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Rights and licensing: strong demand for nonfiction / Female activists on stage / International literary stars inspire the audience


The 71st Frankfurter Buchmesse ended today, with a significant increase in the number of visitors of 8.3 percent at the weekend and a rise of 3.7 percent on the trade visitor days. In 2019, the fair welcomed 302,267 visitors (2018: 285,024), an increase of 6.0 percent compared to last year. This year, 7,450 exhibitors from 104 countries participated (2018: 7,503 exhibitors from 109 countries). Industry representatives proved to be optimistic and celebratory: Never before have there been as many events, discussions, parties, meetings and interactions on social media.

Diversity, sustainability and political engagement were the main topics at the fair. The tone was set during the Opening Press Conference by the recently announced Nobel Prize Laureate in Literature 2018, Olga Tokarczuk. “I believe in a literature that connects people and shows what we have in common. Despite any differences in skin colour, sexual orientation or anything else that might separate us on the surface.”

With its campaign CREATE YOUR REVOLUTION, Frankfurter Buchmesse invited female activists to get involved in the cultural debate: Memory Banda, Gina Belafonte, Phyllis Omido, Luisa Neubauer and Jennifer Clement presented their ideas about feminism and civic movements, populism and democracy.

This year, the Literary Agents & Scouts Centre (LitAg) and Publishers Rights Corner moved to a new location in the Festhalle: with 355 participating agencies from 35 countries, this area grew once again. Agents reported a strong interest in non fiction. A total of 3,750 visitors took part in the conferences, networking events and workshops held in the new area that hosted THE ARTS+ and B3 Biennial of the Moving Image. 147,000 guests made their way to the innovative area in Hall 4.1. The BOOKFEST events at the Frankfurt Pavilion and in the city itself attracted 25,000 visitors, some 5,000 of whom attended the 56 events organised in the city.

Heinrich Riethmüller, President of the German Publishers & Booksellers Association, said: “At Frankfurter Buchmesse 2019, publishers, booksellers, authors and fans of literature came together to celebrate literature and to discuss pressing social issues. The future of society, human rights and our planet were the topics that predominated at many of the discussions and events. The last five days have clearly shown that books inspire people and strengthen public debate and, with that, free and democratic societies. The industry successfully engaged in licensing deals and exchanged business ideas. In addition, we sent out important signals supporting freedom of expression.”

Streaming, whether in the areas of audio or film, was one of the innovative trending topics at Frankfurter Buchmesse 2019: the newly created Audio Area in Hall 3.1 was an important meeting point for the international audio publishing industry and one of the fair’s crowd-pullers. Some 260 trade visitors took part in the Frankfurt Audio Summit, a half-day conference with speakers from Spotify, Audible, Storytel and Wondery, among others. The US-based streaming platform Netflix announced three new original series at the fair, based on award-winning books by Frederick Backman, Daniel Kehlmann and Elif Shafak.

Thanks to the partnership with B3 Biennial of the Moving Image, the festival organised by HfG University of Art and Design in Offenbach, THE ARTS+ was, more than ever, a place where visitors could get a glimpse of innovative projects and technologies. The Frankfurter Buchmesse Film Awards were presented for the first time this year with the B3 BEN Awards at the Frankfurt Pavilion. Oscar-winning director Steve McQueen (B3 BEN main prize) and filmmaker Hans Petter Moland (winner in the category “Best International Literary Adaption”) were the prominent guests at the event and accepted their awards in person.

Norway’s Guest of Honour presentation was another crowd-puller. At the Handover Ceremony today, Juergen Boos, Director of the Frankfurter Buchmesse said: “Norway has shown us how dreams can come true: More than 100 Norwegian authors inspired readers from Germany and around the world. Within one year, 510 new books by Norwegian authors and books about Norway have been published by 217 German-language publishing houses – a number that attests to a very successful Guest of Honour programme. Freedom of expression and sustainability were among the focus topics of the events organised by the Guest of Honour. The project’s organisers – Margit Walsø, Halldór Guðmundsson and the team from NORLA – succeeded in putting a spotlight on Norwegian literature.”

With the motto “Singular Plurality / Singulier Pluriel”, Canada will bring its literary diversity to life as Guest of Honour at Frankfurter Buchmesse 2020 (10–14 October 2020). “Already this year, Canada invited us to discover its literary voices, and with Margaret Atwood as a guest at this year's Frankfurter Buchmesse we had one of the most important representatives of Canadian literature amongst us,” Juergen Boos said.

Current press releases and press photos of Frankfurter Buchmesse 2019 are available in the press area at: in a new window)

Live recordings of selected events are available here: in a new window)

All events from Norway’s appearance as Guest of Honour were streamed live and are available here: in a new window)

The 72nd Frankfurter Buchmesse will take place from 14-18 October 2020.

> Find all press releases and photos on our website. in a new window)


About Frankfurter Buchmesse

Frankfurter Buchmesse is the international publishing industry’s biggest trade fair – with over 7,450 exhibitors from 104 countries, more than 300,000 visitors, over 4,000 events and some 10,000 accredited journalists and bloggers in attendance. It is the most important international marketplace for content – from novels and children’s books to academic databases and stories for films, games and virtual reality experiences. Publishing professionals from around the world meet here with partners from the technology sector and from related creative and cultural industries, sparking new partnerships and business models. A strong conference programme ensures that Frankfurter Buchmesse is a major source of inspiration for content experts from around the world. 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. Frankfurter Buchmesse organises the participation of German publishers at around 20 international book fairs and hosts trade events throughout the year in major international markets. Frankfurter Buchmesse is a subsidiary of the Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels (German Publishers & Booksellers Association). in a new window)


Contact for the media:

Press & Corporate Communication, Frankfurter Buchmesse
Katja Böhne, Vice President Marketing & Communications, Phone: +49 (0) 69 2102-138(opens in a new window) in a new window)
Kathrin Grün, Head of Communications, Phone: +49 (0) 69 2102-170(opens in a new window) in a new window)