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Digital: Frankfurt Conference, Masterclasses and The Hof to precede Frankfurter Buchmesse / Hybrid: WIPO Publishing Industry Report, International Excellence Award for Accessible Publishing, and Global CEO Talk in the Frankfurt Studio Inside Publishing programme / Premiere for STARTS Day / On site: new Education Forum in Hall 3.1

Frankfurt am Main, 1 September 2021 – Frankfurter Buchmesse will bring the international publishing community together again this year. Publishers, service providers and literary agents from over 60 countries have registered for the 73rd Frankfurter Buchmesse, which is scheduled to take place from 20-24 October 2021 as an in-person event with digital and hybrid offerings. Over 110 organisations will be participating in the book fair for the first time this year. Many exhibitors will be present at 41 national collective stands, including those from Argentina, Bulgaria, Estonia, France, Japan, Switzerland, Taiwan and Hungary. Both Canada’s French- and English-language book markets will be on site at Frankfurter Buchmesse with a collective stand. And the fair’s future Guests of Honour – Spain (2022), Slovenia (2023) and Italy (2024) – will also be in attendance at large country stands.

“What we’re hearing from many exhibitors is that in-person interactions cannot be replaced by digital venues. That’s why this year we’re working to bring people back together, so the industry can emerge from the crisis stronger than before. The strategies that have proven successful in responding to the Covid-19 pandemic will be one of the most frequently discussed topics at this year’s fair, along with diversity and sustainability,” says Juergen Boos, president of Frankfurter Buchmesse.

Planning efforts are focusing on providing a safe event for all participants in keeping with the relevant health regulations. “We have a special permit to hold the Frankfurter Buchmesse: According to the current health and safety plan, 25,000 participants will be able to visit the book fair each day,” Boos says.   

To facilitate in-person interactions that are as safe as possible, Frankfurter Buchmesse has cooperated closely with the health authorities in Frankfurt and with Messe Frankfurt to develop a hygiene plan that ensures the book fair can take place without putting visitors at risk. This includes an indoor air supply of 100-percent fresh, non-recirculated air, a generous layout of the exhibition halls and entrances, intensive cleaning procedures, catering that reflects current health and safety needs, and the wearing of masks. According to current planning, entrance to the fairgrounds will only be permitted to individuals who are vaccinated, who have recently tested negative or who have recovered from Covid-19. Ticketing will take place online and will require a full registration of personal information, thereby ensuring contact tracing will be possible, if necessary.

Part of the trade programme will take place online prior to the book fair itself, in the week of 11-15 October 2021. This will include the two-day Frankfurt Conference and the Masterclasses, intensive 45-minute sessions for sharing best practices and detailed expertise.

Before the fair, digital only: Frankfurt Conference and Masterclasses

Frankfurt Conference: Academic Publishing

Monday, 11 October, 2.30-5.00 pm

The first day of Frankfurt Conference will be all about academic publishing, while on Tuesday CEOs and publishers from all industry segments will discuss current challenges and developments affecting the publishing sector. Both days of the conference will end with a The Hof networking session.
With: David Worlock, Digital Strategy Advisor and Co-chair of Outsell Executive Programs, among others.

Frankfurt Conference: Trade Publishing

Tuesday, 12 October, 2.30-5.00 pm

The focus will be on the implications of the Covid-19 pandemic for the book trade and publishers, and the strategies and innovations that have resulted. Other topics include current literary film adaptations and the rights business, as well as trending developments in the children’s book market.

With: Siv Bublitz, Managing Director, S. Fischer Verlage; and Cyrus Kheradi, Senior Vice President International Sales and Marketing, Penguin Random House, Peter Warwick, President and CEO, Scholastic among others.

Monday to Friday, 11-15 October 2021, times TBC

From 11 to 15 October, daily one-hour Masterclasses are planned for presenting production innovations and compelling business cases. The hosts of the Masterclasses include Copyright Clearance Center, Speechki, Bookwire and Brasil CBL Camara Basiliero do Livro.

Tickets for Frankfurt Conference (11-12 October 2021) will go on sale in mid-September 2021. Participation in the Masterclasses (11-15 October) is free of charge; the application process will begin in mid-September.

The Hof

The new The Hof season begins on 30 September with 15 new networking sessions, which will take place until mid-December 2021. The sessions will allow the global publishing community to meet at the virtual bar accompanied by live music, listen together to interesting speakers and find new business partners during breakout events. The programme highlights include sessions with high-profile industry players and promising up-and-coming talents. Participation is free. Registration for all The Hof sessions begins in mid-September at

The Hof with Andrew Nurnberg (live from the Frankfurter Hof) and Cornelia Funke

Tuesday, 19 October, 6-7 pm, Zoom 

Moderator: Felix Zeltner

The Hof: Annual reception for the Frankfurter Buchmesse Fellowship Programme

Thursday, 21 October, 5-6 pm, Zoom 

After an interview with French publisher and Frankfurt Fellowship participant Marie-Pierre Gracedieu (Le Bruit du monde), all current and former participants of the Frankfurt Fellowship and guests will have the opportunity to get to know each other and exchange ideas during breakout sessions.

International trade programme during the week of the fair

International trade programme Frankfurt Studio: Inside Publishing

Public viewing at the book fair: During the week of the fair, from 20-22 October, events held as part of the trade programme Frankfurt Studio – Inside Publishing will be shown live on an LED screen on the Agora, the open space between the exhibition halls. Frankfurt Studio is a fully equipped 500-square-metre studio with a multifunctional stage 72 square metres in size. A majority of the events will be streamed lived from the studio on Registration is not required. Programme highlights include:

The impact of COVID-19 on the global publishing industry

Wednesday, 20 October, 11 am - 12 pm, livestream on the Agora and on

Covid-19 has had a huge impact on the global economy. At this digital panel, co-organised by WIPO and Frankfurter Buchmesse, the chief economist of WIPO, Carsten Fink, will launch the WIPO Publishing Industry Report and, together with three industry experts, will take a closer look at the impact of Covid-19 on the publishing industries. With Carsten Fink, Chief Economist, WIPO; Bodour Al Qasimi, President, International Publishers Association (IPA); Andre Breedt, Managing Director, Nielsen Book; and John Degan, Chair, International Authors Forum. The moderator for the event will be Benedicte Page, Deputy Editor, The Bookseller.

Global CEO Talk 2021
Wednesday, 20 October, 2-3 pm, livestream on the Agora and on

Klaus Driever, Managing Director at Allianz, will be the guest at the traditional Global CEO Talk, presented by Bookdao (China), buchreport (Germany), Livres Hebdo (France) and Publishers Weekly (USA). Moderated by Rüdiger Wischenbart, the event is being organised in partnership with Frankfurter Buchmesse and the ReBoot Books series of professional debates. Discussion will focus on the current edition of the annual Global 50 Ranking of the International Publishing Industry, which has been researched by Rüdiger Wischenbart since 2007. 
During the 60-minute session, Klaus Driever will report on his experience in both book retail and publishing and talk about remarkably similar patterns of digital change across industries.

Accessibility Now: Will you be ready for the European Accessibility Act in 2025?
Wednesday, 20 October, 3-4 pm, livestream on the Agora and on
In less than four years, the European Accessibility Act will require any publisher doing business in Europe to make their e-books available in accessible formats. This practical session, co-organised by the Federation of European Publishers, Frankfurter Buchmesse, the International Publishers Association and the World Intellectual Property Organization, will focus on two simple questions: what do publishers need to do and how can they do it? The session will include the award ceremony for WIPO’s ABC International Excellence Award for Accessible Publishing – celebrating inspirational publishers and initiatives helping make books accessible for all. Moderator: James Taylor, Director of Communications and Freedom to Publish, International Publishers Association. Speakers: Laura Brady, House of Anansi; Rachel Comerford, Macmillan Learning; Cristina Mussinelli, LIA Foundation.

Frankfurter Buchmesse’s Guest of Honour 2022 Spain: Have a Look at Spain
Wednesday, 20 October, 5-6 pm,
livestream on the Agora and on

The Future of Independent Publishing

Thursday, 21 October, 2.00-3.45 pm, livestream on the Agora and on

Approximately one dozen speakers from different countries will come together at this event to discuss current issues affecting independent publishers. During a series of short talks, the participants will address the local challenges their companies face. Curated by Porter Anderson, editor-in-chief of Publishing Perspectives, together with independent publishers, the programme points include topics such as “A World Beyond Zoom: The Future of International Rights Meetings and Rights Trading”, Who Are We and Who Do We Want to Be? The Future of Diversity in Publishing” and “Between Gold Rush and Apocalypse: The Future of Book Markets After (or with) Covid”.

Frankfurter Buchmesse’s Guest of Honour 2022: Spain: A session on ebooks and audiobooks in Spain
Thursday, 21 October, 4-5 pm,
livestream on the Agora and on

STARTS Day at Frankfurter Buchmesse

On Friday, 22 October, Frankfurter Buchmesse will be hosting a STARTS Day for the first time. This year, Frankfurter Buchmesse became a partner of STARTS – an initiative of the European Commission meant to foster alliances of technology and artistic practice that effectively implement European policymaking. The focus is on people and projects that contribute to mastering the social, ecological and economic challenges the continent faces.

In various hybrid formats and presentations, topics such as sustainability, humans in the digital world and the climate and biodiversity crisis will be explored on this day from different perspectives, such as art, technology and science. This will be achieved through, among other things, insights into the work done by projects recognised with the 2021 STARTS Prize: Remix el Barrio and Oceans in Transformation as well as On View and The Growing Pavilion. The award-winning projects will present their innovative approaches and products in the fields of upcycling, artificial intelligence and mixed reality, as well as the exploration and artistic representation of climate change.

THE ARTS+ exhibition in the Forum and programme streamed live

20-24 October, THE ARTS+ Area, Forum Level 0 and in the Frankfurt Studio livestream

Through THE ARTS+, Frankfurter Buchmesse and project partner B3 are again creating a space for media art and moving images, for innovative media developments and expert discourse on the future of the global cultural industries. As part of this cooperation, which has existed since 2018, 10 works by artists from the B3 Forum of the Moving Image will be shown in THE ARTS+ Area at Frankfurter Buchmesse – from animation to crypto art.

Award ceremonies on the fairgrounds and in the city

As in past years, renowned literary and industry prizes will be awarded as part of Frankfurter Buchmesse. Key events will be the awarding of the German Book Prize on Monday, 18 October, in Frankfurt's Römer, and the awarding of the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade on Sunday, 24 October, in the city’s St. Paul’s Church. This year, the latter prize is being given to author and filmmaker Tsitsi Dangarembga from Zimbabwe. The sociologist and activist Auma Obama will deliver the October address. Both ceremonies are planned as on-site events with guests, in accordance with the coronavirus regulations in force in October. Both events will be broadcast live. On Wednesday, 20 October, the ABC International Excellence Award for Accessible Publishing will be given by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) at Frankfurter Buchmesse for the first time. The year’s best book on a business subject will be honoured on Friday, 22 October, when the German Business Book Prize (awarded by trade daily Handelsblatt) is presented at Hotel Steigenberger Frankfurter Hof. The festive ceremony for the German Youth Literature Award will take place on Friday, 22 October, in the Congress Center Messe Frankfurt (CMF).

Frankfurt EDU: New Education Forum at Frankfurter Buchmesse

20-22 October, Hall 3.1 C28 – In-person event

For the first time, Frankfurter Buchmesse and trade association Verband Bildungsmedien e. V. are partnering to realise a joint forum. Located in the Frankfurt EDU Area in Hall 3.1, the Education Forum will offer a stage for exchanging ideas on current topics impacting the educational debate in Germany. This central meeting point is being organised by Frankfurter Buchmesse, Verband Bildungsmedien e. V. and LitCam and will address the topic of publishers as providers of digital, analogue and hybrid products. Taking place mainly in German, the discussions will focus on how publishers and initiatives can help overcome the many educational challenges, from early childhood education to lifelong learning. A detailed press release on the forum will follow shortly.

Frankfurter Buchmesse 2021 is being supported by funds from the German government’s NEUSTART KULTUR programme.