Following last year’s digital Fair, EIBF’s team was excited to join the in-person events at FBF 2021
The 73rd Frankfurt Book Fair took place between 20 and 24 October. While scaled down in size, the five-day event still attracted a large crowd of book enthusiasts. The event attracted over 25,000 visitors with events on the grounds, while remote attendees could access a large online programming. This year’s guest of honour was Canada, reprising the position after the COVID-19 pandemic derailed the 2020 plans. Under the theme of ‘Singular Plurality’, Canada staged various talks, events, and exhibitions spotlighting the diversity in the country.
EIBF team attended the professional fair days, taking the opportunity to meet with colleagues, members, and wider industry professionals to support network and development activities in the upcoming months. Read more on what we have been up to in the past week.
Tuesday, 20 October
EIBF Director Julie Belgrado joined the Frankfurt Book Fair Opening Ceremony, an event which celebrated book sector’s resilience and creativity. The opening ceremony featured prominent political and literary guests, with serious speeches full of cheerful moments. Margaret Atwood joined the event virtually to celebrate Canada as Guest of Honour, highlighting all of the things that “would” have been if last year’s fair took place in person, including the maple syrup fountains.
Wednesday, 21 October
On Wednesday, we joined the official opening of the Bulgarian Book Association stand, which was opened by Bulgaria’s Vice-President Iliana Iotova. In her speech, the Vice-President highlighted the importance of books for the development of a society. According to Iotova, more needs to be done to support the development of the book sector in the country: “Reducing VAT to 9% is timely, but it cannot be a measure only in times of crisis. We have to motivate the Bulgarian authors.”
We also participated at the ‘Sustainability Summit: How can the book sector address climate change?’, a dedicated event which brought together book chain representatives to discuss how the sector players can work together to support the climate change action. As Badour Al Quasimi, President of the International Publishers Association said: “As world leaders gather at COP26, the publishing industry must not underestimate its role in combating climate change. The IPA is in a unique position to ensure our voices are heard & that we can play a significant role in tackling this pressing global issue.”
EIBF’s Director Julie Belgrado shared the various initiatives booksellers around the world are implementing to help spotlight climate change, highlighting the unique position booksellers have in reaching and interacting with customers – thus helping them make informed decisions on sustainability.
Thursday, 22 October
On Thursday, we attended the Intergraf’s conference on ‘Shaping the future with books’. The one-day event spotlighted very interesting topics, such as the book market and the digital shift challenges for the future, how the reading habits of youth have changed, the climate change challenges and the impact of e-books on the market.
In addition, we joined the annual FEP’s rendez-vous, which focused on analysing the book market trends and highlighting the resilience and recovery of the European publishing sector, despite weaknesses persisting in some countries. The event also called for fair solutions in ensuring access to books, including in libraries, and introduced the 'Fair Lesen' initiative, led by a coalition of German authors and publishers.
Over the three days at the Fair, we met several of EIBF’s members who joined the Fair, including Jessica Sänger and Robert Duchstein from the Börsenverein (German Publishers and Booksellers Association), Dessislava Alexieva from the Bulgarian Book Association, Tanja Messerli from the Swiss Bookseller and Publishers Association and Inara Belinkaja from the Latvian Booksellers Association.
We were also very happy to catch up with our associate members Stephanie Krawehl from the Lesesaal Buchhandlung in Hamburg, Germany, and Giovanni Hoepli from Hoepli International Bookstore in Milano, Italy.
It was delightful to be able to meet so many of our members in person again. We are looking forward to the next time.