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VWN News: Book fair to tackle challenges of digital age storytelling
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 Book fair to tackle challenges of digital age storytelling

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Date posted: 10/10/2011

Authors once just had to deal with a publisher but are now being forced to embrace the digital age and negotiate the rights to their works for TV, films and ebooks.

Organisers of the Frankfurt Book Fair, which opens on Wednesday, said the challenges thrown up by the upheaval in the book world would be a central theme at the world's biggest gathering of industry movers and shakers.

Buying and selling of rights to works has soared by 30 percent in the last seven years, Frankfurt Book Fair Director Juergen Boos said.

"Rights trading has become broader and has become a trade with companies, with people, agents who we did not (even) know in recent years," he told reporters.

"Suddenly there are lots of people with whom one has to talk."

He highlighted Cornelia Funke, one of Germany's best-known children's authors, whose book "Reckless" was written with a scriptwriter alongside from the start.

"A book contract for us is 10 pages at the most. In the film industry they are thousands of pages because everything must be covered," Boos said of the practical challenges.

Gadgets such as the "enhanced ebook", a mixture of the book, audio, video and game, and other multimedia products have taken the fair by storm in the last few years.

Now, organisers say, authors and publishers need to formulate business strategies with multimedia interest in mind.

"We talked a lot in recent years about the devices, the ebooks (electronic books), tablet PCs (tablet personal computers) and the Kindle (electronic book reader) ...," Boos said.

"I think this theme is slowly becoming old news... what is on these devices is really the focus."

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