Frankfurt digital book fest reaches 200,000 people worldwide


BOOKFEST digital with 1.5 million views on Facebook alone, Frankfurter Buchmesse 2020 – Special Edition reaches 200,000 people worldwide with various formats on

Overcoming borders, bringing people together, celebrating authors and books despite the increasing number of at-risk regions and travel restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic– that was the goal reached by the 72nd Frankfurter Buchmesse – Special Edition, which was held from October 14-18, 2020. Writers, agents, publishers and activists from around the world helped to shape the book fair’s programme and participated in the fair’s digital formats.

Juergen Boos, Director of Frankfurter Buchmesse, said, “This year we succeeded in offering an international programme for publishing professionals and a festival celebrating literary voices; we also offered a political platform online, for much needed discourse to take place. Our strategy of cooperating with well-established media partners and of being present where our target groups are – be it on our own platforms or on social media – proved effective. With alone, we have reached over 200,000 users worldwide, and BOOKFEST digital was able to attract 1.5 million viewers on Facebook alone. At the same time, we all know that nothing can replace meeting in person. We have learned a lot for the book fairs to come, both in regard to physical and digital events.”

BOOKFEST digital/city

The wide-ranging online show BOOKFEST digital broadcast 28 hours of programming on two channels on Saturday, 17 October 2020, reaching 1.5 million users worldwide on Facebook alone. From 9.30 am to midnight, viewers were able to watch live interviews with Edward Snowden, Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor, Eliot Weinberger and HåkanNesser, talks with Margaret Atwood, Elizabeth Gilbert, Ayad Akhtar, Ibram X. Kendi and Matt Haig, and discussions on current topics. It was also possible for BOOKFEST city to take place as planned, despite the more difficult conditions resulting from the coronavirus, making it the only in-person format for the public at the book fair. Visitors were able to experience almost 120 hours of programming at 36 locations throughout the city of Frankfurt.

Guest of Honour Canada

At the fair’s Opening Ceremony, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau gave the starting signal for Canada’s Guest of Honour appearance in 2021. Under the motto “Singular Plurality”, Canada was represented in the fair’s professional programme as well as on the ARD Book Fair stage, at ARTS+, BOOKFEST and at numerous cultural events in Frankfurt and further German cities.

Frankfurt Conference and professional programme

The digital conference and trade visitor programme at this year’s Frankfurter Buchmesse featured more than 70 hours of offerings with speakers from around the world. Dedicated to the topic “Signals of Hope: New Perspectives for a Stronger Future”, experts and publishing professionals joined in discussions at the book fair’s first ever digital conference series: Frankfurt Conference. Each day for four days (12-15 October 2020), the focus was on a different field of publishing: Academic & Scholarly, Rights & Licensing, Publishing Insights and Audio.

Regarding the state of the publishing industry’s retail sector, James Daunt, CEO of Barnes & Noble and Managing Director of Waterstones, pointed out during the Publishing Insights Track that, overall, book sales are currently “pretty robust”.

One much acclaimed event was the panel on the topic of freedom and publishing, with Pham Doan Trang, former spokeswoman of the Liberal Publishing House, recipient of the IPA Prix Voltaire, who is reported to be currently under arrest. In a video message, she said that publishing in Vietnam is a dangerous undertaking, and that publishers are threatened with arrest, torture and prison during all stages of the publishing process.

THE ARTS+ offered more than 11 hours of programming with a total of 54 speakers, including Cameron Bailey, Artistic Director Co- Head of the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), Stephanie Riggs, author of The End of Storytelling: The Future of Narrative in the Storyplex, and bestselling author Maja Lunde – on the topics of Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, Extended Reality, licensing and merchandising, and film and games.

All events of the fair’s conference and professional programme were broadcast online and the international trade audience took advantage of the many opportunities provided to interact and ask questions to the speakers during the live events. The recordings of the online events will be made available soon in the fair’s media archive.

Frankfurter Buchmesse 2020: Facts and Figures 

  • 200,000 users participated in the fair’s digital offerings on the website
  • 4,440 digital exhibitors from 103 countries registered at
  • 3,644 entries in the Frankfurter Buchmesse calendar of events during the week of the fair (Monday, 12 October – Sunday, 18 October 2020)
  • 6,800 submissions for advertising tiles by digital exhibitors for the 13 theme pages on

BOOKFEST digital

  • 5 million video views on 17 October 2020 on Facebook alone; viewers from 124 countries tuned in.

Social media

  • In addition, on Frankfurter Buchmesse’s social media channels 1.2 million interactions, post engagements and views were reached in the past seven days.

Frankfurt Rights platform

  • 4,165 registered buyers and sellers
  • 31,100 titles uploaded by FBM20 members
  • 400,000 titles on the Frankfurt Rights platform

Matchmaking Tool

  • 2,388 users
  • 9,542 requests
  • 3135 matches

India-focused webinar

FICCI – GBO organised a webinar during The Frankfurt Book Fair on the topic “Export of Indian publishing content and services”(Indian stories going overseas). The panellists included Ratnesh Jha, CEO-India & South East Asia, Burlington Group; Claudia Kaiser, Vice President – BD, Frankfurt Book Fair; Preeti Vyas, CEO, Amar Chitra Katha; Vineet Bajpai, renowned author; Ravi DeeCee, CEO, DC Books; Mudit Mohini, Director, Vishv Books and Neeraj Jain, MD, Scholastic India.

Amartya Sen receives the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade 

Indian economist and philosopher Amartya Sen won the Peace Prize Winner of the Year 2020. The award ceremony took place on Sunday, 18 October 2020, in Frankfurt’s Paulskirche.




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