Frankfurt 2022: 180,000 Trade and Public Visitors

In Feature Articles by Porter Anderson

‘In the midst of an oppressive global political situation,’ says Frankfurt president and CEO Juergen Boos, ‘this fair sent important signals.’

On the Agora at Messe Frankfurt, October 22, a public day at Frankfurter Buchmesse 2022. Image: FBM, Anett Weinrauch

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

Some 1,700 Trade Visitors at Publishing Perspectives Forum
As the weekend public days at Frankfurter Buchmesse 2022 have played out, the trade show’s administration has been able to release new numbers, updating our previous interim report—the good news overall being larger-than-anticipated levels of attendance.

Specifically, Frankfurt now is able to report:

  • 93,000 trade visitors (as compared to 2021’s 36,000) from more than 100 nations
  • 87,000 public visitors (as compared to 2021’s 37,500)
  • There were some 6,400 news-media representatives reporting from the Messe Frankfurt during the week
  • The Literary Agents & Scouts Center’s sold-out status represents 456 tables, book by approximately 300 agencies. Publishing Perspectives understands that between 8,000 and 10,000 visits were made to the “LitAg,” as it’s known, during the course of the week, those visits, of course, being primarily for meetings with trade representatives in the center.
  • As we’ve reported earlier, close to 200 workstations–introduced in the 2021 trade show–were used by exhibitors, as well, a lightweight and useful offer not only for exhibitors that didn’t have a dedicated stand and also by some exhibitors with stands but a need for additional and/or specialized meeting space
  • Also as we’ve reported, the Publishing Perspectives Forum drew some 1,700 trade visitors to its two days of  specialized B2B programming and Executive Talks in English for the international trade, 38 speakers being welcomed by a team of four moderators
  • A new figure now has some 1,500 visitors making their way to the stage in the International Translation Center to take part in one of the almost 30 events there

Throughout the week, it was clear that Frankfurter Buchmesse was, as organizers say, “more political than ever,” and that both trade and public visitors were responding strongly to the trade show’s unique capacity for lively discussions about the protest movement in Iran; the situation of people in Ukraine; increasing divisions in society; and the Russian opposition.

Juergen Boos

Frankfurt president and CEO Juergen Boos says, “In the midst of an oppressive global political situation, this fair sent important signals: face-to-face meetings serve as an antidote to polarization in times of heated debate.

“This shows how important Frankfurter Buchmesse is as a meeting place for the international publishing community: valuable relationships are maintained and new ones are made here in just a few days.

“We look back at five vibrant and successful fair days and are pleased about the positive turnout of Frankfurter Buchmesse 2022.”

Karin Schmidt-Friderichs

Karin Schmidt-Friderichs, the head of the Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels, Germany’s publishers and booksellers association, says, “Frankfurter Buchmesse was a major celebration of people’s enthusiasm for books and of democracy.

“In crowded aisles and during lively debates, one could clearly feel the power of books, the joy of reunions, and the desire to engage constructively with the issues of the day.

“Pressing topical issues were on the agenda—from the situation in Ukraine and Iran to topics such as diversity and social harmony. Frankfurter Buchmesse thus provided important impetus in terms of the current challenges facing the industry, society and the global political order. That allowed it to highlight its significance as the most important marketplace for books and a venue for promoting diversity and peaceful exchange.”

Guest of Honor Spain: ‘Ties Newly Made and Deepened’

In the Guest of Honor Spain pavilion, King Felipe IV and Queen Letizia take in the exhibition. Image: FBM, Bernd Hartung

As for Guest of Honor Spain, which focused intently on its linguistic diversity, the show is reporting that since 2019, when the project began, as many as 400 new books have been published in German, along with numerous titles in other European languages. This was, in fact, Spain’s second turn as the trade show’s guest of honor market.

María José Gálvez, general director of books and reading promotion at the Spanish ministry for culture and sports, says in a prepared statement, “We have honored Spain’s great literary tradition and offered a stage to new, promising voices.

“We hope that the ties newly made and deepened in and around Frankfurt to readers, publishers, and book lovers from around the world will last for a long time to come.”

More Elements of the 2022 Buchmesse

Another first at Buchmesse 2022, a #BookTok studio on the Agora from which visitors could stream their own short videos to the TikTok world. Image: FBM, Anett Weinrauch

The #BookTok community was present at Frankfurter Buchmesse for the first time.

“It’s all about the content. It has to tell a story,” said Tobias Henning, general manager of TikTok Germany and Central Europe.

“Since the number of #BookTok video views recently surpassed 84 billion worldwide, the discussion could not have been timelier.”

The trade visitor days were accompanied by a digital trade program: Masterclasses and the networking event The Hof offered industry players an opportunity to maintain and expand their networks virtually.

An “awareness team” made up of members of BDB–Bund für Antidiskriminierungs- und Bildungsarbeit e.V. / Alliance for Antidiscrimination and Education—was on duty during the entire fair. Visitors who felt they had been discriminated against could approach the team’s members on site or contact them by telephone or email.

In a statement issued by the “awareness team,” we read, “We’re glad that the issue of anti-discrimination has found its place at Frankfurter Buchmesse in the form of the awareness team.

We’re pleased that the book fair is taking the issue seriously and giving it space at the event. The team’s stand was very well received, not only by those who sought advice for concrete situations, but also by members of the various news media and interested individuals who wanted to find out more about our work and about discrimination in general. We at BDB e.V. hope that the process will continue, along with the constructive cooperation with Frankfurter Buchmesse.”

Publishing Perspectives Forum

Jens Klingelhöfer, co-founding CEO of Bookwire, speaks to a Publishing Perspectives Forum audience during an early-afternoon program on audiobooks. Image: FBM, Ingo Hattendorf

You’ll recall that our Publishing Perspectives Forum made its debut this week with two days of programming that presented a total 38 speakers across 12 hourlong events in either panel format or one-on-one interviews in our Executive Talks series.

Our Forum programming, which was devised with an intentional business and internationalist emphasis, was headlined by:

  • Charlie Redmayne, CEO of HarperCollins UK
  • Jonny Geller, CEO of the Curtis Brown Group
  • Núria Cabutí, CEO of Penguin Random House Grupo Editorial
  • Peter Warwick, president and CEO of Scholastic
  • Clemens Maier, CEO of Ravensburger
  • Juergen Boos, president and CEO of Frankfurter Buchmesse
  • Trasvin Jittidecharak, founder of Thailand’s Silkworm Books and International Publishers Association (IPA) Freedom to Publish committee member
  • Niko Pfund, president and academic publisher of Oxford University Press
  • Jens Klingelhöfer, co-founding CEO of Bookwire

Publishing Perspectives will of course be  bringing you highlights of the discussions and interviews we staged in the Publishing Perspectives Forum. Watch for those in coming days.

A much-watched event in terms of its application to Buchmesse’s host market: ‘Kulturstation: Women’s Football, Boom or Bubble?’ featured Claudia Roth, second from left in red, the minister of state and the federal government commissioner of Germany for culture and media. Image: FBM, Marc Jacquemin

Our Frankfurter Buchmesse Show Magazine now is out—in print on the Messe Frankfurt for trade visitors and exhibitors, and here in a free digital download for our world readership online.

The magazine has extensive coverage of issues and trends that are leading discussions and debates at the trade show this year, along with interviews, profiles, and commentary in this strongly attended Frankfurt year. Click here for your download (PDF).

More on Frankfurter Buchmesse is here, more on the international rights trade is here, more on this year’s Guest of Honor Spain is here, more on guest of honor programs and markets is here, more on international book fairs is here, and more on industry statistics is here.

Publishing Perspectives is the global media partner of the International Publishers Association

More from us on the still ongoing coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on international book publishing 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 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 International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, 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.