Sunday, April 20, 2014


Red Baron loves books. Unfortunately I have too little time (left) to read all what I once bought, still buy, and want to read. My love for books started with fairy tales. By the way, my blog about My Fairy Tales is the second most read of all my blogs so far.

The other day I read an article in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) about an early Frankfurt book fair. I knew that before the war Leipzig and not Frankfurt was Germany's place for books but with the German division West Germany revived the Frankfurt Book Fair. Now my country has the luxury of two book fairs in times where paper books are more and more replaced by electronic media.

Philipp Erasmus Reich (©Wikipedia)
How did it happen that in the 18th century Leipzig took over from Frankfurt becoming the home of Germany's book fair? The man behind the change was Philipp Erasmus Reich, called the prince of Germany's booksellers, who 250 years ago on April 20, 1764, packed all his books in Frankfurt and wrote a letter to the elector of Saxony: Following the last Frankfurt fair I and other colleagues bid farewell to the city and so to speak buried the book fair thereat.

In fact, Reich buried an agonizing fair for in April 1764 only 34 publishers had been present in Frankfurt whereas in May of the same year 179 booksellers attended the Leipzig book fair. One reason of the change was that at the start of the 18th century modern German science and literature had moved to and was at home in the area between Hamburg, Berlin, Breslau, Jena, Halle, and Göttingen. Another reason was the fight of publishers against pirate editions. In South-West Germany, Switzerland and Austria printers had begun systematically to reprint books from Saxony, Prussia, Hannover, and Hamburg. An existing imperial system of protection did not work anymore. Since even the emperor in Vienna encouraged the pirating of books the imperial book inspector in Frankfurt turned out to be useless.

Some of Red Baron's books arranged on IKEA's Billy shelf units
With the lack of space Red Baron started to buy e-books when available. As many peopIe I miss the touch and feel of a paper book but there are other advantages reading e-books on an iPad: the possibilities of marking and noting of text are remarkable.

1 comment:

  1. Hej, ads for IKEA's Billy shelves?!
    My situation when I prefer e-Books: when I'm on a hiking tour. No need to talk about the difference in weight between an e-book (with innumerable books on it) and paper versions.
    Bests, Margit/anmargi