Frankfurter Buchmesse Announces Its Digital Professional Program

In Feature Articles by Porter Anderson1 Comment

The Frankfurter Buchmesse team begins to release details of its programming for publishing professionals, with more than 70 hours of online events, presentations, and networking sessions.

An audience at Frankfurter Buchmesse, 2009, Image: FBM, Alexander Heimann

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

Four Days of Themed Conference Programming
The digital iteration of Frankfurter Buchmesse being programmed and coordinated to run October 14 to 18 is to feature at least 70 hours of online events, conference sessions, presentations, and networking opportunities, say organizers in Frankfurt today (September 16).

The structure of the offer can be thought of as being divided into five major programmatic areas:

  • Frankfurt Conference, the core digital conference series
  • B2B sessions and talks with publishing specialists
  • Market Insights series, focused on various countries and regions
  • Curated networking sessions
  • “The Hof,” devised as “a more casual series of online events”

Stefanie von Beöczy

In a prepared statement, Stefanie von Beöczy, the trade show’s manager of events and programs, is quoted today, saying, “Over the last several months, we’ve been putting together a digital program that brings the events, market information, opportunities, and networking that would happen in Frankfurt” in regular years “to attendees in their homes.

“Our program this year taps into the challenges the industry has seen this year with COVID-19, as well as developments in the audio market, the international rights trade, and in academic and scholarly publishing. I’m looking forward to lively discussions and expert talks that will provide insights and inspiration for our international publishing community.”

Some online events organized by Frankfurter Buchmesse actually start later this month, well before the peak of Frankfurt activity in mid-October. In addition, it’s expected that there will be sessions after the main fair week, in November and December, von Beöczy says.

Your participation in all digital conferences and online events for publishing professionals is free of charge. To participate, you must register at the My Book Fair portal.

Frankfurt Conference

A conference event at Frankfurter Buchmesse 2012. Image: FBM, Marc Jacquemin

The digital conference program runs four days, Monday through Thursday of Frankfurt week, October 12 to 15.

Its overall tone is meant to be reflected in the line “Signals of Hope: New Perspectives for a Stronger Future.”

With sponsorship from Buchmesse’s “premium partner” Copyright Clearance Center, Frankfurt Conference has a different thematic emphasis on each of its four days, all targeted to professionals in the international book publishing industry.

Monday, October 12: Academic and Scholarly Publishing
3 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. CEST
1300 to 1530 GMT
9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. ET

Titled “Open Science and the Management of a Cultural Change,” this opening-day programming track is chaired by Tiberius Ignat, who directs Scientific Knowledge Services.

Kristiina Hormia-Poutanen

This track is produced in cooperation with Scientific Knowledge Services and sponsored by Wiley, Elsevier, and TrendMD. Its speakers include:

  • Paul Ayris, pro-vice-provost with UCL Library Services (UK)
  • Kristiina Hormia-Poutanen, the director of library network services at the National Library of Finland
  • Sofie Wennström, an analyst at Stockholm University Library (Sweden)
  • Catriona MacCallum, director of open science at Hindawi Limited (UK)
  • Emily Poznanski, director strategy at De Gruyter (Germany)

Tuesday, October 13: Rights
3 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. CEST
1300 to 1530 GMT
9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. ET

With a theme of “Rights Trade in a Post-COVID World,” the program signals a look to the future because, of course, the reality of the digital Frankfurt this year reflects the fact that we are not yet in a post-COVID world.

Of special interest here will be Guest of Honor Canada and Spain. Expected to be significant in this track are issues around working with sub-agents and an examination of multiple international rights markets. Diane Spivey, publishing and rights consultant and former group contracts director at Hachette UK, will discuss the rights trading during the pandemic, and some emphasis is expected to be placed on multilingual, particularly in the context of the Canadian and Spanish markets.

Anna Soler-Pont

Speakers are to include:

  • Andrew Nurnberg, literary agent (UK)
  • Anna Soler-Pont, founder of Pontas Agency (Spain)
  • Sandra Parejas, Casanovas Lynch agency (Spain)
  • Florence Bisch, international and domestic rights director at Groupe Homme (Québec)
  • Janie Yoon, editorial director at House of Anansi (Canada)
  • Corinne Quentin, Bureau des Copyrights Français
  • Marty Brochstein, senior vice president in industry relations and information at Licensing International

This day’s track is to be chaired by Jo Henry, managing director of the UK’s BookBrunch.

Wednesday, October 14: Publishing Insights
3 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. CEST
1300 to 1530 GMT
9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. ET

With a theme of “The Publishing Industry in Time of COVID-19,” this track approaches many aspects of what has been—and very much still is—a distinctly challenging year for the world book publishing industry.

What processes were accelerated in those times of crisis? What will keep publishers resilient going forward? How can publishing professionals be sure that topics like diversity and innovation aren’t left by the wayside in a year when many players in the publishing ecosystem are just trying to survive?

James Daunt

Struggles and strategies come to the fore here, with speakers including:

  • James Daunt, CEO of Barnes & Noble and managing director of Waterstones (USA and UK)
  • Ananth Padmanabhan, CEO of HarperCollins Publishers India
  • Jenny Fry, commercial director at Canongate (UK)
  • Gustavo Lembert, founder of TAGLivros (Brazil)
  • Caroline Leavitt, author and co-founder of A Mighty Blaze (USA)

Moderators for this core track include Publishing Perspectives’ editor-in-chief and Erin Cox, who leads public relations for Frankfurter Buchmesse in the States.

Thursday, October 15: Audio
3 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. CEST
1300 to 1530 GMT
9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. ET

Audio has become a great favorite among many for its steady growth in many markets, but the industry is looking for sustainability. How can publishers’ audiobooks and podcasts elevate content to reach new consumers and create new business opportunities?

Magnus Nytell

In the audio track on Frankfurt Thursday, experts from the international audio publishing industry will include Magnus Nytell, head of international expansion at Nextory, and Videl Bar-Kar, global head of audio at Bookwire.

In addition, Bilbao-based Dosdoce consultant Javier Celaya will have one of his research reports into audio production, distribution, projections, and consumer behavior.

Norway’s Beat Technology is sponsoring the audio track.

For more details in conference scheduling, see the programming information here, and remember to register at the My Book Fair portal.

B2B Sessions

A Frankfurter Buchmesse B2B session networking meetup. Image: FBM, Peter Hirth

In addition to Frankfurt Conference, 36 further online events will be offered during the book fair week as part of the fair’s digital program for publishing professionals.

These include sessions on current trends and issues in international publishing; talks with marketing experts; and further sessions on key topics from Frankfurter Buchmesse’s specialized areas including The Arts+, Frankfurt Kids, Frankfurt Academic, Frankfurt Authors, and Frankfurt EDU. Details are anticipated soon, organizers say, here.

Market Insights: Starts October 5

At Frankfurter Buchmesse 2012. Image: FBM, Marc Jacquemin

Frankfurter Buchmesse’s new Market Insights series offers in-depth information about international book markets.

On October 5, a series of daily sessions will begin, to run through October 16. Each is scheduled for 9.30 a.m. CEST / 7:30 a.m. GMT / 3:30 a.m. ET.

Markets included in these presentations are expected to comprise Spain and Spanish-language Latin American markets, Brazil, the United Kingdom, the United States, Germany, Finland, Russia, Slovenia, China, and Indonesia.

Facts and figures will be presented in these instances by media partners of the trade show, as well as by the Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels, Germany’s publishers and booksellers association; the Finnish Language Exchange (FILI), Indonesia’s 17,000 Pulau Imaji Foundation, and the Slovenian Book Agency.

Registration is at the My Book Fair portal, and details are to be posted here.

Curated Networking

At Frankfurter Buchmesse 2012. Image: FBM, Marc Jacquemin

The trade show’s curated networking sessions, organizers say, are to take place daily from October 12 to 17, and will provide between 30 and 50 participants a chance to make business contacts within an hour’s time allotment.

Participants will also have access to breakout sessions for networking. Networking sessions will be topical, looking at such themes as children’s publishing and university presses in Latin America. Prior registration is essential to secure a place. More information, organizers say, will be available soon here.

“The Hof”

An archival shot from Frankfurter Buchmesse’s Gourmet Gallery. Image: FBM, Peter Hirth

Named for the Frankfurter Hotel, “The Hof” is billed as “an informal online meeting space” with one-hour networking sessions that are to feature live music, talks, and the chance to connect.

Every session starts with live music by Argentine guitarist Dario Acosta Teich and vocalist-cellist Eleanor Dubinsky. Guest speakers will join for what are billed as “short, inspirational interviews,” followed by breakout sessions during which participants “can get to know each other and exchange ideas in smaller groups, just as they would in a real-life bar setting.”

The Hof will be hosted by Felix Zeltner, a journalist, author, and co-founder of Work Awesome.

More from the Frankfurt team on The Hof series: “The Hof kicks off by getting everyone in the mood at the end of September, reaching its peak during book fair week, and continuing with sessions in the run up to Christmas during November and December.”

Sessions planned to date:

  • September 24: “Trends in Rights & Licensing’ with literary agent Michael Gaeb
  • September 29: Audio Futures: How To Own Your Audience and Forge Your Own Path with Nathan Hull and Njål Hansen Wilberg from Beat Technology
  • October 1: “Frankfurt is in the Air’ with Frankfurt president and CEO Juergen Boos and Jenny Kühne, project lead of the digital fair at Frankfurter Buchmesse
  • October 6: “European EdTech – Where are we now?” with Swedish EdTech specialist Jannie Jeppesen
  • October 12: “My Frankfurt Blues Edition” with a Frankfurter Hof’s bartender

Participation in The Hof sessions is free of charge, but pre-registration is required.

In addition to events, the online business tool Frankfurt Rights and the Matchmaking Tool will be available free of charge to publishing professionals worldwide. More details are expected soon.


More from Publishing Perspectives on Frankfurter Buchmesse is here, and more from us 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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