Frankfurt Book Fair

The Frankfurter Buchmesse (FBM) is the world's largest trade fair for books, based both on the number of publishing companies represented, and the number of visitors. It is considered to be the most important book fair in the world for international deals and trading. The five-day annual event in mid-October is held at the Frankfurt Trade Fair grounds in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. The first three days are restricted exclusively to professional visitors; the general public attend the fair on the weekend.

Frankfurter Buchmesse
Exhibition Hall in 2008
StatusActive
GenreMulti-genre
FrequencyAnnually, in mid-October
VenueFrankfurt Trade Fair grounds
Location(s)Frankfurt am Main
CountryGermany
Inaugurated17th century
modern era: 1949
Attendance286,000
Website

Several thousand exhibitors representing book publishing, multimedia and technology companies, as well as content providers from all over the world gather in order to negotiate international publishing rights and license fees. The fair is organised by Frankfurter Buchmesse GmbH, a subsidiary of the German Publishers and Booksellers Association. More than 7,300 exhibitors from over 100 countries and more than 286,000 visitors took part in the year 2017.[1]

History

The Frankfurter Buchmesse has a tradition spanning more than 500 years. In 1454, soon after Johannes Gutenberg had developed printing in movable letters in Mainz near Frankfurt, the first book fair was held by local booksellers.[2]

Before the advent of printed books a general trade fair in Frankfurt was the place for selling manuscripts. The beginning of a fair focused on printed books is attributed to Johann Fust and Peter Schöffer, who had taken over Gutenberg's printing operations after a legal dispute.[2] The fair became the primary point for book marketing, but also a hub for the diffusion of written texts. During the Reformation, the fair was attended by merchants testing the market for new books and by scholars looking for newly available scholarship.[3]

Until the end of the 17th century, the Frankfurter Buchmesse was the most important book fair in Europe. It was eclipsed in 1632 by the Leipzig Book Fair during the Enlightenment as a consequence of political and cultural developments.[4] After World War II, the first book fair was held again in 1949 at the St. Paul's Church. Since then, it has regained its preeminent position.

Significance

The Frankfurter Buchmesse is the world's largest trade fair for books, based both on the number of publishing companies represented, and the number of visitors.[5] It is considered to be the most important book fair in the world for international deals and trading. It is a critical marketing event for launching books and to facilitate the negotiation of the international sale of rights and licences. Book publishing-, multimedia- and technology companies, as well as content providers from all over the world gather. Publishers, agents, booksellers, librarians, academics, illustrators, service providers, film producers, translators, professional and trade associations, institutions, artists, authors, antiquarians, software and multimedia suppliers all participate in the events. Visitors take the opportunity to obtain information about the publishing market, to network, and to do business.

Organisation

The fair is organised by Frankfurter Buchmesse GmbH, a subsidiary of the German Publishers and Booksellers Association.[6] The five-day annual event in mid-October is held at the Frankfurt Trade Fair grounds in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. The first three days are restricted exclusively to trade visitors; the general public can attend on the weekend, for a fee.

In 2009, 7,314 exhibitors from some 100 countries presented over 400,000 books. Some 300,000 visitors attended the fair.

In 2016, more than 10,000 journalists from 75 countries reported on the fair, which brought together 7,135 exhibitors from 106 countries, and more than 172,296 trade visitors.

Events and joint ventures

The Peace Prize of the German Book Trade has been awarded at the fair each year since 1950 during a ceremony in the Frankfurter Paulskirche.

The fair awards the Bookseller/Diagram Prize for Oddest Title of the Year, humoring the book with the oddest title.

Certain initiatives would not exist without the Frankfurter Buchmesse and are closely linked to its goals and, up to a point, management structure.

On the occasion of the 1980 Fair, Litprom was founded - the Society for the Promotion of African, Asian and Latin American Literature. As a non profit association, it monitors literary trends and selects the best examples of creative writing from Africa, Asia and Latin America for translation into German.It promotes them in Germany, Switzerland and Austria by encouraging contacts between authors and publishers from the Third World and those in German-speaking countries. It serves as an information hub and clearing house about literature from Africa, Asia and Latin America, establishing a forum of debate about "Third World" literature.

In 2006, Litcam, a campaign against illiteracy was founded. In this context, the 2007 Frankfurt Book Fair also started a short story project named "Who's on the line? Call for free" by and for people with migration background.

Guest of honour, focus of interest

Since 1976, a guest of honour, or a focus of interest is named for the fair. A special literary programme is organised for the occasion (readings, arts exhibitions, public discussion panels, theatre productions, and radio and TV programmes). A special exhibition hall is set up for the guest country, and the major publishing houses are present at the fair.

YearGuest of honour / Focus of interestMotto
1976Latin AmericaLatin American literature
1978Kind und Buch (Child and book)
1980Subsaharan Africa
1982Religions
1984George Orwell
1986IndiaIndian literatureWandel in Tradition (Change in tradition)
1988ItalyItalian literatureItalienisches Tagebuch (Italian diary)
1989FranceFrench literatureL’Automne français (French autumn)
1990JapanJapanese literatureThen and Now
1991SpainSpanish literatureLa Hora de España (Spain's hour)
1992MexicoMexican literatureEin offenes Buch (An open book)
1993Flanders and the NetherlandsFlemish and Dutch literatureWeltoffen (Open-minded)
1994BrasilBrazilian literatureBegegnung von Kulturen (Encounter of cultures)
1995AustriaAustrian literature
1996IrelandIrish literatureUnd seine Diaspora (And its diaspora)
1997PortugalPortuguese literatureWege in die Welt (Paths into the world)
1998SwitzerlandSwiss literatureHoher Himmel – enges Tal (High skies – narrow valleys)
1999HungaryHungarian literatureUnbegrenzt (unlimited)
2000PolandPolish literature©Poland
2001GreeceGreek literatureNeue Wege nach Ithaka (New ways to Ithaka)
2002LithuaniaLithuanian literatureFortsetzung folgt (To be continued)
2003RussiaRussian literatureNeue Seiten (New pages/perspectives)
2004Arab worldArab literatureArabische Welt
2005KoreaKorean literatureEnter Korea
2006IndiaIndian literatureToday’s India
2007Catalan CountriesCatalan literatureSingular i Universal (Singular and general)
2008TurkeyTurkish literatureFaszinierend farbig (Fascinatingly colourful)
2009ChinaChinese literatureTradition & Innovation
2010ArgentinaArgentine literatureKultur in Bewegung (Culture in motion)
2011IcelandIcelandic literatureSagenhaftes Island (Fabulous Iceland)
2012New ZealandNew Zealand literatureBevor es bei euch hell wird (While you were sleeping)
2013BrazilBrazilian literatureEin Land voller Stimmen
2014FinlandFinnish literatureFinnland. Cool.
2015IndonesiaIndonesian literature17.000 Inseln der Imagination (17.000 Islands of Imagination)
2016Flanders and the NetherlandsFlemish and Dutch literature Dies ist, was wir teilen (This is what we share)
2017FranceFrench literatureFrancfort en français (Frankfurt in French)
2018 GeorgiaGeorgian literatureGeorgia made by characters
2019 NorwayNorwegian literatureThe Dream We Carry (Der Traum in uns)
2020 CanadaCanadian literature

Controversy

The 2007 fair attracted criticism from both the Spanish and German media. German news magazine Der Spiegel described it as "closed-minded" for its policy of not including the many Catalans who write in Spanish in its definition of Catalan literature.[7] The decision to exclude any element of "Spanishness", defined as literature exclusively done in Spanish, from the fair was made in spite of the fact that the Spanish government contributed more than 6 million euros towards the cost of the fair.[8]

See also

References

  1. Frankfurt Book Fair. "The Frankfurt Book Fair 2017 in numbers".
  2. Weidhaas, Peter, Carolyn Gossage, and W A. Wright. A History of the Frankfurt Book Fair. Toronto, Ontario: Dundurn Press, 2007. ISBN 978-1-55002-744-0
  3. Fried, Johannes (1996). Il mercante e la scienza: sul rapporto tra sapere ed economia nel Medioevo. Milano: Vita e Pensiero.
  4. "The Frankfurt Book Fair - The World's Biggest, Oldest Book Event". The Balance. Retrieved 27 February 2018.
  5. https://www.buchmesse.de/en/press/press-releases/2016-10-23-debates-on-cultural-identity-and-on-intellectual
  6. https://www.buchmesse.de/en/about-us
  7. A Controversial Homage to Catalonia: Commerce Replaces Politics at the Frankfurt Book Fair – International – SPIEGEL ONLINE – News
  8. "Economía/Empresas.- Industria destinará 6 millones para promocionar el sector editorial de cara a la Feria de Frankfurt". Economía Ahoy. Retrieved 6 October 2017.

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