The Frankfurt Book Fair has been going on this week, and it's brought news, controversy, and excitement galore with it. The choice of China for guest of honor has had many up in arms because of the censorship of the Communist Chinese regime. The AP quotes the director of the German Booksellers Industry as insisting, "We view freedom of opinion as an inalienable right." Next year, Reuters reports, the guest of honor will be a much-safer Argentina.
The big news of the week at Frankfurt is that Google Books is launching a new e-book store called Google Editions. The move marks Google Books' first step into the territory of charging for its content. The program will be browser-based and users will be able to access their books from any device: computers, iPhones and Blackberries, and potentially various e-readers. Google representative Amanda Edmonds stresses the focus of open access for consumers, who "shouldn't have to pick the device, software or retailer," The Bookseller reports.
The focus is definitely on e-books this year. Cory Doctorow, writer for the popular blog Boing Boing, spoke out against publishers who encode e-books with DRM, calling them "the real pirates" who are "bent on the destruction of publishing," according to AfterDawn.com.
In other news at the Book Fair, The Mail & Guardian reports that Nelson Mandela is selling the rights to his new book, Conversations With Myself, a collection of his diaries and other works this week. Mandela's work is being called "book of the fair," according to The Bookseller.