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Frankfurter Buchmesse 1962 with employees of the publishing house

© Verlag Schnell & Steiner

Frankfurter Buchmesse is celebrating its 75th edition this year.
The publishing house Schnell & Steiner, together with twelve other publishers, is participating for the 75th time without missing a Frankfurter Buchmesse as an exhibitor.

For this reason, we spoke to no less than two generations of the family-run publishing house. Albrecht Weiland (senior) already celebrated the publishing house's 75th anniversary in 2008. Felix Weiland (jun.) has meanwhile taken over the management of the publishing house. He gained his first Book Fair experience as a four-year-old.
Together, the publishing house has been involved in 75 Book Fair editions as exhibitors.

We talked to him and his father about this and about special encounters at the Fair.

What memories do you have of your very first Frankfurter Buchmesse? Is there a fair that has particularly stuck in your memory?
Weiland Senior: My first Buchmesse at the Schnell & Steiner stand was in 1996. Before that, as the managing director of a small science publisher in Rome, I was already there in the early 90s with a few metres of shelves at the Vatican Publishing Bookshop stand in Frankfurt.

Weiland Junior: I experienced my first Buchmesse as a 4-year-old in 1999 at our publishing stand. From then on, I was at the Frankfurter Buchmesse every year, as a teenager already entrusted with auxiliary work such as putting books away, noting down customers' wishes, etc., and later actively involved in the set-up.


Frankfurter Buchmesse 1999 - Weiland Junior as a 5-year-old for the first time at Frankfurter Buchmesse. In the background Weiland Senior talking to customers.

© Verlag Schnell & Steiner

Your publishing history is closely interwoven with your family history. What role does the Frankfurter Buchmesse play in this context?
Weiland Senior: The family was always there. Since our family comes from the Rhein-Main region, it was always connected with a visit home to our parents.


Frankfurter Buchmesse 2008 - Weiland family with Sales Manager Pflug at the 60th Frankfurter Buchmesse.

© Verlag Schnell & Steiner

In the course of your time as an exhibitor at Frankfurter Buchmesse, you had exciting personalities at your stand. Which encounter has remained a special memory for you?
Weiland Senior: In 2008, the publishing house celebrated its 75th anniversary. On this occasion, important international partners came to our stand, including the President of the Vatican City, Cardinal Giovanni Lajolo, with the then President of the German Bishops' Conference, Cardinal Karl Lehmann, and the Director of the Vatican Publishing Bookshop, Don Giuseppe Costa, with whom we had just started a closer cooperation. Also present was the Lord Mayor of Frankfurt, Mrs Petra Roth. As early as 1962, our standard book on the famous church architect Dominikus Böhm received the award for one of the most beautiful books of the year.

What is your personal fair experience like? Are there any rituals?
Weiland Junior: Eating kebabs with my sister after the set-up day on the Tuesday before the Buchmesse starts.

With what goals does your publishing house come to the Frankfurter Buchmesse every year? Have these goals changed over time?
Weiland Senior / Junior: The publishing house exclusively presents its new publications since the last Buchmesse. It invites the publishing authors of the respective year to visit the fair and see their own work presented. Talking to authors and various service providers is important to us. This goal has not changed.

What went wrong in the past, in the preparation or during the Frankfurter Buchmesse, and at best no one noticed?
Weiland Senior / Junior: What I'm sure many have experienced: Books that caused great excitement because of the announcement "Cannot be delivered on time" and then suddenly arriving at the stand after all.

Which utensil should not be missing at any Frankfurter Buchmesse?
Weiland Junior: Our emergency box with needle and thread, adhesive tape, etc.

What should the Frankfurter Buchmesse look like in the future? What should it offer the industry?
Weiland Senior / Junior: The Buchmesse should retain its colourful diversity and enable as many publishers as possible to be present through responsible pricing.

What would you write on a congratulations card to Frankfurter Buchmesse?
Weiland Senior/Junior: Ad multos annos! We can't think of a better format than meeting in person.


Frankfurter Buchmesse 2022 - Verlegerfamilie auf der #fbm22 nach der Pandemie

© Verlag Schnell & Steiner

Which Schnell & Steiner book could have been at the Buchmesse for 75 years? Which classic from your publishing house will not go out of fashion?
Weiland Senior / Junior: The publishing house Schnell & Steiner became famous for its so-called Small Art Guides to Churches, Monasteries, Castles, Palaces and Individual Objects. This publishing programme was already highlighted as innovative at the Leipzig Book Fair in 1934. The art guides are still our trademark today, even though their outer and inner appearance is constantly being updated. Seen in this light, the art guides have accompanied our stand at the Frankfurter Buchmesse for 75 years now.

You will find Schnell & Steiner at #fbm23 here: 3.1/G157.