Saturday, October 24

Frankfurt: Book fair draws the public online


  • fromFlorian Leclerc

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The results of the Frankfurt Book Fair 2020: a good 200,000 users took advantage of the offers. Last year there were 300,000 guests.

With this year’s largely digital version, the Frankfurt Book Fair was able to attract two thirds of the previous number of visitors to the online events. According to the book fair, around 200,000 people switched on the virtual events. Last year, a good 300,000 guests came to the Frankfurt exhibition center.

It was due to the pandemic and the associated cancellation by the publishers that the Frankfurt Book Fair had to relocate large parts of its 72nd edition to the Internet. There was no physical fair, apart from the ARD book fair stage in the festival hall and other readings.

Around 4400 exhibitors from 103 countries had registered for the digital “Special Edition”. Last year there were still 7,450 exhibitors from 104 countries.

Book fair director Juergen Boss nevertheless drew a positive balance. “This year, in addition to the specialist range for the international book industry and a festival for reading, we have also succeeded in transferring the Frankfurt Book Fair to the Internet as a political platform to allow the urgently needed discourse to take place there.”

Similarly, the head of the Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels, Karin Schmidt-Friderichs: It was a success to offer the book a large digital and media stage for a week.

At the end of the Frankfurt Book Fair, the Indian economist and philosopher Amartya Sen was awarded the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade on Sunday in the Paulskirche. Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier had to cancel his visit to Frankfurt because of the positive corona test by a bodyguard. The Federal President is in quarantine. The actor Burghart Klaußner gave his speech.

On Saturday, the book fair broadcast the Bookfest digitally, at which 150 authors read from their new publications on the Internet. The program was 28 hours long and, according to the book fair, was viewed 1.5 million times.

The host country Canada also took part in the digital book fair with online formats. In the coming year Canada will participate physically, under the motto “Singular Plurality”. Spain, Slovenia and Italy have each postponed their appearance by a year.

Some physical readings were held in Frankfurt at Bookfest City. The program was supplemented by the literature station and the municipal reading festival Open Books. Aino Kelle from the Department of Culture expressed his satisfaction with the “mostly very well attended readings”.

At the end of Open Books, Michael Quast moderated a fun evening about books with local reference in the Volksbühne in Frankfurt. The publishing world also has a winner from the pandemic: children’s and young people’s books, which are selling well. See pages F8 / F9


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