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.
At 30, the Mexican writer Valeria Luiselli is already gathering her rosebuds. Faces in the Crowd, her poised debut novel, was published by Coffee House Press, along with her Brodsky-infused essay collection, Sidewalks. The essays stand as a theoretical map. . .
Fantomas Versus the Multinational Vampires: An Attainable Utopia (narrated by Julio Cortázar) is, not disappointingly, as wild a book as its title suggests. It is a half-novella half-graphic novel story about . . . what, exactly? A European tribunal, Latin. . .
Marie NDiaye has created a tiny, psychological masterpiece with her Self-Portrait in Green. In it she explores how our private fears and insecurities can distort what we believe to be real and can cause us to sabotage our intimate relationships.. . .
Reading a genre book—whether fantasy, science fiction, crime, thriller, etc.—which begins to seem excessively, stereotypically bad, I have to make sure to ask myself: is this parodying the flaws of the genre? Usually, this questioning takes its time coming. In. . .
The Sicilian Mafia has always been a rich subject for sensational crime fiction. The Godfather, Goodfellas, and The Sopranos worked the mob’s bloody corpses and family feuds to both entertainment and artistic value. Giuseppe di Piazza’s debut novel attempts this,. . .
Antoine Volodine’s vast project (40 plus novels) of what he calls the post-exotic remains mostly untranslated, so for many of us, understanding it remains touched with mystery, whispers from those “who know,” and guesswork. That’s not to say that, were. . .
It hasn’t quite neared the pitch of the waiting-in-line-at-midnight Harry Potter days, but in small bookstores and reading circles of New York City, an aura has attended the novelist Elena Ferrante and her works. One part curiosity (Who is she?),. . .
From the late 1940s to the early 1950s, Egypt was going through a period of transition. The country’s people were growing unhappy with the corruption of power in the government, which had been under British rule for decades. The Egyptians’. . .
Miruna is a novella written in the voice of an adult who remembers the summer he (then, seven) and his sister, Miruna (then, six) spent in the Evil Vale with their grandfather (sometimes referred to as “Grandfather,” other times as. . .
Kamal Jann by the Lebanese born author Dominique Eddé is a tale of familial and political intrigue, a murky stew of byzantine alliances, betrayals, and hostilities. It is a well-told story of revenge and, what’s more, a serious novel that. . .