TikTok and Frankfurter Buchmesse Open a New Collaboration

In News by Porter Anderson

Frankfurt’s Agora is the setting for a TikTok stage this year, emphasis on #BookTok and its community of book fans and readers.

At the 2013 Frankfurter Buchmesse, an “Open Stage” in the Agora. This year, TikTok will have a stage in the open-air space, with a spot for users to record and stream their videos. Image: FBM, Alexander Heimann

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

See also: In the United Kingdom, TikTok Announces Its Own Book Club

’73 Billion Views Worldwide’ of #BookTok
This year at Frankfurter Buchmesse—which is almost upon us, as any slightly wild-eyed trade visitor or exhibitor will tell you—a partnership between the 74th iteration of the trade show and TikTok will highlight the #BookTok community.

On Sunday, October 23, the final day of the fair, TikTok is to have a stage in the Agora, at the heart of Messe Frankfurt, and will use it to present talks, workshops, and performances with authors and publishers in the #BookTok community. The programming will be in German, as Sunday is one of the three days in which the public will be invited to be at the fair.

Guests announced to the news media for these events include julesboringlife, flying_bengel, avalino.diversity, charlotteschueler, tabeajoanna, and Brix Schaumburg.

In a space called the “#BookTok Creation Corner,” #BookTok users will be able to record videos and stream from the fairgrounds, an outreach to the community from Buchmesse to like-minded book fans.

Lars Birken-Bertsch

In a prepared statement, Lars Birken-Bertsch, Frankfurt’s director of strategic project development, cooperation, and programs, says, “The book fair stands for respect, diversity, and tolerance.

“It thrives on the heterogeneity of its participants and on an exchange among equals in an open dialogue.

“We are therefore all the more pleased to be working together with TikTok this year, thereby sharing our multifaceted program with an even larger international community.”

Tobias Henning. Image: Victor Strasse

And Tobias Henning, who is the general manager of TikTok Germany and Central/Eastern Europe, says, “The #BookTok phenomenon has captured the hearts of our community members.

Creators, authors and reading fans come together on TikTok every day to share their passion for books.

“With more than 73 billion views worldwide, #BookTok has given new life to classic titles and helped bring new authors and books to an audience of millions.

“As a result, we are especially excited to be giving the #BookTok community a stage not only on TikTok, but also at the world’s largest book fair.”

As the fair’s organizers point out, many in world publishing have been impressed with the ability of #BookTok to highlight titles and generate sales and engagement. Frankfurt reports that the hashtag #BookTokGermany has had some 275 million impressions.

Publishers will also tell you that #BookTok and other TikTok approaches seem relatively immune to efforts at purposeful marketing because the “authenticity” of users’ interaction is sacrosanct on the system. This differs from, say, the success that some publishers had in cultivating YouTube and/or BookTube personalities to place books for exposure in social.

The diversity of users and their exchanges, however, is undeniable and helps account for the 38 million views another hashtag, #GermanBookTok, have had to date.

Events Planned for October 23

In case you’re at Buchmesse on its final day and would like to look in on what the TikTok stage presentations are like–scheduled and chosen for a day of public visitation to the book fair–here’s a quick listing of what’s in store.

  • 10:30 to 10:50 a.m.: “Explore #BookTok”
    An introduction to #Booktok and  books on TikTok.
    Speaker: Tobias Henning
  • 10:55 to 11:45 a.m. “TikTok #BookClub “
    Panel discussion on #BookTok and the opportunities for authors.
    Includes a reading from the #BookTok hit Dunbridge Academy: Anyone by author Sarah Sprinz.
  • 12 to 12:45 p.m.: “How To Promote Your Book in 2022”
    What impact does #Booktok have on book sales? How do you become an author? And how do you promote a book in 2022? Onstage, #BookTok creators discuss these questions with author Arno Strobel, a popular German crime author, and a representative from the publishing house Piper.
  • 1:15 to 2:15 p.m. Interactive Audio Session
    This is a Q&A session on voice acting, a talent check and live creation of an interactive radio play with TikTok creators and professional voice actors.
  • 2:30 to 3 p.m.: Queer Is Beautiful, Modern Books
    A discussion of diversity in literature as well as a presentation on modern books for young people.
  • 3:30 to 4:20 p.m.: “Changing the World, Changing Minds” 
    Discussion about sustainability with well-known TikTok creators and public figures who have put their focus on the topic of the environment and changing consciousness.
  • 5 to 5:30 p.m. Performance
    Featuring the German singer-songwriter Mayberg.

At Frankfurt, join us for the inaugural edition of Publishing Perspectives Forum, a two-day program of leading and influential professionals in the international publishing industry discussing today’s challenges, dynamics, and trends.

One of our sessions, “The Future of Storytelling and Engagement,” is at 12 p.m. October 19, Frankfurt Wednesday, and includes TikTok’s Tobias Henning.

Technology, globalization, and diversification have expanded the way we look at book publishing and how we engage with readers. In this forward-looking panel, we will discuss how publishing is expanding into new platforms and finding writers and readers where we may not have looked before.

Sam Taylor is appearing in this panel in cooperation with the Berlinale Co-Production Market.

  • Lex Brookman, marketing and communications consultant, Tandem Collective — United Kingdom
  • Christine Chong, publisher, Tusitala Books — Singapore
  • Tobias Henning, general manager, TikTok Germany and Central/Eastern Europe — Germany
  • Sam Taylor, film producer and founder, film and music entertainment (F&ME) — United Kingdom (Sam Taylor is appearing in this panel in cooperation with the Berlinale Co-Production Market.)
  • Moderator: Erin L. Cox, US publicist, Frankfurter Buchmesse — United States

Attendance is free of charge for all Frankfurter Buchmesse exhibitors and trade visitors. The program language is English. You’ll find full details and developing news here

More from Publishing Perspectives on Frankfurter Buchmesse is here, and more on Aldus Up is here.

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.com, 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.