21 October 08 | Chad W. Post

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.


Comments are disabled for this article.
....
Astragal
Astragal by Albertine Sarrazin
Reviewed by Tiffany Nichols

Upon completing Albertine Sarrazin’s Astragal I was left to wonder why it ever fell from print. Aside from the location, Astragal could pass as the great American novel. Its edginess and rawness capture the angst and desires we all had. . .

Read More >

Live Bait
Live Bait by Fabio Genovesi
Reviewed by Megan Berkobien

When my eyes first crossed the back cover of Fabio Genovesi’s novel Live Bait, I was caught by a blurb nestled between accolades, a few words from a reviewer for La Repubblica stating that the novel was, however magically, “[b]eyond. . .

Read More >

The Skin
The Skin by Curzio Malaparte
Reviewed by Peter Biello

“I preferred the war to the plague,” writes Curzio Malaparte in his 1949 novel, The Skin. He speaks of World War II and the destruction it has wrought on Italy, the city of Naples in particular. But the plague he. . .

Read More >

Love Sonnets & Elegies
Love Sonnets & Elegies by Louise Labé
Reviewed by Brandy Harrison

With the steady rise of feminist scholarship and criticism in recent decades, it is little wonder that the work of Louise Labé should be attracting, as Richard Sieburth tells us in the Afterword to his translation, a “wide and thriving”. . .

Read More >

Conversations
Conversations by César Aira
Reviewed by Tiffany Nichols

In Conversations, we find ourselves again in the protagonist’s conscious and subconscious, which is mostly likely that of Mr. César Aira and consistent with prototypical Aira style. This style never fails because each time Aira is able to develop a. . .

Read More >

Nothing Ever Happens
Nothing Ever Happens by José Ovejero
Reviewed by Juan Carlos Postigo

You are not ashamed of what you do, but of what they see you do. Without realizing it, life can be an accumulation of secrets that permeates every last minute of our routine . . .

The narrative history of. . .

Read More >

The Pendragon Legend
The Pendragon Legend by Antal Szerb
Reviewed by P. T. Smith

Literature in translation often comes with a certain pedigree. In this little corner of the world, with so few books making it into this comforting nook, it is often those of the highest quality that cross through, and attention is. . .

Read More >

Mr. Gwyn
Mr. Gwyn by Alessandro Baricco
Reviewed by Paul Doyle

Alessandro Baricco’s Mr. Gwyn is a set of two loosely interlinked novellas that play with narrative and the construction of character. Ably translated by Ann Goldstein, Mr. Gwyn plays some subtle metafictional games as Baricco delves into what it means. . .

Read More >

Bombay Stories
Bombay Stories by Saadat Hasan Manto
Reviewed by Will Eells

I must admit upfront that I went into reading Saadat Hasan Manto’s Bombay Stories almost entirely blind. I have not read Salman Rushdie. I have read, perhaps, two short stories by Jhumpa Lahiri. I might shamefully add that I really. . .

Read More >

The Gray Notebook
The Gray Notebook by Joseph Pla
Reviewed by Christopher Iacono

Throughout his work The Gray Notebook, Josep Pla mentions many different authors, some of whom have inspired him to pick up a pen. One of them is Marcel Proust. Even though Pla normally prefers nonfiction, he lauds the French novelist. . .

Read More >

The next few events from our Translation Events Calendar: See More Events >