Frankfurt book fair

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Frankfurt book fair

Branch Books
Place of issue GermanyGermany messefrankfurt
Last exhibition
date October 16, 2019 to
October 20, 2019
Visitors 302.267
Exhibitors 7,450
Next exhibition
date Oct 14, 2020 to
Oct 18, 2020
Previous logo until 2010

The Frankfurt Book Fair is an international book fair that takes place every October on the grounds of Messe Frankfurt . It was founded in 1949 by the German Book Trade Association. Regional and thematic priorities have been established since 1976; Every year since 1988 it has given special attention to the literature and culture of a host country. During the book fair, the German Book Prize , the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade , the German Youth Literature Prize and many other industry awards are presented.


Book catalog for the Frankfurt fasting fair 1573

The Frankfurt Book Fair has a tradition going back more than 500 years. There was already a book fair in Frankfurt am Main in the early modern times, after Johannes Gutenberg revolutionized book printing in Mainz , just a few kilometers from Frankfurt, and the book printers Johannes Fust , Peter Schöffer and Konrad Henckis made the Frankfurt fair the hub of the handwriting trade to replace the publishing book trade .

Frankfurt am Main remained the central book fair city in Europe until the late 17th century. The political and cultural upheavals as a result of the Reformation increasingly impaired business. The censorship by the Imperial Book Commission , which saw itself as the spearhead of the Catholic Counter-Reformation, turned out to be fatal . Frankfurt was finally out of the Leipzig Book Fair in the Age of Enlightenment replaced in his role. The book fair in Frankfurt only revived two centuries later as a result of the division of Germany: 205 German exhibitors gathered from September 18 to 23, 1949 in the Paulskirche in Frankfurt for the first book fair of the post-war period. Just a few years later, however, foreign exhibitors made up the majority; the Frankfurt Book Fair became the first truly international event of its kind.

Numerous prizes are awarded during the Frankfurt Book Fair. The Peace Prize of the German Book Trade is politically the most important. There are also many other industry awards, some of a serious kind, such as the German Youth Literature Prize or the getAbstract International Book Award for business books, some of a less serious kind, such as the Diagram Prize , which has been awarded since 1979, for the most unusual English-language book title of the year. Since 2008 there has been a corresponding award for German-language titles that are recognized as the most curious book titles of the year .

The Frankfurt Book Fair has also been open to electronic media since 1993. The fair thus showed, against much resistance in the association and in the public, a clear sign of the future development of the book industry. Since 2003, the Frankfurt Book Fair has been increasingly serving book marketing. To this end, seven presentation forums were opened in the various halls. The establishment of the Forum Film & TV also served to integrate new customer and exhibitor groups. This principle was continued in 2011 with the establishment of HotSpots . Lecture events also take place in the Translator and Librarian Center on audio books and the modern antiquarian bookshop .

The Frankfurt Antiquarian Book Fair has been affiliated since 2005 and will operate under the name Rare Books & Fine Art Frankfurt from 2019 . For the first time in 2005, a joint industry presentation for magazine publishers in the specialist, general and international press and a joint exhibition Games & Games were set up with the Nuremberg Toy Fair.

The German Book Prize , worth 37,500 euros , was awarded for the first time in 2005. The winner receives 25,000 euros, the other five authors on the shortlist each receive 2,500 euros. The German Book Prize is awarded annually at the start of the Frankfurt Book Fair in the Kaisersaal of the Frankfurter Römer . Only on the evening of the award ceremony will the six authors find out which of them the award goes to.

The first prize winner was Arno Geiger , the award went to his novel Es geht uns gut .

Considerations to relocate the book fair from Frankfurt to Munich caused uncertainty in 2003. The reason for this was the high cost of renting a stand and the hotels in Frankfurt, especially for smaller publishers. The related negotiations led to an extensive discussion about the location of the fair, but were ultimately not pursued any further.

In 2006 the book fair founded the “Focus on Education” with “Litcam”, a literary campaign aimed against illiteracy in Germany and around the world. 2007 in this context u. a. started a short story project (Who's on the line? Call for free) by and about people with a migration background .

The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung published a free book fair newspaper from 2008 to 2013. It appeared daily with 24 pages and a circulation of 40,000 copies and was also offered for download in PDF format on the publisher's website the evening before. From 2014 to 2018, the book fair newspaper was replaced by a blog. The “book fair blog” that Margarete Stokowski has been running for the daily newspaper taz since 2013 has also become known .

In 2009 the selection of the host country China caused criticism. At a China symposium held in the run-up to the book fair in mid-September, a large part of the Chinese delegation left the hall after the government-critical writers Bei Ling and Dai Qing took the floor. Both had previously been unloaded under pressure from China, but arrived anyway. Book fair director Juergen Boos then apologized to the delegation and later admitted "unnecessary compromises" when planning the conference.

In 2015, Salman Rushdie's presence at the opening press conference was officially rejected by the Iranian government, but some publishers based in Iran were still represented with a stand, albeit not directly next to the large official stand, the empty one stayed. For the first time there was a new trade fair concept without Hall 8, which was traditionally reserved for Anglo-Saxon publishers; their stands were relocated to Halls 6 and 4.2.

In 2016, the area “The Arts +” in Hall 4.1 was added to the program of the fair, where - in close proximity to the exhibitors of artist books and the antiquarian book fair and next to a connected conference - artistic content and business models as well as concepts related to the topics of virtual reality and 3D printing were shown.

The increased participation of publishers belonging to the New Right led to controversy in 2017. On October 14, 2017, right-wing politicians appeared in Hall 4.2, as well as a demonstration and fights that were stopped by the police. The book fair distanced itself from all forms of violence and pointed out that, due to its worldwide monopoly, it was legally obliged to grant such publishers access to the exhibition. As a result, the exhibition stands in the vicinity of the aforementioned unrest were relocated to a dead end on the edge of the hall for the following years.

In 2018 the 70th Frankfurt Book Fair took place from October 9th to 14th. The creative industry fair “The Arts +” had 3000 participants. The “Bookfest” in the Frankfurt Pavilion was new to the program and attracted around 25,000 participants on the exhibition grounds and in the city of Frankfurt. Since 2018 also marked the 70th anniversary of the proclamation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights , the Book Fair officially referred to it many times, including with the campaign “On the same page”, which advocated freedom of expression and freedom of the press. In the run-up to the fair, the Börsenverein published a market study according to which the number of book buyers in Germany would have decreased by 6.1 million between 2012 and 2018. During the fair, the media change and the associated loss of the position of the book as a leading medium were discussed.

At the book fair, which took place from 16 to 20 October 2019, it was the publishers allowed the public days on weekends books indexed to the price to sell retail. The number of private visitors rose by 9.2 percent to 157,695, and that of trade visitors by 1.9 percent compared to the previous year. One focus of the fair was the streaming of audio and video content, for which an "audio area" was set up. The US television streaming provider Netflix announced three new series at the fair, and the web radio presented itself on the fringes of the creative fair “The Arts +” as a “ podcast radio” on its tenth anniversary . The “Literary Agents & Scouts Center (LitAg)” and the “Publishers Rights Corner” were housed in the festival hall for the first time due to the modernization of Hall 6 and the elimination of the third level there.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic in Germany , there will be no exhibitor stands in the exhibition halls in 2020. Instead, a stage program will be staged in the festival hall on the exhibition grounds together with ARD . In the rest of the city, free readings will take place at a “Bookfest City”, for which customers must register in advance, around 80 events are planned. The publishers' rights trading is handled digitally. The federal state minister for culture, Monika Grütters , promised 4 million euros in funding from the Corona economic stimulus program “Neustart Kultur”, especially for free digital offers that will be streamed live on the Internet during the trade fair. The program items, the German Book Prize and the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade , have their ceremonies broadcast live, but, like the opening event, will be held without an audience on site.

Function of the fair

As a trade fair , the book fair primarily serves publishers , literary agents , booksellers , librarians , scientists, illustrators, service providers, film producers, translators, printers, associations, artists, authors, antiquarians , but also software and multimedia providers to present their products and services Closing deals. The trade in book licenses and rights takes place in a separate agent center.

This so-called B2B business between companies is the focus of the fair, which is primarily aimed at the general public, who are only granted access on the last two days of the fair.

In addition, the fair is increasingly used as a production location for radio broadcasts. During the days of the fair, radio and television broadcasters will be holding talk shows on their own stage, many of which are broadcast live or streamed on the Internet , such as the ZDF's Blue Sofa . The importance of the journalistic offers is reflected in the large number of accredited reporters. In 2016 around 10,000 journalists reported from the fair; including 2,000 bloggers.

The Frankfurt Book Fair promotes the translation of German literature abroad in cooperation with the Federal Foreign Office , the Goethe Institute and other institutions. To this end, around 25 participations in book fairs around the world are organized every year. Since the beginning of the 1990s, book information centers have been set up in cooperation with the Goethe-Institut to promote translation , but they are now heavily involved in the trade fair's sales work under the name German Book Office . There are currently permanent presences in New York, Beijing, Moscow, Bucharest and New Delhi. In addition, there are scholarship programs such as the invitation program for publishers from Africa, Asia and Latin America, financed by the Foreign Office, and the Frankfurt Fellowship , which is aimed at young publishers. To mark the 50th anniversary of the book fair, the Cities of Refuge program was launched in 1998 , which, with the support of the City of Frankfurt, enables persecuted writers to stay in Frankfurt for one year at a time.

Since the announcement of the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature often falls during the trade fair week, the Book Fair is traditionally also the first major forum of the publisher to include the works of the new Nobel Prize winner in its program.

Head of the book fair

Wilhelm Müller headed the book fair from 1949 to 1957, followed by Sigfred Taubert until 1974 , previously head of the press office of the Börsenverein and press spokesman for the book fair. In 1975 Peter Weidhaas took over the post of book fair director and managing director of the Ausstellungs- und Messe-GmbH. He was previously head of the book fair's exhibition department. Peter Weidhaas wrote a volume on the history of the Frankfurt Book Fair and two volumes of an autobiography, the second of which deals with his time at the Book Fair.

After Weidhaas' term of office came to an end, he was succeeded by Lorenzo Rudolf, formerly director of Art Basel , in the position of book fair director. His successor was Volker Neumann , previously managing director of the Random House publishing group , in 2002 . Juergen Boos has been Director of the Frankfurt Book Fair since April 1, 2005 . Before that he was head of marketing at Wiley-VCH Verlag .

Visitor and exhibitor numbers

Official visitor and exhibitor numbers at the Frankfurt Book Fair
year Exhibitors countries Visitors Including trade visitors Journalists receipt
2007 283.293
2008 299.112
2009 7,314 100 290,469
2010 7,539 111 279.325 175.311
2011 7,384 106 280,000
2012 > 100 281,753
2013 276,000 143,000
2014 269,534 9,600
2015 7,100 > 100 275.791 140.474 9,900
2016 7,100 ~ 100 277,000 142,300 10,000
2017 7,300 102 286.425 142.015
2018 7,503 109 285.024 142.016
2019 7,450 104 302.267 144,572 10,000

Host countries and their main topics

German postage stamp from 2010 in honor of Jorge Luis Borges , a joint issue with the host country Argentina
Book Fair 2006, balloon with characters from the host country India

Since 1988, the book fair has had a guest country or region that has a special focus, the so-called guest of honor. The host country organizes a cultural framework program with readings, literary funding, award ceremonies, etc. In 2004 around 500 of around 3,000 events were related to the Arab world as a host region. Exhibitions and reading tours in the host country begin before the book fair and go well beyond that. India (1986 and 2006), Brazil (1994 and 2013), Flanders / the Netherlands (1993 and 2016) and France (1989 and 2017) have been two guest countries so far. Likewise, was Sami literature with the host countries Finland (2014) and Norway represented (2019) twice.

The host countries each design their own pavilion on their history, culture and literature. The guests of honor are responsible for organizing and financing their appearance.

Before 1988, there were also thematic priorities instead of host countries.

Due to the corona crisis, the guest country appearances planned for 2020 to 2023 have each been postponed by one year. The host country Canada will be presented virtually in 2020 and, depending on the infection situation, will be represented in real life in 2021, as one hopes.

year Host country / focus Literature of the host country / focus motto
1976 Latin America Latin American literature
1978 Child and book Children's and young people's literature
1980 Black Africa African literature
1982 Religions Religious literature
1984 George Orwell Works by George Orwell
1986 IndiaIndia India Indian literature Change in tradition
1988 ItalyItaly Italy Italian literature Italian diary
1989 FranceFrance France French literature L'Automne français
1990 JapanJapan Japan Japanese literature Then and Now
1991 SpainSpain Spain Spanish literature La Hora de España
1992 MexicoMexico Mexico Mexican literature An open book
1993 FlandersFlanders Flanders and the NetherlandsNetherlandsNetherlands  Belgian and Dutch literature Cosmopolitan
1994 BrazilBrazil Brazil Brazilian literature Meeting of cultures
1995 AustriaAustria Austria Austrian literature
1996 IrelandIreland Ireland Irish literature And its diaspora
1997 PortugalPortugal Portugal Portuguese literature Paths in the world
1998 SwitzerlandSwitzerland Switzerland Swiss literature High sky - narrow valley
1999 HungaryHungary Hungary Hungarian literature Unlimited
2000 PolandPoland Poland Polish literature © Poland
2001 GreeceGreece Greece Greek literature New ways to Ithaca
2002 Lithuania 1989Lithuania Lithuania Lithuanian literature sequel follows
2003 RussiaRussia Russia Russian literature New pages
2004 Arab LeagueArab League Arab world Arabic literature Arab world - look to the future
2005 Korea SouthSouth Korea South Korea Korean literature Enter Korea
2006 IndiaIndia India Indian literature Today's India
2007 CataloniaCatalonia Catalan culture Catalan literature Singular i Universal
2008 TurkeyTurkey Turkey Turkish literature Fascinatingly colored
2009 China People's RepublicPeople's Republic of China People's Republic of China Chinese literature Tradition & Innovation
2010 ArgentinaArgentina Argentina Argentine literature Culture in motion
2011 IcelandIceland Iceland Icelandic literature Fabulous Iceland
2012 New ZealandNew Zealand New Zealand New Zealand literature Before it gets light for you
2013 BrazilBrazil Brazil Brazilian literature A land full of voices
2014 FinlandFinland Finland Finnish literature , Finland-Swedish literature and Sami literature Finland. Read.
2015 IndonesiaIndonesia Indonesia Indonesian literature 17,000 islands of the imagination
2016 FlandersFlanders Flanders and the NetherlandsNetherlandsNetherlands  Belgian and Dutch literature This is what we share.
2017 FranceFrance France French-language literature Frankfurt in French
2018 GeorgiaGeorgia Georgia Georgian literature Georgia - Made by Characters
2019 NorwayNorway Norway Norwegian literature and Sami literature Norway - the dream we carry
2020/2021 CanadaCanada Canada Canadian literature Canada - a unique diversity
2022 SpainSpain Spain Spanish literature
2023 SloveniaSlovenia Slovenia Slovenian literature
2024 ItalyItaly Italy Italian literature


  • Stephan Füssel : 50 years of the Frankfurt Book Fair. 1949-1999. (= Suhrkamp Taschenbuch. No. 3045). Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 2004, ISBN 978-3-518-39545-5 .
  • Martin Knöll, Sabine Hopp, Thorsten Stelter, Norwina Wölfel: Frankfurt Book Fair for Everyone! Improved accessibility and usability by breaking down spatial and information-based barriers. (= Project report 2017–2019 of the Urban Health Games research group at TU Darmstadt). University and State Library Darmstadt, Darmstadt 2019 ( PDF ).
  • Christoph Musik, Astrid Ebner-Zarl, Andreas Gebesmair (ed.): A citizen ethnography of the Frankfurt Book Fair. An experiment. ikon VerlagsGesmbH, Brunn am Gebirge 2018, ISBN 978-3-99023-513-3 .
  • Sabine Niemeier: The changing functions of the Frankfurt Book Fair - from the beginnings to the present day. (= Book scholarly contributions from the German Book Archive in Munich. Volume 68). Harrassowitz, Wiesbaden 2001, ISBN 3-447-04466-7 .
  • Monika Toeller: The book fair in Frankfurt am Main before 1560. Its communicative significance in the early printing period. (= Dissertation at the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich). Munich 1983.
  • Peter Weidhaas : On the history of the Frankfurt Book Fair. (= Suhrkamp Taschenbuch. No. 3538). Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 2004, ISBN 3-518-45538-9 .
  • Peter Weidhaas: And came into the world of the book people. Memories. Ch. Links, Berlin 2007, ISBN 978-3-86153-458-7 .

Web links

Commons : Frankfurter Buchmesse  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. a b c Frankfurt Book Fair records an increase in visitors. In: October 20, 2019, accessed October 21, 2019 .
  2. Heart of Scars and Evil Economies . On: of October 14, 2012, accessed on October 12, 2016
  3. International Book Award . From:, accessed October 12, 2016
  4. Roland Losch. Only camels are not included . On: of October 2, 1998, accessed on October 12, 2016
  5. Frankfurt Book Fair threatens Munich. Moving is discussed for cost reasons. In: Retrieved October 19, 2015 .
  6. ^ Frankfurt Book Fair: Director is considering moving to Munich. In: January 17, 2003, accessed October 19, 2015 .
  7. Book Fair . Blog. In: Retrieved October 13, 2014.
  8. taz book fair blog. In: taz - the daily newspaper. Retrieved October 16, 2019 (German).
  9. See scandal at China Symposium ( Memento from October 16, 2009 in the Internet Archive ) at, September 12, 2009 (accessed on October 13, 2009)
  10. ^ Iranian publishers despite official rejection in Frankfurt. Salman Rushdie, ostracized by Iran, appears at the book fair , , October 12, 2015
  11. a b c Book fair balance sheet: The reorganization has succeeded. In: Frankfurt Book Fair. Retrieved October 18, 2015 (press release).
  12. Kolja Reichert: "Arts +" at the book fair: And that is art? In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung . October 21, 2016, ISSN  0174-4909 ( [accessed October 24, 2016]).
  13. ^ Eva Thöne, Frankfurt am Main: Tumults at the book fair: dialogue impossible . In: Spiegel Online . October 15, 2017 ( [accessed October 16, 2017]).
  14. Eva Thöne, Frankfurt am Main: Director of the book fair on right-wing publishers: "We have to endure" . In: Spiegel Online . October 15, 2017 ( [accessed October 16, 2017]).
  15. Mariam Lau: Frankfurt Book Fair: Off to the corner . In: The time . October 8, 2018, ISSN  0044-2070 ( [accessed July 22, 2019]).
  16. ^ Ludger Fittkau: Union: Police obstructed journalists. In: October 23, 2019, accessed October 25, 2019 .
  17. a b Frankfurter Buchmesse takes stock: fewer trade visitors, more audience. In: Börsenblatt. Deutscher Börsenverein, October 14, 2018, accessed on October 15, 2018 .
  18. World Book Day - Depressed mood in the book industry . In: Deutschlandfunk . April 23, 2018 ( [accessed October 15, 2018]).
  19. ^ Jens Uthoff: Publishers in Germany: Threatened Species . In: The daily newspaper: taz . October 9, 2018, ISSN  0931-9085 ( [accessed October 15, 2018]).
  20. a b Frankfurt Book Fair ends with a significant increase in visitors. Frankfurt Book Fair, October 20, 2019, accessed on October 21, 2019 .
  21. Due to Corona, the Frankfurt Book Fair only takes place digitally. In: hessenschau de. September 8, 2020, accessed on September 8, 2020 (German).
  22. a b Due to corona restrictions: Frankfurt Book Fair should take place without exhibitors . In: FAZ.NET . ISSN  0174-4909 ( [accessed September 8, 2020]).
  23. A difficult year . In: Süddeutsche Zeitung . No. 208/2020 . Süddeutsche Zeitung GmbH, Munich September 9, 2020, p. 9 .
  24. ^ Opening of the 68th Frankfurt Book Fair. Frankfurt Book Fair, October 18, 2016, accessed on October 20, 2016 (press release).
  25. Figures as published.
  26. Including trade visitors.
  27. Including the blogger.
  28. a b c d Visitors to the Frankfurt Book Fair from 2007 to 2018. In: Retrieved October 22, 2019 .
  29. Frankfurt Book Fair 2009 - "Be curious". In: October 13, 2009, accessed October 22, 2019 .
  30. Facts & Figures 2010 ( Memento of October 5, 2011 in the Internet Archive ), accessed on September 28, 2011 (PDF; 252 kB)
  31. Trade fair balance. Nothing but happy faces . Hessian radio. In: October 16, 2011. Retrieved October 18, 2011. Offline November 27, 2015.
  32. Book fair reports increased visitor numbers. Handelsblatt-online, October 16, 2011 , accessed on October 17, 2011.
  33. Despite the euro crisis: The industry is showing a "new sporting spirit". (PDF; 84 kB), archived from the original on October 29, 2012 ; Retrieved October 14, 2012 .
  34. Jutta Rippegather: Guest country Brazil sets a record. In: Frankfurter Rundschau. S. 2013-10-13 , accessed October 14, 2013 .
  35. Debates about cultural identities and intellectual property determine the themes of the 68th Frankfurt Book Fair. About belonging and sharing. In: Frankfurt Book Fair. October 23, 2016. Retrieved October 24, 2016 .
  36. Frankfurt Book Fair 2017: Political like never before. Frankfurt Book Fair, October 15, 2017, archived from the original on October 18, 2017 ; accessed on April 4, 2020 .
  37. Briefly noted . In: Börsenblatt . No. 28 , 2020, p. 12 .