Frankfurter Buchmesse: A March 31 Deadline for ‘Transformative’ Registration

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As the deadline for exhibitor registration approaches, the 2022 Frankfurt slogan has three parts: ‘Translate, Transfer, Transform.’

Stands in the spacious Guest of Honor Canada area at Frankfurter Buchmesse 2021. Image: FBM, Anett Weirauch

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

Exhibitors’ Registration Deadline: March 31
A week from today (March 31), registration at for the 2022 edition of Frankfurter Buchmesse (October 19 to 23) will arrive for those booking stands, workstations, or tables in the Literary Agents and Scouts Center (LitAg).

Full information and various forms for registration are here, for what’s anticipated to be the second in-person iteration of the world’s largest book publishing trade show since the beginning of the still-ongoing coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.

And while you’re on the Frankfurt site, you’ll see the 2022 campaign theme coming into view, as the fair gets ready to host Guest of Honor Spain and a world industry still in transformation.

Indeed, the numbers from Buchmesse’s 2021 in-person iteration may surprise some. While the roominess and comparatively streamlined programming array has been praised by trade visitors for the time it provided for meaningful conversation and business discussions, the total number of visitors to Messe Frankfurt during the week reached 73,500—not as small a crowd as some might have imagined

There were 2,013 exhibitors at Frankfurt last year from 80 world markets.

Trade visitors numbered some 36,000 from 105 countries, while “literary fans”—consumers—numbered 37,500, and even they accounted for 85 nations.

For all that talk of an agreeably less complex programming schedule, there were, in fact, some 2,235 events on the calendar, with 1,764 of them on the site at Messe Frankfurt.

Frankfurt Rights had a contingent of 3,189 members from 66 countries, and saw 397,210 titles in its system.

Image: Frankfurter Buchmesse

‘Translate, Transfer, Transform’

An interesting progression of what might be called the trade show’s “mood” occurs, of course, in the digital 2020 iteration of the fair, the 2021 return to physical activity, and the coming 2022 staging.

In 2020, as the full brunt of the pathogen’s impact was being felt without the aid of vaccination, the digital Frankfurt’s slogan was the wistful “Signals of Hope.”

In 2021, as the fair found its footing again in its reversion to the Messe’s physical setting, the slogan was “Re-Connect.”

Now, as the 2022 physical staging is prepared for people, many of them well versed in the ways of travel-regulations’ COVID testing requirements and protocols, the sloganeering team is fielding: “Translate, Transfer, Transform.”

  • Few concepts could be more welcome to the internationalist Publishing Perspectives readership, of course, than translation. Translation is of course the basis of the rights trade—which lies at the heart of Frankfurter Buchmesse and every trade show in the international publishing industry. In this context, organizers say, it also refers to people of different cultural backgrounds finding their way to each other, the emphasis on diversity, inclusivity, and equity that’s become central to so many in publishing today.
  • The term “transfer,” initially a bit harder to sort out in terms of this year’s slogan, actually refers to subsidiary rights developments along the lines of books to film, words to screen, and other such concepts that share the idea of developing intellectual property fully to manifest its broadest potential in a marketplace.
  • What’s “transformed,” in the thinking behind the slogan, is “literature into new contexts and new thinking.” Essentially, the “transformation” part is about what presence and effect and impact literature and the bookish world and its business has on society and culture.

Juergen Boos

Talking about the 2022 approach, Frankfurt president and CEO Juergen Boos says, With this year’s motto ‘translate, transfer, transform’, we want to highlight the power of stories, as well as shine a light on a central aspect of the publishing business: the rights trade.

“Good stories have a transformative power: they transfer us into different worlds and show new perspectives.

“By translating stories into different languages, transferring them into different cultural settings, and transforming them into various formats—from printed books to films—our industry plays a key role in enabling words and ideas to cross borders, thereby promoting the dialogue and understanding between different cultures.”

As we move on into the spring, you’ll see more and more representations of the three-part 2022 Frankfurt suite of “transformational” phrases, that annual conversational transaction that the organizers have with their exhibitors, trade visitors, and fans.


More on Frankfurter Buchmesse is here, more on world publishing’s book fairs and trade shows is here, and more from Publishing Perspectives on the German market is here

More from us on the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on international book publishing is here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson is a non-resident fellow of Trends Research & Advisory, and he has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with CNN.com, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.

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