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Plan your visit to the fair

From Frankfurt to the world: 72nd Frankfurter Buchmesse goes on the air with 260 hours of programming

More than 750 participants across all channels / Approximately 4,400 digital exhibitors from 103 countries / 2,100 events during the week of the fair / buchmesse.de serves as a digital showcase for the global book industry

Frankfurt, 13 October 2020 – The 72nd Frankfurter Buchmesse – this year’s Special Edition – is making the international publishing industry’s globe-spanning network visible: The exhibitor directory – an industry catalogue that currently has almost 4,400 entries – includes publishers, literary agents and service providers from over 100 countries. The largest contingent comprises players from the German-speaking world – 1,283 digital exhibitors from Germany, Switzerland (104) and Austria (90) – followed by the UK (418), the US (332), Canada and China (126 each), France (116) and Brazil (67). Smaller territories and countries with less extensive book markets can also be found in the directory, e.g. publishers and organisations from Albania, Brunei, Iraq, Cameroon, Nepal and many other nations.

Over 750 speakers will contribute to shaping the digital programme of Frankfurter Buchmesse - Special Edition in the days to come, including Margaret Atwood, Bernardine Evaristo, Edward Snowden, Joshua Wong, Chilly Gonzales and Malakoff Kowalski, Leïla Slimani, Francesca Melandri, Bruno Latour and many others.

“Frankfurter Buchmesse brings together people from all continents who are committed to spreading the world and making knowledge accessible. This year, the pandemic forced us to rethink our approach: Although it will not be possible to use the exhibition halls to present publishers’ catalogues and new technologies, we wanted to facilitate interactions and an exchange among industry professionals, even if this will happen primarily via digital means. One of Frankfurter Buchmesse’s main tasks is to offer a forum for social and political discourse and make it possible to experience the many voices engaged in literary storytelling. While digital venues cannot replace face-to-face meetings, they can enable communication across thousands of kilometres. Tradition-rich and self-assured, the book and publishing industry has positioned itself more broadly using digital technology – and has become more accessible as a result. That is, for me, a strong signal of hope,” said Juergen Boos at the opening press conference in Frankfurt’s Festhalle.

Karin Schmidt-Friderichs, chairwoman of the German Publishers & Booksellers Association, called for the industry to continue investing in the future: “Books are crisis-proof and an indispensable part of society. But the competing media are not standing idly by, and the way people live, buy and read is changing. Bookshops and publishing houses are working on new ways to generate enthusiasm for books, now and in the future. In addition to those efforts, we should combine the enhanced digital skills developed during the corona pandemic with our traditional expertise. We will continue, moreover, to work at making books more visible and ensuring children and young people learn to read in all possible contexts.”

“Every October during the book fair, the literary world looks to the metropolis on the Main and to Hesse. We are cosmopolitan, international, located in the heart of Europe and, thus, exactly the right place for a fair dedicated to free thought and free speech. This year, unfortunately, the corona pandemic has not left the fair and publishers unaffected. All of us would have liked to see more publishers, exhibitors and visitors physically present in Frankfurt, not least because the city and its fairgrounds are one of the largest marketplaces for book publishing. Instead of taking place as a traditional exhibition, the fair is being held as a ‘Special Edition’ – not only in Frankfurt, but, above all, digitally. I can only recommend having a look at the website listing the fair’s events. We in Hesse are proud that one of the world’s most important trade fairs for literary endeavours is located in our home state. I wish the world’s publishing houses all the best for the future. To all the fair’s visitors, whether digital or physically present on site: I hope your days here are as exciting as they are insightful,” said Volker Bouffier, minister president of the state of Hesse.

The main platform for the events at the Frankfurter Buchmesse – Special Edition is the ARD Book Fair Stage in the Festhalle. That is where some 60 happenings will take place during all five days of the fair – without a live audience, due to the increasing number of Covid-19 cases in Frankfurt and throughout Germany. All events are being streamed at www.buchmesse.de/live and www.buchmesse.de.ard.de.

Managing director of Hessischer Rundfunk, Manfred Krupp, emphasised: “Books as a medium are incredibly diverse. I am very pleased that in this challenging year we are a partner to Frankfurter Buchmesse and are organising ARD’s offerings. We will be reaching out to our audience in a variety of ways, including through the multifaceted programme taking place on the ARD stage, through the website buchmesse.ard.de and through our wide-ranging reportage on radio and television. We are covering the full range of societal debates by offering a platform for the relevant discourse.”

Sustainability, diversity, inclusion – those are issues Lydia Hilebrand, co-founder of Munich-based publishing house &Töchter, is passionate about. The book fair’s opening press conference allowed the young publisher to present her views: “It is high time to act responsibly. We want to set ecological standards, which is why we have our books produced using methods that are as climate friendly as possible. We want to open the world of literature to everyone and show even non-readers that reading is more than just a boring subject from school. We are not merely a new publishing house that wants a piece of the pie. We want to work with everyone to bake bigger, more colourful pies.”

The live program at Frankfurter Buchmesse can be found at www.buchmesse.de/live. Here, the highlight for literature fans BOOKFEST digital will also be broadcast live on 17 October (9.30 am until midnight (CEST)) and a total of 70 hours of international conference and professional programming will be streamed from 12-18 October (direct links: www.bookfest.de/en/digitalwww.buchmesse.de/conference2020 and www.buchmesse.de/b2bevents). Information on the Signals of Hope campaign: http://signalsofhope.buchmesse.de. The events taking place on the ARD Book Fair Stage will be recorded and streamed at www.buchmesse.ard.de

The Frankfurter Buchmesse exhibitor directory and calendar of events can be accessed at: https://www.buchmesse.de/en/digital-fair/events-and-exhibitors

Frankfurt Rights provides rights managers with access to a digital rights platform that is used by publishers, agents, scouts, film producers, screenwriters and merchandisers. This is where programme directors can find the new titles they are looking for. Thanks to generous support by the German government’s NEUSTART KULTUR programme, this year’s digital offerings can be accessed free of charge until summer 2021.

The press kit (as of 13 October 2020) is available here for download: https://www.buchmesse.de/en/press/press-material


Contact for the media:

Press & Corporate Communication, Frankfurter Buchmesse
Katja Böhne, Vice President Marketing & Communications, Phone: +49 (0) 69 2102-138press@buchmesse.de
Kathrin Grün, Head of Communications, Phone: +49 (0) 69 2102-170gruen@buchmesse.de