Frankfurter Buchmesse Outlines 2020 Renovation Plans

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Amid extensive renovations, refurbishment, and rebuilding of the Frankfurt fairgrounds, the Frankfurter Buchmesse maps out its hall plan for the coming years.

At Messe Frankfurt during the 2018 Frankfurter Buchmesse. Image: FBM, Anett Weirauch

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

‘Driving New Business Forward’
Messe Frankfurt—the site of the annual Frankfurter Buchmesse—is undergoing a years-long series of renovations, and that’s causing the organizers of the trade show to reallocate space as various parts of the campus are rebuilt or refurbished.

In media messaging today (September 3), Frankfurt is making announcements for the fair’s 2020 iteration and reflecting some of the changes trade visitors will notice during this year’s fair, October 16 to 20.

Organizers are gathering all this information under the branding “Future Frankfurt” and have created a section on the trade show’s site about plans and rationales.

Perhaps the biggest effect for the 2020 fair will involve a complete rebuild of Hall 5, which currently houses many of the international exhibitors at the fair. That rebuild is a long one, scheduled to start late this year and to be finished in 2023.

Juergen Boos

In a comment for today’s announcement, Buchmesse president and CEO Juergen Boos is quoted, saying, “We are faced with the task of adjusting the placement of our exhibitors at Frankfurter Buchmesse in a way that preserves effective areas of the fair and the business interests of our customers, while at the same time driving new business forward.

“It’s important for us to offer our exhibitors, trade visitors, and general public an experience that strengthens their relationships with each other.

“We are working hard to provide all visitor groups with access to Frankfurter Buchmesse offerings by optimizing signage, traffic flow, and hall access points.”

Hall 6 has undergone a renovation that’s to be complete in time for this year’s book fair.

As organizers describe the work on Hall 6, “This has involved largely gutting the exhibition hall’s more than 35,000 square meters and completely overhauling the ventilation, electrical, heating, and cooling systems, along with [restrooms] and food service areas.”

Because of the scope of this work, the news media are being told, “Level 6.3 is being converted into an operations center and will no longer be available as an exhibition area.”

This is the reason that the hundreds of trading tables and other facilities of the Literary Agents & Scouts Center—called the LitAg at Frankfurt—is being moved from 6.3 to the Festhalle building, which is near the Messe’s “City” entrance.

‘Future Frankfurt,’ Hall by Hall

A ground plan for Frankfurter Buchmesse 2020. Image: FBM

Here is a breakdown of anticipated hall usage and designations as renovations and rebuilding continue to revamp the vast Messe Frankfurt space.

“We are working hard to provide all visitor groups with access to Frankfurter Buchmesse offerings by optimizing signage, traffic flow, and hall access points.”Juergen Boos, Frankfurter Buchmesse

Hall 1 will offer two levels and give the Frankfurter Buchmesse a new entrance with a lot of window space. This is close to the “City” entrance to the complex and to Hall 3.

Hall 1.1: German-language fiction and nonfiction; art books; art, design; and the Weltempfang Center (the German-language stage that hosts programming in politics, literature, and translation)

Hall 1.2: German-language fiction and nonfiction; how-to and self-help; German-language authors area (“Frankfurt Authors”)

Festhalle: Literary Agents & Scouts Center (LitAg) and the associated Publishers Rights Corner

Hall 3.0: German-language fiction and nonfiction; children’s and YA media, stationery and gifts; German wholesale, distribution, software providers

Hall 3.1: German-language fiction and nonfiction; calendars; education (“Frankfurt EDU)”; religion; tourism; Gourmet Gallery (cookbooks); Blaues Sofa (Blue Sofa)

Forum Level 0: ARD Stage

Forum Level 1: Guest of Honor Pavilion (2019 Guest of Honor Norway, 2020 Guest of Honor Canada)

Hall 4.0: Scandinavia, the Netherlands, Belgium (Flanders), Central and Eastern Europe, Southeastern Europe; THE ARTS+: B3 (Biennale of the Moving Image); Business Club; cosplay (on the weekend)

Hall 4.1: France, Belgium (Wallonia), Canada (Québec), Switzerland (francophone), Italy, Spain, Portugal, Latin America, Turkey, Greece, Central Asia, Africa, Arab World; Frankfurt Kids

Hall 4.2: STM and academic publishing, business information; International Library Center (ILC); Frankfurt EDU

Hall 6.0: English-language world; Japan, Korea, Southeast Asia, Taiwan

Hall 6.1: English-language world; India

Hall 6.2: English-language world; China, Hong Kong

Thematically Specific ‘Areas’

In the central Agora at the Messe Frankfurt site of Frankfurter Buchmesse. Image: FBM, Anett Weirauch

The Frankfurt program is in the process of creating thematic “areas,” too, as readers of Publishing Perspectives may know from recent coverage.

For example, there’s this year’s new “Frankfurt Audio” concentration of relevant exhibitors and activities, often called the “audio area,” located in Hall 3.1.

Similarly, there’s a “Frankfurt Authors” focus for German-language writers in Hall 3.0, another area. An dual set of educational content areas, Frankfurt EDU, will be in Halls 31. and 4.2 for exhibitors and events. And a “children’s area,” Frankfurt Kids, is being developed in this and coming years in Foyer Halls 5.1 and 6.1.

A place for activities—simply called an Event Area—is to go between Hall 1 and the Festhalle. On Frankfurt’s weekend this year (October 19 and 20), there’s to be a football match there between the German national authors team and challenges from Guest of Honor Norway. In addition, there’s to be what organizers call “a top-flight program of events” on the Open Air Stage.

More subject-specific areas, we’re told. are ahead in 2020.


More from Publishing Perspectives on Frankfurter Buchmesse is here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's 2019 International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for trade and indie authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson also has worked as a senior producer, editor, and anchor with CNN.com, CNN International, and CNN USA, and as an arts critic (National Critics Institute) with The Village Voice and Dallas Times Herald.

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