Leipzig Buchmesse runs from the 15 March until the 18 March and luckily enough – for this young buck’s birthday – I got to go free of charge!
It was the first time I had ever been to such a large book, comic, manga and anime event and it was great to see how so many people really, REALLY, love books.
We set off from Dresden Hauptbahnhof bright and early around 8.15 am and it became apparent about half of the train already was packed with novel enthusiasts, cosplay lovers and general tourists wondering what was instore at one of the largest book fairs in Germany. It took about an hour and a half to actually get there – with the entrance fee for the ticket they provide you with travel to the venue using the innercity trams/SBahns etc. It’s a pretty good price for how much you get out of it. Battling the snow (yes, snow in March! Argh!) we arrived at our destination and scanned our tickets and we were in!
The complex for it all is MASSIVE. There are 5 main halls packed with exhibitions, excluding the central welcome area where there are even more things to see and do, but for me the best of them was the Manga Comic Con section. We’re not sure if we made a mistake visiting this one first because after that, the others just seemed a little mundane in comparison and after leaving the MCC section, I kinda always wanted to keep going back to see what else was happening.
Don’t get me wrong, if you’re there to meet an author or sell your book or pick up some general advice for writing and listen to some talks, then the other four halls are great. We attended one talk – from Internet blogger Schlecky Silberstein about how the Internet should have its rights diminished. It was interesting enough but pretty general in content, a book tour more like and he didn’t really offer anything more profound than what switched on people already know about the Internet. Basically – the Internet is a wonderful resource, but it’s not real life; remember that!!! Not the best talk I’d been to, but interesting nonetheless.
Afterwards, I just wanted to go back to the MCC again. The people, the music, the drawings, the art, the video games, the shows, the live drawings, the toys and cushions and dolls and costumes. It was all a heady mixture of Japanese life – which incidentally is where we’re going for our honeymoon and for me, as a tourist to such an event, was the most distracting. It really was something I had never seen up close before and something I wanted to experience.
We left around 3 pm having spent the last 5 hours walking around – probably about half that time just at the MCC. The other 4 halls were for education, kids, the chosen focus country (this year Romania), self publishing advice, author signings and general sales but none of it had the lure of being so wonderfully batshit crazy as the MCC.
My recommendation. Go to the book fair if you’re a lover or not, but check out the MCC as a must. Even if you don’t like manga or comics, it’ll most probably blow your mind away the most!