Around 2,500 digital exhibitors from 89 countries have already signed up to take part in the digital Frankfurt Book Fair this year, organisers have announced.
This month, organisers abandoned plans for a hybrid festival due to travel restrictions and further issues caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Instead, aside from several events around the city, this year's fair will now be digital only under the theme “Signals of Hope”.
Fair director Juergen Boos said 2,500 exhibitors had signed up in a matter of days and he expected a lot more to join over the next few weeks.
Boos said: “Since this has been a very special situation we thought we had to send signals of hope that books, publishers, translators, everybody involved in the value chain, are alive and kicking.”
Participants will come from throughout Europe, the US and Canada, China, Taiwan and across the globe; many have not been able to exhibit before at the physical event. Guest of honour Canada, which will now exhibit next year, has 25 virtual events lined up.
Trade programming includes appearances from Waterstones and Barnes & Noble boss James Daunt, c.e.o of HarperCollins Publishers India Ananth Padmanabhan and Canongate commercial director Jenny Fry.
Frankfurt Rights will also provide a digital platform for use by publishers, agents and scouts, alongside a matchmaking tool. Visitors who miss marathon waits at the bar and informal networking will even be able to visit a virtual version of The Hof.
Boos said: “We have discovered that the world of publishing can react flexibly, inventively and courageously even in times of crisis. Over the five days of the fair, we want to hear from our colleagues all around the globe–from Egypt, Brazil, Finland and Singapore. We want to promote an exchange of experience, facilitate contacts, share successes and identify trends. Together with international media partners and publishers, we have successfully added a digital component to Frankfurter Buchmesse that can be accessed from anywhere in the world. In this year of uncertainties this is, for me, a ‘beacon of hope’, to quote Margaret Atwood. The intensive exchange with a wide range of industry players over many months and under difficult conditions has been unique and I would like to thank everyone involved for their contributions.”