Books, books, books

The Frankfurt Book Fair is phenomenal: jammed, absolutely jammed, with German book fans, including an incredible number of kid. The book culture in Germany is nothing like that in America, where allegedly one third of Americans, or more, never read a book after high school.

The Frankfurt convention grounds are also jammed with books from all around the world. What struck me was the optimism of it: all that work to create books on the hope that someone would read them. And they make fun of bloggers for whistling in the wind.

I was there on Saturday to speak with Wolfgang Blau, editor in chief of Zeit Online for what turned out to be a sizeable audience.

Frankfurt Buchmesse

At the last minute, I foolishly thought I might be able to answer a question or two in German. Ha! All I know how to say in German is how I can’t say anything.

I got to meet with a few of my publishers worldwide, wonderful folks from Taiwan, Holland, and Germany.

And I got a nice ego boost – not that I need one – when I came across this:

WWGD Frankfurt Buchmesse

  • A culture begins when we hear the first words and try to repeat them, that is how we learn how to speak.
    Then we learn how to read and write and that is the second way of communication: a long distance (in space and time) communication.
    All is about communication and sharing of ideas.
    All is about the men’s need to overcome their loneliness.
    If you want to learn how to communicate you HAVE to learn to speak and to READ.
    Reading opens doors and spaces, helps you to have a much better life, opening your mind.
    A person who doesn’t read is usually a limited one, and doesn’t understand what he misses of life.
    Understanding Music, Literature, Art, is living more intensively.

  • Angelika Hammer

    bin am Samstag “zufällig” kurz nach 15 Uhr zur Zeit auf der Frankfurter Buchmesse zum Interview mit Jeff Jarvis gestoß war so charmant,sympathisch und charismatisch daß ich bis zum Ende des Interviews bleiben MUßTE.habe facebook und ähnliches in Deutschland bis heute für mich abgelehnt,meine Tochter Janine ist aktiv in studiVZ und ich war bis jetzt überzeugt daß diese Komunikation über internet nur sinnvoll für die heutige Jugend ist.Aber seine Aussagen haben mich neugierig gemacht. Ich bewundere Jeff Jarvis für seine Arbeit und auch für seine persönl.Entwicklung mit der Benutzung neuer hat mich inspiriert,diese versuchsweise auch für mich zu nutzen.
    Vielen Dank für Ihre Präsenz in Frankfurt Herr Jarvis !!

  • You took this American back to his four years in Germany during the late ’90s. All I could say was lyrics from Mahler song-cycles (“Ging heute morgen uber feld” will only get you a funny look) and “Mein Duetsch ist zehr schlecht.” I felt your pain.

    Now let me depress myself by reading your link to the post on American reading habits.

  • Bernd Appelhans

    Hey Jeff,

    like Mrs. Hammer I coincidently came across your Talk as I was looking for another talk about education. I was more than happy to be there when I listened to you and what you found out about Google.

    One thing that I kept in mind was your Zuckerberg story and the conclusion that in internet business “you have help people do what they already do”

    This is great motivation for my vocabulary-learning-project which seems to be demanded not only by millions of pupils and students but also by you and Mr. Burell.

    No worries, I will let you know when it goes online ;)

    Thanks for your inspiring talk,

    Bernd Appelhans

    PS: Life is wonderful Why? Well, after the talk I was going over the Book Fair thinking: “You should have talked to Jeff Jarvis”. Four hours later while drinking my coffee at Starbucks looking on the Einkaufsstrasse (shopping street) – guess who – Jeff walked by. I ran out stopped him and we had a nice chat.

    In German we would call this coincidence “Zufall”.
    It’s original meaning though is “was dir zu fällt” (what is given to you).

  • Hey JeffJarvis!

    I have never been to Germany, but I love book fairs, and this made for a fascinating cross-cultural read. Will be linking on my book blog!

    – Elizabeth W.

  • whoah, congrats Jeff!

  • Congrats on the buch. Did you have a chance to include the fact that Google’s latest earnings suggest they might be able to shrug off some of the economic pain. I’ll be looking for Google’s take on financial institutions.

    Just pre-ordered and looking forward.

    Oh yes, if you get to Berlin, this has nothing to do with books, but much is communicated nonetheless.

  • Grace Chang

    Hi Jeff,

    Pleased to meet you at the book fair. What I did not expect is this
    lovely encounter got mentioned right here! In your blog!!

    You know I was at your speech, don’t you? :) Afterwards I sent a note to the office: We should invite him to speak!

    Grace (of Commonwealth Publishing in Taiwan)

  • fredgraver

    HOLY CR*P– is that a new Tom Robbins novel!!???!??

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