One of the fixed dates in every year of my girl friend and me, is the sunday, the last day of the International Book Fair in Frankfurt upon Main. As early as at 9 o’clock, we arrive at the premises. This is easy. While many visitors and the exhibitors spend big on travelling and accomodation, my girl friend lives only some four kilometers away. As we like reading a lot, we seize this opportunity every year.
We always head for the international department. There you meet the whole world in two venues only. One of these venues is reserved for British and American publishers. Quite a few are reluctant to take all their books back home again, so it is particularly on the sundays that they sell them on the spot and we can buy them, often for a song. (In this regard I regret it every year that French / Swiss / Belgian and Italian publishers hardly sell, and be it for the regular price, although they have got rafts of interesting books to offer as as well. )
Stealing books is never a topic for me. From a previous job which had required world wide travelling as an exhibitor I know that goods on display do have their production or buying cost, too. At the same time theft is an issue at the book fair, and a TV report has it that, by the way, the thieves often know which books to steal, as they anticipate quite well which books are to be hot on the German market. And the simplest and very most common thing: You simply do not steal from other people!!!
Now there was this situation that blogging has been in my mind for already quite some time, revitalizing an old passion of essay writing and keeping diaries. At one booth of a British publisher, John Blake, there were two copies of a book on display, „Get rich blogging“ by Zoe Griffin. It was and is not my intention „to get rich“ with it, but what the heck? Advice for (would-be) professional bloggers should also be at least of some relevance for a beginner or to some“one of here“.
Regrettably, there was no staff in the booth.
So we went for a coffee in a nearby coffee hangout in the venue. After some 20 minutes I came back, over-eager to buy this book. And still no staff in the booth. So what could I do? Stealing is out of the question, leaving the book, too.
When hardly anyone was around, I took the book and left a 5-Euro-bill on that spot, hiding it behind another book which there was on sale. Wonder if the staff was honest enough to put that bill into the cash register of the company, but at least I have calmed my bad consiousness over taking that book with me.
My girl friend needed to go to a place where women usually tend to go in two – at least that is their bad habit in Germany – and so I had to wait for her until she came out again. I took the opportunity to do some first readings in this book, and… … … … … … stared at empty pages!
Obviously, the publisher John Blake was well aware of that issue, and that interesting books do attract their audience, in which way ever. So, he was really wise to put a phony book on display only. And let us be honest – it is a good idea.
So, I did want to return the book and find my Euro-bill but now, very late, the booth was manned. (English language does not have the word „womanned“ as the person in charge was a lady.) Of course, the money was gone. So I have cut the loss and went my way, strolling through the venues with my girl friend, BUYING books, real books from english-language editors and enjoying our time, like every year at the book fair.
Interesting to get to know a very personal and direct idea of this English saying of „never judge a book by the cover“. Normally meant and used in a figurative way, it was for very real this time. And let us be honest: It was not really honest what I have done although it was „just“ a paperback. Actually, it is good lesson that dishonesty does not always pay. At least I can say that during five visits to the Frankfurt Book Fair this was the only time that I did something like that. In all other cases I bought the book regularly on the spot or not, if they were not up for sale.
And now, time to go to Amazon to get a copy of the book the regular way!