Plans for this year’s Frankfurt Book Fair have been revealed, taking place from 20th to 24th October under the motto of "re:connect", featuring "significantly" lower fees for physical stands and supported by an accompanying digital programme.
Organisers are arranging the event on the usual site but bolstered by digital offerings, and with a special focus on the international rights and licensing business. “We will be creating a space for the industry, for authors and for readers to come together once again,” fair organisers said in an email circular sent on Monday morning (8th March). “Not least, we will ensure that you have a safe and productive environment to work in.”
Last year's fair was entirely digital owing to Covid and fair director Jürgen Boos had said he envisioned a hybrid digital/physical model for 2021 after 200,000 users engaged with the virtual fair.
There will also be funding from the German government to ensure lower ticket fees. “Frankfurter Buchmesse 2021 is being supported with funds from the German government’s Neustart Kultur programme — support we will be passing along to you," FBF's email stated. "That means, this year, you can look forward to significantly lower fees for exhibition stands. This support is intended to assist small and mid-sized firms in particular, as a way of highlighting the industry’s diversity.”
It added: “For health and safety reasons, the smallest exhibition stands at Frankfurter Buchmesse 2021 will be eight square metres in size (instead of four or six square metres). We will be discounting this stand size by 50% so that exhibitors do not face any additional costs due to this requirement. We will also be widening the walkways in all the exhibition halls, ensuring that social distancing is possible at all times."
Plans for how the space will be used safely have also been unveiled. Halls 3, 4, 6 and the Forum will be used while taking into account the relevant health and safety regulations and “using a generously designed layout within the halls”. A flexible in-person table format, Frankfurt Workstations, has been developed for these spaces and tables can be booked on a daily basis.
This year, the Literary Agents & Scouts Centre (LitAg) will be located in Hall 6.2. The areas Audio and THE ARTS+ will be located on Level 0 of the Forum. The pavilion of the 2021 guest of honour, Canada, will be on Level 1 of the Forum.
Frankfurter Buchmesse said: “We will again be organising events on our main stage in the Festhalle, together with our media partners. All events are to be streamed live. In addition, we are exploring possibilities for holding presentations in the Agora. We will provide information about BOOKFEST city [digital offering] shortly, as well as about Frankfurter Buchmesse’s digital B2B and B2C offerings.”
Meanwhile, the exhibition halls will be opened to the general public a day earlier this year, starting on Friday (22nd October 2021).
Canada’s role as guest of honour will use the banner of “Singular Plurality”. “With over 300 published and soon-to-be released titles in 2021 by 248 publishers, the Canadian literary scene has an extraordinarily busy year ahead,” organisers said. “Canada`s delegation, comprised of celebrated authors, illustrators and artists, is eager to be part of the official hybrid presence in Frankfurt in October.”
The fair recently completed its restructure and cut an undiscosed number of roles in what it has called a “painful and far-reaching” process.
Delegates have until 31st May 2021 to register for the fair. For more information, visit buchmesse.de/exhibit.