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In-person exhibition on the fairgrounds / Hybrid programme

As the leading trade fair for the international publishing and content industry, Frankfurter Buchmesse (20-24 October 2021) is further developing its in-person events and digital offerings. The 73rd edition of the industry’s largest gathering is set to take place on the fairgrounds in Frankfurt, subject to the pandemic’s further progression and the health and safety regulations in effect in October. The on-site fair will be supplemented by digital and hybrid offerings, along with a programme of events in the city. Frankfurter Buchmesse 2021 is being supported by funds from the German government’s NEUSTART KULTUR programme. Registration for Frankfurter Buchmesse is still open.

In-person fair with exhibitors from currently 60 countries

Publishers, agents, service providers and industry-adjacent institutions from 60 countries have registered for an exhibition stand at the book fair to date. The regions of North America, Latin America and Asia will be represented in the exhibition halls with national stands, as will the major European book markets, including France, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Scandinavia and Central and Eastern Europe. English and French-language publishing houses from Canada will also be welcoming visitors at collective stands on the fairgrounds. Virtually all of the major German publishing groups and the entire range of German-language literary and non-fiction publishers have registered to take part in Frankfurter Buchmesse 2021. In addition, the exhibition halls will feature numerous publishers from the areas of art and children’s books, religion, education and academia.

Health and safety plan for Frankfurter Buchmesse

To ensure the safety of all participants, the Frankfurter Buchmesse team has developed a comprehensive health and safety plan for the fair, in keeping with the Covid-19 regulations issued by the state of Hesse and in close cooperation with the local health authorities and Messe Frankfurt. Admission to the fairgrounds will only be possible with a personalised ticket. Visitors will only be permitted to enter after they demonstrate that they fulfil the applicable requirements; currently, this means they must show documentation confirming that they are fully vaccinated, or that they have been tested for Covid-19 and are negative. The generous layout of all levels in the exhibition halls and the limited total number of participants will help prevent crowding. The distribution of visitors across the fairgrounds and the adherence to social-distancing requirements will be monitored through video feeds. Additional staff will be deployed in the halls to implement the health and safety plan and to ensure that all safety measures are being adhered to. Information on the plan will be continually updated on the Frankfurter Buchmesse website: https://www.buchmesse.de/en/safety-2021. In addition, the book fair team will support exhibitors as they plan their presence at the fair by providing detailed recommendations and individualised advice.


Guest of Honour Canada

Using the motto “Singular Plurality – Singulier Pluriel”, Canada, this year’s Guest of Honour at Frankfurter Buchmesse, is organising the physical Guest of Honour pavilion on Level 1 of the Forum. In parallel, a hybrid programme will feature numerous Canadian authors, illustrators and artists. Events related to Canada’s role as Guest of Honour are also planned for the ARD Book Fair Stage; exhibitions and readings will be held in the city of Frankfurt. The list of new releases for Frankfurter Buchmesse currently includes over 380 titles by Canadian authors or about Canada. https://canadafbm2021.com

Programme on the fairgrounds

Preparations for the hybrid programme are well underway: Together with media partners ARD, ZDF, DER SPIEGEL, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and many other institutions, Frankfurter Buchmesse is planning a combination of on-site events broadcast live, events in the city of Frankfurt, and digital offerings. In addition, Frankfurter Buchmesse is working with ARD and numerous distribution partners to develop a digital strategy for increasing its reach and visibility.

Numerous authors have already confirmed that they will appear at Frankfurter Buchmesse 2021: Helen MacDonald, Bülent Ceylan, Colm Tobín, Johanna Adorján, Elke Heidenreich, Prof. Dietrich Grönemeyer, Daniela Krien, Janina Kugl, Eva Menasse, Emine Sevgi Özdamar, Sven Regener, Edgar Selge, Aminata Touré and many others, all of whom will present their new publications at the fair.

The ARD Book Fair Stage will again be situated in the Festhalle, where panel discussions and book presentations will take place under the motto “How do we want to live? Our stage for the future”. The focus will be on much-discussed topics such as justice, sustainability, diversity, housing and the world of work, as well as education and digitalisation. All events on the ARD Book Fair Stage will be streamed live on the Frankfurter Buchmesse website.

The autumn book season’s most relevant authors will take a seat on the Blaues Sofa (Blue Sofa), again located in Hall 3.1. As in the past, the week of events will be curated by partners Bertelsmann, ZDF, Deutschlandfunk Kultur and 3Sat and livestreamed at www.dasblauesofa.zdf.de.

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. 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).

Events in the city: BOOKFEST city and OPEN BOOKS

In this exceptional year, Frankfurt will once again turn into an inspiring stage for culture, thanks to BOOKFEST city. The popular festival will take place in venues throughout Frankfurt, celebrating stars from the international cultural and literary scene. BOOKFEST city will offer events over all five days of the fair. The festival is a perfect stage for authors and ideas, and creates memorable experiences in a unique atmosphere across the city of Frankfurt. The range of activities will include events with best-selling authors, poetry slams, tastings, concerts, parties, discussion panels, workshops, and many other formats.

OPEN BOOKS, the city-wide reading festival held during the book fair, will also take place before a live audience in 2021. Publishers from Germany, Austria and Switzerland will present their new non-fiction titles for the autumn season, along with German-language and international fiction. Also planned is a discussion of the recommended reading list published by broadcaster SWR, along with an event featuring the candidates for the Swiss Book Prize, and the Blue Sofa, which will have its kick-off event in the German National Library. The Römer, Frankfurt’s City Hall, will open its doors for the traditional reading marathon, Literature in the Römer, on the Wednesday and Thursday. OPEN BOOKS KIDS will again present new Childrens and YA books at the weekend. As always, the venues for the roughly 100 OPEN BOOKS readings will be located near the Römer and in the city centre. The reading festival is being supported this year by the German government’s NEUSTART KULTUR programme.


Digital offerings for trade visitors and the public

Frankfurter Buchmesse is developing a long-term digital strategy, together with technology and information provider MVB and the SYZYGY GROUP. This entails testing and developing robust digital business models for the B2B and B2C segments that can complement the on-site exhibition over the long term and regardless of how the pandemic develops. It also includes jointly creating and expanding digital platforms.
These efforts will focus on the practical benefits available to exhibiting organizations, trade visitors and the public. Based on the experiences gained in 2020, the SYZYGY GROUP is further developing Frankfurter Buchmesse’s digital offerings and optimising its customer journey. These activities are taking place under the leadership of diffferent, SYZYGY’s Berlin-based strategy and business design consultancy, and in cooperation with SYZYGY Techsolutions. The partnership is initially set to run until 2024.


In 2021, trade visitors can look forward once again to the Frankfurt Conference and the networking event The Hof. New this year will be the Master Classes: intensive one-hour sessions examining best practices and offering ample opportunity for exchange. Both exhibitors as well as customers who have opted not to have a stand at this year’s fair are invited to get involved in these formats. In addition, companies can register as digital exhibitors in the Exhibitor Directory and include their events in the Calendar of Events. 

At the traditional Frankfurt CEO Talk on Wednesday, 20 October 2021, the spotlight will be on a top manager of a globally leading publishing group. Questions will revolve around the strategic as well as day-to-day navigation through the pandemic crisis. The event will introduce the Global 50 World Publishing Ranking with editors of trade magazines Bookdao (China), Buchreport (Germany), Livres Hebdo (France) and Publishers Weekly (USA), moderated by Rüdiger Wischenbart.

A B2C format is currently in development. Detailed information and pricing will be made available shortly. More information is available here: https://www.buchmesse.de/en/exhibit/digital-presentation-options

Frankfurt Rights and matchmaking

Frankfurt Rights, the digital rights platform at Frankfurter Buchmesse, will be available to professionals in the rights trade for their business transactions. The platform currently features over 1,500 companies and more than 10,000 individual buyer and seller profiles, along with a database containing 400,000 titles.
All book-fair participants who have created a profile on MyBookFair can again use the matchmaking function. https://www.buchmesse.de/en/digital-fair/matchmaking

Ticket shop and book sales

Ticket sales for trade visitors and members of the public wishing to attend the 73rd Frankfurter Buchmesse will begin in August. In 2021 for the first time, Frankfurter Buchmesse will be open to the general public as of 2:00 pm on the Friday (October 22). This year, book sales are permitted on all days the fair is open to the public.

Contact for the media:

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

> Find all press releases and photos on our website. https://www.buchmesse.de/en/press/

About Frankfurter Buchmesse

Frankfurter Buchmesse is the international publishing industry’s biggest trade fair and 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. 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 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). https://www.buchmesse.de/en