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75 Times: "captivating stories, inspiring ideas and meaningful moments"

Managing Director Ronald Schild, joined by his team, looks back on the stories that the employees associate with Frankfurter Buchmesse.

As a booksellers' association, we were among the first exhibitors in the Paulskirche and are still there every year #MitVollerBegeisterung (#FullOfPassion). During this time, our name changed and so did the products we presented at the Buchmesse. The stand became bigger and bigger and many years ago we joined forces with our colleagues from the Börsenverein group. This is how the Börsenverein Centre came into being, under whose roof visitors to the Buchmesse have found our offers bundled together ever since. 

"The Booksellers Association has, over the years, been in various different venues at the Buchmesse. During my time, I remember stands in Hall 5, later in 4.0, initially at the back left, from about 2007 in the centre back, where we were then also lucky enough to be able to rent a MiniPic kitchen from the fair company, which was great and extensively equipped. This was an advantage, because at that time we made sandwiches for everyone at the stand ourselves, offered sausages and on some days even pea soup. An improvement on tinned sausage and grey bread in the stand's own kitchen, which was run by the caretaker couple." Renate

The appearance and requirements of the stand changed a lot over the years, not only due to digitalisation, but also due to changing company cultures and creative ideas of the employees. The fact that mishaps sometimes happen in the process probably won't surprise anyone.

MVB-Stand at Frankfurter Buchmesse 2013

MVB-Stand at Frankfurter Buchmesse 2013


"At the joint stand of the Börsenverein and the Buchhändler-Vereinigung, the Chief Executive of the Börsenverein and the Managing Director of the Buchhändler-Vereinigung always had their own offices in earlier times. For the latter, furniture was even transported from the office to the Buchmesse. The stand consisted largely of closed rooms - for offices, meetings, kitchen and storage. The walls were medium to dark grey for a long time and the stand looked rather bulky and anything but open – that wasn’t unusual  in those days." Renate

"Our stand has always been known to our colleagues as the "Island of Light". The reason for this mystical name lies in the tremendous lighting, which ensures that our stand can be seen from almost every corner of the hall. But this also means that the stand is nice and warm, even on cold autumn days, and you feel like you're in the Caribbean under some spotlights. This has already led to many a discussion with colleagues who would have preferred to be provided with a parasol and sun cream for their appointments." Katrin

MVB-Stand at Frankfurter Buchmesse 2015

MVB stand at Frankfurter Buchmesse 2015

© Gunnar Mitzner

But what did it feel like to visit the Buchmesse back then? We invite you with us into our earliest personal memories:

"On my first visit, I was overwhelmed by the size of Frankfurter Buchmesse. The grounds, the halls, the shuttle buses! The hustle and bustle of the Buchmesse visitors, the impression that everyone knew everyone. And I was right in the middle of it. I went to my first Buchmesse in 1990 as a trainee in the book trade. I've kept all my admission tickets." Katharina

Katharina Oppitz

Katharina Oppitz

© Katharina Oppitz

"The international evening in the foyer of Hall 4 was a great celebration for the exhibitors and organisers. That must have been in the very early 90s. I still remember the "Messe ring-in" in the old congress hall. About twenty colleagues from the Buchmesse always met there on the Thursday evening before the Buchmesse started and toasted the coming Buchmesse with plenty of champagne - it's still like that today! "Ulrike

"Nice encounters at the Buchmesse with exceptional fair visitors." Susanne

Special encounter at Frankfurter Buchmesse 2018

Special encounter at Frankfurter Buchmesse 2018

© Susanne Hirsch

Frankfurter Buchmesse 2018

Frankfurter Buchmesse 2018

© Katrin Friedl

"I have visited Frankfurter Buchmesse about nineteen hundred and eighty times. Once I was at a publisher's stand - as a reader - and saw all the publisher's staff in front of me getting red in the face, straightening their ties and the like. They were looking at something behind and above me that was also casting a big shadow. I turned around and there stood Helmut Kohl. I then quickly exited sideways." Mirjam

What you can always be prepared for: You learn things at the Buchmesse that you want to do differently next time.

"I went to the Buchmesse for the first time all by myself in 2008, when I was still at school. Apart from the fact that I always ended up in the same hall several times because I wasn’t very good at navigating my way around, I was fascinated by the crowds of people and books and totally surprised by all the great cosplay visitors. Finally, I vividly remember discovering a book, which seemed like the key to all my maths problems, only to find out that I couldn't buy it - huge disappointment. Obviously I hadn't really understood the principles of the fair then." Lili

Some learning gifts become a ritual and others have become established over many years and help prepare for the annual exceptional status that is the Buchmesse.

"A very personal ritual for me is baking biscuits just before the Buchmesse. I see many people from my circle of acquaintances, especially at the Buchmesse, and I like to give them something. But also for colleagues at the stand who need refreshments, because the work there is not to be underestimated!" Anna

"The question: "Could I please have the warehouse key?" is actually the one we are asked most often by colleagues, along with the one about the name tags. It's just everyday life at the information desk." Susanne

"Biscuits! What do the stand staff prefer to eat? Healthy fruit or sandwiches? No, the favourite snacks during a day at the fair are sweet and savoury guilty pleasures. We reached the peak in 2019 and the shelves in the kitchen had to bear a heavy load. With us that year we had: 24kg biscuits, 12kg Ritter Sport chocolate, 10kg gummy bears, 6kg peanuts." Katrin

"My annual highlight is visiting the Guest of Honour Pavilion - actually all by myself, without an escort. Between the daily stand duty, simply "enter" another country for an hour and take a little time out from the rest of the Buchmesse hustle and bustle. My first guest country was Turkey in 2008. I still have special memories of Georgia 2018, the Netherlands and Flanders 2016 because of their on-site presentation." Karolin

Partying must never be missing either. Therefore: never change a winning formula: FBM & Partying still as popular with everyone now as it ever was.

"Legendary were the evening receptions hosted by the then Advertising Director of the Booksellers' Association. She invited them to our stand - and the publishing and advertising bosses came. At that time, the best advertising spaces were still raffled off among the applicants in the Börsenblatt. Another time, the regional associations - under the leadership of BaWü - also organised a cocktail bar at the stand - with changing Managing Directors of the LV as barmen - there were only men. The cocktails were very well received and the bar was crowded every evening. The proceeds - the guests were asked for donations - went to charity." Renate 

"I have already spent some of my birthdays at FBM in the last 20 years, but I was able to celebrate my best Buchmesse birthday in 2018. My colleagues loudly sang a birthday song in front of all the Buchmesse visitors, got a cake and spontaneously organised another birthday crown, which I was not allowed to take off on that day. This was also documented several times in our photo box, which we had at our stand that year. It was a birthday party of a special kind." Katrin

„These legendary pictures were taken in 2018 in the photo box at our stand when colleagues tested it out. There was no champagne involved." Rahel

"We dared to party again in 2022 and got to know our international colleagues better in German, English and Portuguese at the Caipi meets Oktoberfest event." Rahel

The Buchmesse brings us together and stirs the most beautiful and exciting emotions in us. 

"One moment that always makes me smile, albeit mixed with a breeze of nostalgia by now, is my first visit to the fair for MVB. It was shortly before I took over as Managing Director and I wanted to get to know my new colleagues in advance. I was relatively young and seemed even younger, which led to the question whether I was the new trainee at MVB..." Ronald

Managing Director Ronald Schild

Managing Director Ronald Schild

© Werner Gabriel

"The best moment of the day is walking through the hall before 9 in the morning, on my left and right the most tempting stands with my favourite authors, lots of books, many of them expensive, and the hall EMPTY! One would never steal anyway, but here really three times not and never. Not even a bookmark as promotional material, it’s a matter of booksellers' honour. It's family!" Mirjam

"The opening speech by the Managing Directors of the Börsenverein group on the Wednesday morning of the Buchmesse always has something both solemn and celebratory about it. We tune in and feel like the Wilden Kerle for a moment before the hustle and bustle starts." Franziska

MVB stand at Frankfurter Buchmesse 2017

MVB stand at Frankfurter Buchmesse 2017

© Markus Fertig

I met my wife again at the 2008 Frankfurter Buchmesse. There, after six years, we met again by chance at a reception of Springer Verlag.

Since then, we've been married for nine years, have two kids at our side who are also already real FBM fans, and live within walking distance of the fairgrounds, where the second glimpse at a very special book person was more than worth it." Markus

"A real highlight for me was the surprise and farewell song for Georgia after the guest role handover 2018, sung by the choir of the Börsenverein group." Ulrike

"At #FBM19, I found out at the Taschen Verlag stand that Peace Prize winner Sebastião Salgado from Brazil was about to sign his books there. While waiting, I struck up a conversation with the woman in front of me. A Brazilian woman and a true fan of the artist! Just before her book was signed, she asked me to capture this special moment with my mobile phone. Afterwards, we exchanged our contact details so that I could send her the photos later. Two years later, Adriana suddenly stood in front of me at our exhibition stand. She had reoriented herself professionally in the meantime, which is why she wanted to do an internship. After a moment's reflection, I realised that we had been waiting for her, because we were in the middle of planning a Portuguese-language version of our company website. In the summer of 2022, Adriana supported us for two months and immediately fitted into our team. Anyone who still says that networking is nonsense can't be helped. And we're already looking forward to seeing Adriana again at #FBM23 :-)." Markus

"I helped with the dismantling for the first time. This atmosphere on Sundays from 5:30 p.m. is unique. A whole Buchmesse lies behind us, the fair blues are still far away. Everyone is flattened, everyone is relieved in one way, wistful in another. This is the moment when the anticipation for next year can start." Franziska

"When it comes to dismantling, everyone has to be energetic. When the gong sounds, the hustle and bustle of dismantling begins. Sometimes it happens that the MVB Managing Director himself climbs the carpet and carries heavy crates of drinks. We're a team that works together to get things done.” Katrin

The whole MVB team gets to work: Dismantling at Frankfurter Buchmesse, © Katrin Friedl / © MVB

The atmosphere at the Buchmesse is unique. And sometimes you especially notice what you're missing when you can't have it. That's how we felt in 2020 and were all the happier in 2021 that it was taking place again. The hygiene guidelines did not dampen our joy or our mood at the Buchmesse.

Frankfurter Buchmesse 2021

Frankfurter Buchmesse 2021

© Rahel Trotta

"Very different from previous years, without a party and with important hygiene guidelines, the Frankfurter Buchmesse 2021 looked like this. Empty aisles and much more space was relaxing, yet you just wished for normality back." Rahel 

"Special times require special measures, creativity and good will: Thanks to the plexiglass, it was possible to be on site at the Buchmesse even during the Covid pandemic and have great conversations." Susanne

Frankfurter Buchmesse 2021

Frankfurter Buchmesse 2021

© Katrin Friedl

Communication through the pane: Susanne Fuchs with Markus Fertig

Communication through the pane: Susanne Fuchs with Markus Fertig

© Katrin Friedl

"Since I had to complete my first two MVB months under home office duty, I saw my team in full for the first time at the fair. I got to talk to book people I had previously only known through the screen and could feel the joy of being allowed to meet properly again under security conditions for the first time. For me, however, the time at the fair culminated in the Buchmesse that I was able to make not only contacts in Frankfurt, but also long-standing and lasting friendships. Thus, FBM 2021 was the catalyst for me to almost immediately feel at home in the book industry and consider myself part of it ever since." Nathalie

"The photo was taken at my first fair. The majority of the people in this photo were unknown to me at the time the photo was taken. At the time, I was glad that someone talked to me at all and that I wasn't standing on the sidelines with a pretzel stick in my hand. Instead, I was warmly drawn into the photo and into the circle and had the time of my life. And all those strangers are now (favourite) colleagues or friends who are no longer with MVB but have stayed with me." Franziska

"Although I have already visited Frankfurter Buchmesse several times, the 2022 Buchmesse will certainly always be particularly memorable for me. As a fairly new volunteer in MVB's Marketing & Communications department, it was the first Buchmesse that I was able to experience completely from an exhibitor's perspective. At the stand itself, I was then also able to help out diligently, take part in great events such as the opening press conference and the opening party on the evening of the first day of the fair and get to know lots of like-minded book people." Robin

Let's look to the future

"Congratulations on your 75th anniversary. Each Buchmesse has been a celebration full of compelling stories, inspiring ideas and meaningful moments. As a place of encounter, the Buchmesse has brought generations of book people together. Since the beginning, it has been a vibrant platform that promotes exchange and celebrates the fascination for the written word. We look forward to continuing to shape the next chapters of this success story together." Ronald Schild, Managing Director MVB

Bilder von Personen aus der Geschichte der Buchmesse

The anniversary at a glance

Whether it's exciting insights into our in-depth chronicle, relevant materials for exhibitors or important information on live events, workshops, competitions and more - here you'll find everything you need to know about our anniversary fair this year.

Learn more about the special anniversary fair