After weeks of speculation the Supervisory Board of the Frankfurt Book Fair decided yesterday (Wednesday 27th May) that the fair will take place as scheduled from 14th–18th October.
However it will be a very different Frankfurt. The plan is to run the event not only on the fair's grounds but also decentralized at locations in the city, and as a virtual event.
Strict safety and hygiene measures will be in place based on the coronavirus regulations of the state of Hesse, whose government together with Frankfurt’s mayor has been, and continues to be, deeply involved in getting the fair on the road.
The fair’s director, Juergen Boos, is expecting exhibitors from throughout Europe and internationally, depending on travel restrictions. He called the 2020 event “a special edition” that will combine an on-site programme with a forward-looking digital offer. “This year, it is more important than ever that Frankfurter Buchmesse takes place,” he said.
Boos said his team were currently exploring “a range of digital formats” to offer company and product presentations, events and venues for initiating business deals, making contact with business partners, identifying market trends and engaging in further training.
The fair will take place virtually for one week, including offering a Bookfest Centre where new publications, authors and discussions will be presented.
Visitors will be admitted through a contactless system after they have pre-registered and provided a self-assessment of their health. Current plans are to use six floors of hall space: 3.0, 3.1, 4.0, 4.1, 6.0 and 6.1 The literary agents centre is moving to Hall 6.1 and can also be used this year by licencing managers from publishing houses. Major stages will also mostly be replaced by digital options or more widely spaced physical venues.
Uwe Behm, executive board member of fair organiser Messe Frankfurt, added: “Frankfurter Buchmesse is part of the DNA of this city and also an icon of the trade-fair sector. We are very pleased that the industry has decided to hold the book fair in 2020, thus sending a very positive economic signal. As is always the case at Messe Frankfurt, the safety and health of all participants are being given top priority. We have developed detailed measures for social distancing, visitor flow and hygiene and will adapt them to the latest developments and requirements."
Details on the fair programme will be released at the end of June.