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05 May 2020   |   Edition:337

Hessian government gives approval for book fair / Extensive virtual programme planned

Frankfurter Buchmesse 2020 will take place. A decision to that effect was made on 28 May 2020 by the Supervisory Board of BBG (Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels Beteiligungsgesellschaft / German Publishers & Booksellers Association).
The book fair is planned to be held on the fairgrounds, throughout the city and, at the same time, virtually. The 72nd Frankfurter Buchmesse will take place on the fairgrounds in accordance with a detailed health and hygiene plan which will reflect the regulations mandated this autumn by the State of Hesse, guaranteeing the safety of visitors, exhibitors and staff attending the fair. The hygiene plan developed jointly by Frankfurter Buchmesse and Messe Frankfurt has been approved by Frankfurt’s health officials and other public authorities. Due to rapidly changing developments, it is essential that the overall situation be reviewed by the relevant specialists on an ongoing basis and any measures taken updated to reflect the evolving legal requirements.
“Frankfurter Buchmesse is the showcase for the international book industry, which is one of the reasons why it has become increasingly popular in recent years – not only with trade visitors and for the rights business, but also with readers. It has become an international forum for intellectual exchange. We want to make use of this potential for discourse despite the pandemic, maintaining it on behalf of the book industry and its future,” said Siegmar Mosdorf, Chairman of the Supervisory Board.
“This year, it is more important than ever that Frankfurter Buchmesse takes place,” emphasised Juergen Boos, director of Frankfurter Buchmesse. “Thanks to activities on the fairgrounds and to book events on site and virtually, we are putting a spotlight on our authors, industry and trends. Because of the corona pandemic, Frankfurter Buchmesse 2020 will be a special edition – an on-site programme combined with a forward-looking digital offer. We would like to thank the minister president of the State of Hesse, Volker Bouffier, the state’s economics minister, Tarek Al-Wazir, its finance minister, Michael Boddenberg, and the mayor of Frankfurt, Peter Feldmann, for their extensive support.”
Frankfurter Buchmesse expects exhibitors from throughout Europe to participate in the event in Frankfurt and, depending on future travel restrictions, from further abroad as well. Details on programme planning and this year’s campaign will be made available at the end of June.
“Frankfurter Buchmesse is part of the DNA of this city and also an icon of the trade-fair sector. We are very pleased that the industry has decided to hold the book fair in 2020, thus sending a very positive economic signal. As is always the case at Messe Frankfurt, the safety and health of all participants are being given top priority. We have developed detailed measures for social distancing, visitor flow and hygiene and will adapt them to the latest developments and requirements. The implementation will be very structured and we will support Frankfurter Buchmesse with all the resources at our disposal,” said Uwe Behm, member of the Executive Board of Messe Frankfurt.

Digital programme
Frankfurter Buchmesse’s digital programme addresses the needs of both participants on site and those joining the fair online from all over the world, offering a range of options: company and product presentations, events and venues for initiating business deals, making contact with business partners, identifying market trends and engaging in further training. “We are currently developing a range of digital formats that respond precisely to these customer needs, enabling individuals and companies from the publishing industry and related sectors worldwide to participate in Frankfurter Buchmesse 2020,” explained Juergen Boos.
To inform book fans worldwide about new publications appearing in autumn 2020, Frankfurter Buchmesse will also take place virtually for one week. A number of features are planned, including a BOOKFEST Centre, from which Frankfurter Buchmesse and its media partners will present new publications and authors and initiate related discussions.
The major German trade publishers – Verlagsgruppe Random House, the Bonnier Verlage, the Holtzbrinck Buchverlage, and Verlagsgruppe Bastei Lübbe – have worked with Frankfurter Buchmesse to initiate new types of events. They have been closely involved in the development and communication of this initiative, and will be a major part of its coming implementation.
Many initiatives have also been proposed by the book industry, which intends to contribute ideas for creating additional digital and physical formats and which has also been engaged in an active exchange with Frankfurter Buchmesse.

Guest of Honour 2020

Frankfurter Buchmesse is currently in discussion with the Department of Canadian Heritage, the organiser of the Guest of Honour activities, on a concept adapted to the current situation. A decision on this is expected shortly.


Dates: Frankfurter Buchmesse will take place from 14 to 18 October 2020.
Trade visitor days are from 14 to 18 October. At the weekend (17 and 18 October) Frankfurter Buchmesse will also be open to the general public.
Number of visitors permitted: The number of visitors permitted on the fairgrounds will be determined by the extent of the floor space used in October.
Admissions: Visitors will be admitted contactless after they have preregistered and provided a self-assessment of their state of health.
Halls: It is currently planned to use six floors of hall space (Hall Floors 3.0, 3.1, 4.0, 4.1, 6.0 and 6.1).
Stand locations: It is currently planned to finalise stand locations in mid-July.
Stand space: The smallest stand will be 8 m² in size. Exhibitors who have booked 4 m² will be given an additional 4 m² free of charge. All other stand sizes will also be expanded on a sliding scale free of charge.
Walkway widths: Each stand will also be given 1.5 metres of the walkway in front of the stand as additional “communication space”. The width of the walkways in the halls is between 6 and 8 metres.
Rights business: The literary agents’ centre LitAg (new location in Hall 6.1) can also be used this year by licencing managers from publishing houses.
Workspaces: In addition to the option of renting a stand, Frankfurter Buchmesse also offers interested parties the possibility of renting by the day workspaces located on each hall floor.
Stages: This year, the major stages will generally be replaced by digital options or more widely spaced physical venues.
Book sales: Visitors may purchase books at fixed retail prices on the Saturday and Sunday of the fair.
Registration and ticket sales are available online only. The trade visitor ticket shop is planned to be opening on 1 August 2020. To purchase tickets, visitors must complete a registration form and provide a self-assessment.
Press accreditation: Accreditation of journalists will also take place online only


Virtual Press brief on 28 May
On Thursday, 28 May 2020, at 04.00 pm Frankfurt time and 07.30 pm IST , a press brief with Juergen Boos, director of Frankfurter Buchmesse, took place. The talk was streamed live on YouTube: https://youtu.be/iofyzuaO1jU

The book fair’s president and CEO, Juergen Boos, was joined by Thomas Minkus, vice-president for English-language markets, and Kathrin Grün, the fair’s PR and communications chief, in fielding journalists’ questions.
“Bologna Children’s Book Fair and London Book Fair didn’t take place along with many other book fairs, there’s an urgent need, actually, to do business again, to talk to each other, to build up some creative attitude, as well. But it’s clear that we also need Frankfurt to interest the general audience in books again. And this is worldwide.” said Juergen Boos, Frankfurter Buchmesse
So those are two aspects, and then there’s also the political dimension. After having had political discussions last year on the fairgrounds, discussions that were very focused on topics that don’t seem to be important anymore because now the world is different.
“And we have to face these challenges and discuss this. This is what books do anyway. And we have to give these books a stage, also knowing that it’s going to be a very special edition of Frankfurt.”
The fair will utilize IPR License, the digital marketplace for international publishing rights and licensing, as part of its online offering to provide features to the worldwide industry, such as a rights repository, a catalogue of players, communications and, most importantly, a matchmaking facility that can bring together rights holders and buyers.
At the same time, the Literary Agents and Scouts’ Center, the LitAg, will have a substantial physical presence, taking advantage of newly renovated space for lots of distancing in Hall 6.1.
The digital offering is also expected to have some participation from German television and will feature complimentary inclusion of all exhibitors and trade visitors.
The Arts+, the program that bridges publishing to many other media—film, television, technology, art, music, and so on—is expected to play a prominent role in the programming (which is expected to be firmed up by the end of June).
The Frankfurt Pavilion, a relatively new addition to the fair for central events such as CEO Talks and opening press conferences, likely will not be something used this year, Boos said, as it’s comparatively small. The Agora, however, in which the pavilion normally stands, holds many possibilities for good-weather events because of the advantages to public health safety of outdoor programming.

Virtual Press Meeting: Frankfurt Book Fair 2020 on Thursday, 28 May 2020

Frankfurter Buchmesse’s Kathrin Grün, upper left; Juergen Boos, upper right; and Thomas Minkus, below at the virtual press brief on Thursday, 28 May 2020

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Associated links:
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