Singapore’s National Pavilion at Frankfurt Book Fair Attracted Book Browsers and Visitors Interested in Connecting with Singapore Businesses
Media OutReach - 9 November 2023 - At the Frankfurt Book Fair, held from 18 to 22 October 2023, the Singapore Book Publishers Association (SBPA) presented a National Pavilion titled "Small Island, Big Reads", supported by the National Arts Council (NAC). Over 200 local books were featured at the Pavilion, covering the four national languages and including a variety of genres.
The Singapore Pavilion attracted hundreds of book browsers and visitors interested in connecting with Singapore businesses. There were also almost 200 visitors to the national reception which was hosted by the Guest-of-Honour, Ambassador Lee Chong Hock from the Singapore Embassy in Berlin. The 75th Frankfurt Book Fair attracted 105,000 business visitors from 130 countries and 110,000 public participants. There were over 4,000 exhibitors from 95 countries which presented their products and services at the Fair.
Christine Chong, International Book Fairs Lead of the SBPA, said: "There was encouraging interest in Southeast Asian literature, especially works on diasporic experience, local social politics, history and environmental themes. The visitors at the Singapore Pavilion were interested to learn more about Singapore, especially a side of it that is different from common media perceptions. We are also pleased that visitors were keen to buy the books on display".
Overall, the delegation had a positive experience with the pavilion – both for a sense of belonging with fellow national publishers and for access to potential partners at the Fair. Delegates found that the Fair's matchmaking platforms and physical meetings enabled them to make many more connections and discussions with international contacts than they would have otherwise.
Difference Engine, a local English-language comics publishing house who recently won Book of the Year at the 2023 Singapore Book Awards, signed a world distribution deal at the Fair with Diamond Book & Comic Distributors, a well-known American distributor. Through this deal, Difference Engine's works will be available on international platforms starting in 2024.
Felicia Low-Jimenez, publisher and co-founder of Difference Engine and also co-author of the bestselling kids' series Sherlock Sam, was one of the Pavilion's delegates. She said: "The Frankfurt Book Fair enables people to see the diversity of the international publishing industry. It is also an opportunity for participants to understand industry trends and for booksellers to make the necessary connections".
Besides the literary publishers, Singaporean companies at the Frankfurt Book Fair included educational publishers, printers, distributors, and others from all sectors of the industry.
"The Frankfurt Book Fair is the largest gathering of publishers, editors and rights agents from around the world, and is a great place to not only promote Singaporean literature but strengthen our connections and find opportunities with fellow Southeast Asian publishers", added Mr Edmund Wee, President of the SBPA.
About the Singapore Book Publishers Association
Established in 1968, the Singapore Book Publishers Association represents the interests of Singapore publishers engaged in a wide range of publishing, marketing, and distribution activities in both print and digital formats. It focuses on developing and strengthening the book ecosystem in Singapore. The publishing industry contributes some S$2.08 billion each year to the Singapore economy. For more information please visit:
The National Arts Council champions the arts in Singapore and is committed to nurturing a vibrant and sustainable arts scene that enriches the lives of Singaporeans. Our distinctive arts sector fosters artistic excellence, inspires society, sparks creativity, and connects Singapore with the world. Through our collaborative efforts with individuals, private and public sectors, we aim to cultivate a creative city that inspires, while anchored on a thriving, inclusive and diverse arts scene. For more information on the Council's mission and plans, visit www.nac.gov.sg.