book fair

Frankfurt Book Fair

The Frankfurt Book Fair (Frankfurter Buchmesse) is the world's largest trade fair for books, based on the number of publishing companies represented. It is held annually in mid-October in Frankfurt am Main, Germany.

Representatives from book publishing and multimedia companies from all over the world come to the Frankfurt Book Fair in order to negotiate international publishing rights and licensing fees. The fair is organised by a subsidiary company of the German Publishers and Booksellers Association. For five days more than 7,000 exhibitors from over 100 countries and more than 286,000 visitors take part. Although the Frankfurt Book Fair is considered to be the most important book fair in the world for international deals and trading.


The Frankfurt Book Fair is a critical marketing event for the launching of books, but it is also an important event to facilitate the negotiation of the international sale of rights and licences. Visitors take the opportunity to obtain information about the publishing market, to network, and to do business. Publishers, agents, booksellers, librarians, academics, illustrators, service providers, film producers, translators, printers, professional and trade associations, institutions, artists, authors, antiquarians, software and multimedia suppliers all take part in the events and business climate of Frankfurt Book Fair. In 2006, more than 11,000 journalists from 66 countries reported on the fair which brought together 7,272 individual exhibitors from 113 countries, and more than 183,000 trade visitors.



The Frankfurt Book Fair has a tradition that spans over more than 500 years. Soon after Johannes Gutenberg had invented printing in movable letters in the town of Mainz (only a short distance away from Frankfurt), the first book fair was held by local booksellers. Until the end of the 17th century, it was the most important book fair in Europe. Due to political and cultural reasons, it was replaced by the Leipzig Book Fair in the time of the enlightenment. After World War II, the first book fair was held again in 1949 at the St. Paul's Church. Since then, it has regained its pre-eminent position.

New Events

Since June 2006 there is as a Joint Venture the annual Cape Town Bookfair.

In 2006 Litcam, a campaign first of all against analphabetism began. In this context, the Frankfurt Book Fair in 2007 also started a short story-projekt named "Who's on the line? Call for free" - it is from and for people with migration background.

In 2007

10-14 October, from Wednesday to Friday restricted exclusively to trade visitors; general public: Saturday and Sunday. Opening times are from 9.00 a.m. to 6.30 p.m. daily and to 5.30 p.m. on Sunday.

Guest of Honour Catalan Culture

"Singular i Universal – Unique and Universal" – Catalan Culture uses this motto to present itself as Guest of Honour at the Frankfurt Book Fair in 2007. A total of 160 cultural and literary events will ensure that the book fair will be an exceptional showcase for the Catalan publishing industry and Catalan culture. The exhibition, "La Cultura Catalana, Singular i Universal“ will be the centrepiece in the forum of the Frankfurt Book Fair. In the Book Fair's exhibition "Books on Catalan Culture", publishing companies from all over the world are showing translations of titles by Catalan authors as well as current books about Catalan culture.

The literary programme will form an important point of emphasis. Famous Catalan authors such as Quim Monzó, Jaume Cabré, Maria Barbal, Baltasar Porcel, Carme Riera or Joan Francesc Mira, with a total of 130 colleagues will show a diverse picture of Catalan literature on the fair site, in the “Frankfurt Literaturhaus” and in the “Römer”. A total of more than 60 literary events, discussions and readings are planned around the Frankfurt Book Fair. The fair programme will also be accompanied by a multi-facetted cultural programme in the city with the participation of approximately 680 artists.

The fair has attracted some criticism. Der Spiegel described it as "closed-minded" for its policy of not including the many Catalans who write in Spanish in its definition of Catalan literature.. On the other hand, when Spain -as a country- was invited to the London Book Fair this same year, only Spanish language writers were actually promoted.

In 2008

15-19 October (opening hours see above).

Guest of Honour Turkey

In autumn 2006, Book Fair director Jürgen Boos and Attila Koç, the Turkish Republic’s minister of culture and tourism, signed the agreement for the Guest of Honour appearance in 2008. A Turkish organisation committee has already begun with preparations for a programme that will include a varied range of exhibitions and cultural events alongside the presentation at the Book Fair. There are plans for seminars and workshops, book exhibitions, readings, concerts, films and stage productions – mainly in Frankfurt and Berlin, but also in other German cities.

In anticipation of the forthcoming Guest of Honour appearance, considerable efforts are under way in Turkey: The state publishing sector was restructured in 2005 and the translation funding programme TEDA was also launched in 2005. An international network of literary agents will work on raising the profile of Turkish literature in other countries and boost trade in rights and licences. Other activities are directed towards the modernisation of libraries.


  • Peter Weidhaas, Wendy A. Wright: A History of the Frankfurt Book Fair. Dundurn, October 31 2007, ISBN 978-1550027440

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