) And At the Congress the booksellers share various ideas, present info about the book trade in their country, visit bookstores, work on projects, and have an excellent opportunity to network with other people who are passionate about books.
It’s worth mentioned that this week-long event isn’t limited to booksellers–publishers and others in the book trade are more than welcome to attend. As Miriam Feldmann stated, it’s much better to have a mix of perspectives so that people working in different parts of the industry can have a better perspective on how everything functions, and on how things could be improved.
Next year the Congress will take place in Frankfurt, and the ICYB is expecting a large group. (Past Congresses in Finland and Germany drew more than 50 booksllers.) The theme will be E-motion@l Bookselling and will be held in the German booksellers school in Frankfurt.
To Americans, the idea of “bookselling school” probably seems a bit odd, yet in Germany, you can’t become an official bookseller before completing this program, which generally takes three years, and consists of working almost 40-hour weeks at a bookstore while also taking two full days of classes. And these aren’t just classes on how to create beautiful displays–students study economics, literature, math, and more, and take two crucial exams covering the whole of the book business and their studies that they have to pass in order to graduate.
Miriam Feldmann, 25, will be graduating from bookselling school next May and has been working in a bookstore in Cologne for the past couple years. Despite the systematic professionalization of the bookselling field, her description of the bookselling scene in Germany is very reminiscent of bookselling in America: stores struggle to stay afloat, chains stores are coming to dominate the marketplace, and booksellers generally don’t make much money. But the job does come with a great deal of respect . . .
In addition to continuing to attend the Congress to find out about bookselling in other countries, Miriam’s hope is to move to the U.S. next summer to get a better sense of America’s book world.
More information about the ICYB can be found at their website, where you’ll also find an application form to attend the 2009 conference, which runs from May 24th through the 30th.
Founded in 1960 by such creative pioneers as George Perec, Raymond Queneau and Italo Calvino, the Oulipo, shorthand for Ouvroir de littérature potentielle, came about in when a group of writers and mathematicians sought constraints to find new structures and. . .
There’s little to say about a series of prose poems that willfully refuse to identify pronoun antecedents. Or perhaps there are a million things. The poems in Morse, My Deaf Friend— the chapbook by Miloš Djurdjević published by Ugly Duckling. . .
The Crimson Thread of Abandon is the first collection of short fiction available in English by the prolific Japanese writer and all-around avant-garde trickster Terayama Shūji, who died in 1983 at the age of 47. This collection would be important. . .
Last year, NYRB Classics introduced English-language readers to Catalan writer Josep Pla with Peter Bush’s translation of The Gray Notebook. In that book, Pla wrote about life in Spain during an influenza outbreak soon after World War I, when. . .
“Your bile is stagnant, you see sorrow in everything, you are drenched in melancholy,” my friend the doctor said.
bq. “Isn’t melancholy something from previous centuries? Isn’t some vaccine against it yet, hasn’t medicine taken care of it yet?” I. . .
What to make of Vano and Niko, the English translation of Erlom Akhvlediani’s work of the same name, as well as the two other short books that comprise a sort of trilogy? Quick searches will inform the curious reader that. . .
The opening of Jón Gnarr’s novel/memoir The Indian is a playful bit of extravagant ego, telling the traditional story of creation, where the “Let there be light!” moment is also the moment of his birth on January 2nd, 1967. Then. . .
Mahasweta Devi is not only one of the most prolific Bengali authors, but she’s also an important activist. In fact, for Devi, the two seem to go together. As you can probably tell from the titles, she writes about women. . .
The prolific Spanish author Benito Pérez Galdós wrote his short novel, Tristana, during the closing years of the nineteenth century, a time when very few options were available to women of limited financial means who did not want a husband.. . .
Pedro Zarraluki’s The History of Silence (trans. Nick Caistor and Lorenza García) begins with the narrator and his wife, Irene, setting out to write a book about silence, itself called The History of Silence: “This is the story of how. . .