Frontlist | Frankfurt Book Fair 2020 unveils its digital avatar

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Like no other happening in the publishing industry, Frankfurter Buchmesse leads the way in activating global networks, opening up future markets and putting both sector-specific and socio-political issues on the agenda.

That will be truer than ever in 2020, the year of Corona, as demonstrated by the fair’s thousands of digital exhibitors from approximately 85 countries. It also makes this Frankfurter Buchmesse Special Edition as international as ever, with participants from throughout Europe, China and Taiwan, Argentina and Columbia, Kazakhstan and Ukraine, the US, Canada and many other nations. Its exhibitors will include publishers, booksellers, literary agents and scouts, self-publishers and service providers. They will participate in the fair’s online programme, present their new titles on the relevant web pages and contribute their own events to the programme.

“For the global publishing industry, Frankfurter Buchmesse is always an opportunity to take stock. Such self-assessment is more important this year than ever before: 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,” said Juergen Boos, director of Frankfurter Buchmesse, in a preview press conference.

The Special Edition’s approximately 70 hours of trade programming include conferences, market insights and networking sessions. Moreover, the programme is designed to be interactive and participatory. Many international industry leaders will speak, including James Daunt, CEO of the Waterstones and Barnes & Noble bookstore chains, Ananth Padmanabhan, CEO of HarperCollins Publishers India, and Jenny Fry, commercial director & board member of the Scottish indie-publisher Canongate.

Frankfurt Rights provides rights managers with access to a digital rights platform that is used by publishers, agents, scouts, film producers, screenwriters and merchandisers. This is where programme directors find the new titles they are looking for. Thanks to generous financial support from the German government’s Neustart Kultur programme, the digital offerings can be accessed free of charge until summer 2021.

Bookfest digital will be broadcasting on 17 October 2020 on two channels around the world: 28 hours full of stories, discussions and stimulating conversations with a range of guests, including Karin Slaughter, Elizabeth Gilbert, Kirsten Boie, Axel Scheffler and Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor. For literature lovers, the ARD Book Fair Stage and Bookfest city will bring international stars to Frankfurt: on the main stage in the Festhalle and at many locations in the city itself, readers can discover more than 150 authors and their latest books during the week of the fair, including Irvine Welsh, John Niven and Chilly Gonzales.

The programmes can be viewed here.

Canada, which has postponed its appearance as Guest of Honour until 2021, will offer more than 25 digital events at the fair, highlighting the unique diversity of the country’s literary and cultural scene. The programme will be announced on 24 September. German translations of 246 books by Canadian authors will be released by October 2020.

The first digital edition of Weltempfang, Frankfurter Buchmesse’s centre for politics, literature and translation, is dedicated to the topic ‘Europe – connecting cultures’, while the first digital symposium by Litprom eV, the association that promotes literature from Africa, Asia and Latin America, and the KfW Foundation will examine African literatures and their reception in Germany.

The symposium can be viewed on 12 October from 2 to 5.30 pm on the YouTube channels of the organisers, Litprom and KfW Foundation, and on www.buchmesse.de and Frankfurter Buchmesse’s YouTube channel.

Another Book Fair which is going digital this year is DELHI BOOK FAIR,  While exhibitions across the world are getting postponed or canceled, the Federation of Indian Publishers adopts technology and brings Delhi Book Fair directly to your home screens. We promise you; this year Delhi Book Fair will bring together everyone with a shared love for books.

To register for Delhi Book Fair 2020 please click here

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