Frankfurter Buchmesse Announces €4 Million German Federal Grant

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Stand fees will be reduced by up to 50 percent and digital and rights-trading development will be supported for both domestic and international exhibitors through Germany’s ‘Neustart Kultur’ stimulus.

At Frankfurter Buchmesse. Image: FBM, Peter Hirth

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

Supports Free, Extended Access to Frankfurt Rights
Germany’s “Neustart Kultur” stimulus package—allocated in June by the federal government to ‘Restart Culture’—totals €1 billion (US$1.2 billion) and is designed, in official descriptions, “to crank up cultural life, which has been severely restricted by the coronavirus pandemic, thus creating new employment opportunities for artists as swiftly as possible.”

As Publishing Perspectives readers know, Frankfurter Buchmesse’s program this year is being prepared as a hybrid one with a smaller-than-usual physical component at the fairgrounds and an extensive digital evocation developed to answer the needs of the international publishing industry.

Monika Grütters, the country’s culture commissioner and minister of state, today (July 10) has earmarked €4 million (US$4.5 million) from the fund for Frankfurter Buchmesse, organizers say, “to enable as many publishing companies from Germany and abroad as possible to take part” in the trade show during the COVID-19 pandemic, October 14 to 18.

Some of the Neustart Kultur funding is also going to expand “digital formats that will allow publishers to present their products and participate in the book fair,” according to information provided this morning to the news media.

“By promoting the fair’s digitization, we are helping to ensure that the global trading in rights can take place despite the pandemic.”Monika Grütters

The funds will be used, in part, to reduce exhibition stand fees by 20 to 50 percent at Frankfurt this year, depending on the size of a stand, and this is applicable to stands measuring up to 48 square meters (516 square feet). Exhibitors are to have details about these reduced fees and other information about the funding in a virtual talk with Frankfurt a week from today, on July 17.

More of the money will go to the development of digital formats in which publishers can integrate events and present books and authors at the Frankfurt site.

Organizers say that this includes the recently announced October 17 digital edition of BookFest, a 16-hour public-facing suite of prose and poetry readings with authors, concerts, parties, discussions, workshops, and other events. The deadline for proposals in this part of the program is July 15.

Industry players will be able to engage with the trade show throughout its run through Buchmesse.de, which is to produce a wide range of professional events and conference programming.

Frankfurt Rights, a digital platform for rights and licensing trading, will benefit from the Neustart Kultur funding by making editorial and licensing managers’ use of it available free of charge—with continued free access for nine months after the October 18 conclusion of the fair.

Grütters: ‘A Development We Want To Support’

Monika Grütters

In describing the rationale for the federal government’s allocation of these new stimulus funds, Grütters is quoted, saying, “The publishing and book industry has been greatly impacted by the coronavirus crisis. I’m therefore very pleased that the world’s largest book fair will take place despite the difficult conditions—a development we want to support.

“In particular, small and mid-sized publishers, which contribute so much to Germany’s incomparable literary diversity, will benefit from this funding.

“And by promoting the fair’s digitization, we are helping to ensure that the global trading in rights can take place despite the pandemic. Frankfurter Buchmesse is the hub of our multifaceted publishing landscape and vibrant book culture. I view our financial assistance as a signal of confidence to the entire industry.”

Juergen Boos

For Frankfurt, its president and CEO Juergen Boos says, “We would like to thank minister of state and culture commissioner Monika Grütters for her tireless efforts on behalf of the book and publishing industry. Frankfurter Buchmesse is committed to enabling international exchange and supporting the publishing and creative industries.

“During the pandemic, we want to make face-to-face meetings possible at the physical fair, while also giving our customers and community the opportunity to meet and conduct business digitally. We are very pleased that we can pass on this generous financial support to our customers.”

Germany’s overall Neustart Kultur stimulus package is divided into four programs:

  • Pandemic-related investments (up to €250 million / US$282)
  • Support for the cultural industries (up to €480 million / US$542)
  • Support for alternative cultural offerings and digital offerings (up to €150 million / US$169 million)
  • Assistance in cases in which revenues have declined because of the coronavirus pandemic and in which additional aid is required by institutions and projects supported by the federal government (up to €100 million / US$113 million)

The cultural element of the funding’s program comprises allocations for cultural facilities’ reopening with contagion-mitigation procedures and equipment as needed, music venues and events, dance and drama, film, galleries, cultural centers, books, and publishing, and online project development.

All of this is contextualized in Berlin’s federal response to the coronavirus crisis as a matter of “preserving cultural infrastructure.”

Image: German federal government


More from Publishing Perspectives on Frankfurter Buchmesse is here. More on the German market is here. And more from us on the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on international book publishing is here and at the CORONAVIRUS tab at the top of each page of our site.

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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