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On belonging and on sharing

Frankfurt, 23 October 2016 – At the Frankfurter Buchmesse 2016, it wasn’t only the presentation of the Guest of Honour, Flanders and the Netherlands, that demonstrated what determines our cultural identity, or how a sense of belonging can develop across borders. The idea that acceptance derives from the superimposing of different positions emerged as a common theme in numerous political discussions. Meanwhile, the book and media industry in Frankfurt was also occupied by the question of what a forward-looking approach to intellectual property looks like.

The Frankfurter Buchmesse 2016 ended today, after having created an entirely new focus on the creative industries with THE ARTS+, as well as delivering forthright commentary on the tense global political situation, and hosting many celebrities from the worlds of politics, literature and art. THE ARTS+ in particular succeeded in attracting new customer groups to Frankfurt from the adjacent media sectors, as well as prompting discussions and opening up new business models. “The Frankfurter Buchmesse has long been the world’s most important trading place for intellectual property, as the significant growth of the Literary Agents & Scouts Centre (LitAg) proves,” said Juergen Boos, director of the Frankfurter Buchmesse. “This year we also managed to demonstrate our competences in the field of the creative industries. With many high-profile exhibitors, speakers and visitors, the new ARTS+ area was, from the very first minute, every bit as lively and dynamic as we had hoped. That just serves to underscore the relevance of intellectual property for the worldwide media industry.”

At the same time, the Frankfurter Buchmesse was characterised by political appeals and discussions which reflected today’s social tensions around the world. At the heart of these debates was the defence of freedom of speech. “From this Frankfurter Buchmesse, we’ve sent a loud message for freedom and democracy out into the world. Never before has the book and media industry dealt so intensively with the theme of freedom of opinion,” said Heinrich Riethmüller, Chairman of the German Publishers & Booksellers Association.

Well-known authors, as well as artists, numerous politicians and EU delegates made use of the industry’s biggest global meeting place to put across their messages. They included Carolin Emcke, Cees Nooteboom, Elif Shafak, Lamya Kaddor, Nujeen Mustafa, Jarett Kobek, Can Dündar, Herfried Münkler, David Hockney, Jeff Jarvis and Martin Schulz. “We must defend the cultural space of Europe collectively,” demanded the French prime minister, Manuel Valls, at a press conference on the Thursday of the fair, to promote France’s Guest of Honour appearance at the Frankfurter Buchmesse 2017. Just how diverse the “cultural space of Europe” is, and how relevant the exchanges are between Europe and the rest of the world have been clearly demonstrated over the last five days of the book fair.

This was the Frankfurter Buchmesse 2016:

• Positive visitor numbers: By the end of today, the Frankfurter Buchmesse expects to have received a total of 277,000 visitors. On the trade visitor days, this amounted to a modest 1.3 per cent gain in numbers compared to the previous year. In all, as counted on the Friday of the fair, 142,300 trade visitors entered the exhibition site (2015: 140,474). Provisional figures for the private visitor days suggest a similar attendance as in 2015 (135,317).

• A political Buchmesse: “We note with great concern that the freedoms of opinion and of publication are acutely threatened in many European and non-European countries. This topic affects our industry all around the world, and the large wave of solidarity which became visible at the Buchmesse (for Can Dündar, Asli Erdogan and Raif Badawi) makes an impression around the world,” said Juergen Boos.

• Intellectual property: Across almost 2,000 m² of exhibition space, visitors to the new ARTS+ area were able to experience virtual reality and 3-D art; they visited the museum and creative hubs, and learned all about digital platforms. Across the five days, 150 speakers from 16 countries discussed their topics at a large number of workshops, labs and presentations, while the conference on the Wednesday of the fair was sold out. The verdict of Holger Volland, VP Business Development at the Frankfurter Buchmesse: “THE ARTS+ had a significant European dimension, with numerous partners like Europeana and the EU Commission’s Directorate General for Culture. We want to strengthen this dimension still further and promote a European network for innovation in the creative industries.”

• International rights trade: The Literary Agents and Scouts Centre (LitAg) at the Frankfurter Buchmesse has set a new record. This year, over 700 literary agents from 300 agencies used the Rights Centre in Hall 6.3. Its 460 tables, shielded from the general hubbub of the fair, provided the venue for discussions and rights deals at a rate of one every half-hour. Around 50 per cent of the LitAg customers came from the English-speaking world. Of these, 80 agencies were from North America, with the rest coming from the UK Australia, India and Ireland. German-speaking agencies accounted for 15 per cent of the rights traders in the LitAg.

• Business Club: In its third year of existence, the Business Club of the Frankfurter Buchmesse had established itself as an exclusive work centre and the ideal place for networking. More than 3,400 visitors from 74 countries made use of the Business Club this year. Across the five days, it hosted 45 events. Some 150 invited experts included Jacob Dalborg, CEO of Bonnier Books; Massimo Turchetta, CEO von Rizzoli Libri Trade (Mondadori Publishing Group); Claude de Saint Vincent, Director of Média Participations; and Gaby Wood, Literary Director of the Booker Prize Foundation. A total of 1,200 appointments were made using the online booking tool for the Business Club.

• Book fair in the city and the private visitor days: This year, for the first time, the Frankfurter Buchmesse and die Frankfurter Initiative für Gastronomie e.V. hosted a “Booknight” in the neighbourhood around the central station. Eight selected clubs, bars and restaurants offered book-fair visitors a special programme of performances and readings, as well as culinary reinterpretations of classic Dutch dishes like bitter balls and fritten.

About the Frankfurt Book Fair
The Frankfurt Book Fair is the international publishing industry’s biggest trade fair – with 7,100 exhibitors from more than 100 countries, around 275,000 visitors, over 4,000 events and approximately 10,000 accredited journalists – including 2,000 bloggers - in attendance. It also gathers key players from other media, including the film and games industries. Since 1976, the Book Fair has featured an annual Guest of Honour country, which showcases its book market, literature and culture to attendees in a variety of ways. The Frankfurt Book Fair organises the participation of German publishers at around 20 international book fairs and hosts trade events throughout the year in major international markets. With its Business Club, the Frankfurt Book Fair offers essential services and an ideal setting for the activities of publishers, entrepreneurs, pioneers, experts and visionaries. The Frankfurt Book Fair is a subsidiary of the German Publishers & Booksellers Association.

Contact for the media:
Press & Corporate Communications, Frankfurt Book Fair
Katja Böhne, Vice President Marketing & Communications, tel.: +49 (0) 69 2102-138,
Kathrin Grün, PR manager, Tel.: +49 (0) 69 2102-170,
> Press information online >
> Photos in print quality >