TikTok makes Frankfurt debut with a pop-up

TikTok made its presence felt at Frankfurt this year with a pop-up booth in the fairgrounds from which visitors could make their own ‘BookToks’.  The platform is credited with making writers like Colleen Hoover global stars, and as the fair wrapped up this weekend, Hachette imprint Orion announced a ten-book deal with British writer Jessa Hastings for 10 books.  Her self-published Magnolia Parks romance series went viral on TikTok this year.

“The #BookTok phenomenon has captured the hearts of our community members,” said Tobias Henning, general manager of TikTok Germany and Central Eastern Europe.  “Creators, authors and reading fans come together on TikTok every day to share their passion for books.  With more than 73 billion views worldwide, #BookTok has given new life to classic titles and helped build new authors and books to an audience of millions.  As a result, we are especially excited to be giving the #BookTok community a stage not only on TikTok, but also at the world’s largest book fair.”

Meanwhile, out on the floor of the Messe, the collapsing pound and political turmoil in the UK – where Prime Minister Liz Truss resigned after just 45 days in office – provided a talking point.  Adam Freudenheim, MD of UK indie Pushkin Press, said: “Clearly, the instability of the pound is not helpful to anyone doing business internationally.  But the pound had already been falling against other currencies even before the recent disastrous ‘mini budget’.  The one silver lining of the situation is that our international sales in other currencies – especially in the US – are worth more to us than six months or a year ago.  Always look on the bright side.”

British Agent Jonny Geller of Curtis Brown talked at the fair about the agency’s merger with the United Talent Agency of the US.  He thinks there needs to be a shift to more of a partnership with publishers now.  “If you stay in your lane, you can run out of tarmac,” he said.  He believes the current “tired” publishing model threatens to dry itself out if the role of the agent – and their relationship with publishers – isn’t re-imagined to become more of a partnership.

And there is at least one point on which all UK publishers agree at the fair: 45 days in office is too short for a memoir from ex-Prime Minister Liz Truss.