The 70th Frankfurter Buchmesse ended with an increase of 0.8 percent in visitors at the weekend and a slight decrease of 1.8 percent during the trade visitor days. A total of 285,024 (2017: 286,425) visitors attended the fair, 0.5 percent less than in 2017. Overall, international attendance increased at the fair this year, both in terms of exhibitors and trade visitors. With 7,503 exhibitors from 109 countries taking part at this year’s Frankfurter Buchmesse, the fair experienced a slight increase. The Literary Agents & Scouts Centre (LitAg) also grew once again, with 528 booked tables (2017: 500 tables), 795 agents (788) and 337 agencies (321) from 31 countries, including 19 new agencies. A total of 3,000 people took part in the conferences and workshops in THE ARTS+ area, while 125,000 people visited the innovative area in Hall 4.1. The BOOKFEST events in the Frankfurt Pavilion and in the city attracted 25,000 visitors.
“As the most international event of its kind, Frankfurter Buchmesse is the ideal place to discuss topics affecting the global community. We saw a noticeable increase in the need for political participation; the desire is increasing to represent one’s own position and participate in the public discourse. A number of topics predominated during this year’s activities, including the importance of human rights, along with displacement and migration, populism and civic engagement. During the trade visitor days, the focus was on international book markets and industry trends,” said Juergen Boos, Director of Frankfurter Buchmesse. Many trade publishers said of this year’s fair that business was strong, from the connections they made to the titles they bought and sold.
Heinrich Riethmüller, Chairman of the German Publishers and Booksellers Association, said: “The 70th Frankfurter Buchmesse had its finger on the pulse of the times. The book industry took a clear stance in favour of human rights, freedom, diversity and respect. For five days, Frankfurt was the world’s largest trading centre for content and stories. The book fair demonstrated that it is a place of ideas and debates – and a huge reading festival as well. It was possible to clearly experience the enthusiasm people have for books and the meaning literature has for them. Publishers and booksellers are working intensively to develop new connections to today’s customers, something that was also palpable at the fair.”
The campaign On The Same Page also attracted international attention. Initiated by Frankfurter Buchmesse and the German Publishers and Booksellers Association and carried out in cooperation with ARTE, ZDF and DER SPIEGEL and with support from the United Nations and Amnesty International, the campaign will be further developed in coming months.
Speaking of Guest of Honour Georgia, Boos said: “Georgia’s presentation touched the hearts of the fair’s visitors – a presentation that expansively showcased the Georgian alphabet with elegance and ease, one that included performances, music, culinary discoveries, readings and, above all, an impressive range of literary voices. The team led by Medea Metreveli put together a brilliant programme and introduced us in just a few days to Georgia’s ‘characters’ and its age-old culture. Georgia invited us to take a journey of discovery – an invitation we gladly accepted.” Following a literary talk with the Georgian author Zurab Karumidze and the Norwegian author Åsne Seierstad, the role of Guest of Honour was handed over to Norway. Musicians Mathias Eick, Kjetil Bjerkestrand and Herborg Kråkevik from Norway enriched the Handover Ceremony with sounds from the far north.
One highlight was the new Frankfurt Pavilion, which was opened by Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier. World-class authors turned Frankfurter Buchmesse into a literary festival: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie set the tone with her impressive speech on highly current topics such as migration, racism and women’s rights. During the five days of the fair, authors such as Paul Beatty, Dmitry Glukhovsky, Maja Lunde, Laksmi Pamuntiak, David Sedaris, Nguyen Ngoc Tu, Meg Wolitzer and many others thrilled their audiences.