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The Frankfurt Book Fair, the industry’s largest event of the year, is about to start. From Wednesday, Penguin Random House and Verlagsgruppe Random House publishers will be exhibiting here alongside the rest of the book world. In addition to numerous new releases, international bestselling authors like Dan Brown, Ken Follett and Paula Hawkins will also be in the limelight. Arvato and the Bertelsmann Printing Group and Gruner + Jahr will also have stands. This year’s “guest of honor” country is France.
It will be colorful, international, political, star-studded – but above all, it will be a celebration of books. The Frankfurt Book Fair opens its doors for the 69th time on Wednesday, but the world of literature is already tuning up for the industry’s most important event of the year at various events across the city. It goes without saying that the Book Fair is a red-letter event in the appointment calendar of Bertelsmann's book businesses, but the service businesses at Arvato and the Bertelsmann Printing Group also use it to present their book- and printing-related services. Gruner + Jahr magazines will enrich the program with events. As usual, the Frankfurt Book Fair only opens to the public on the weekend from Oct 14 to 15; the days beforehand are reserved for trade visitors.
Bertelsmann is at the heart of the very first official tradeshow event this year, instead of just attending: Markus Dohle, head of the world’s biggest English-language publishing group as CEO of Penguin Random House, will give his view of the international book market situation in a keynote at the opening press conference on Wednesday at 11:00 a.m. The publishing group’s international dimension is reflected in its Book Fair presentation, which as usual is distributed to several stands. The Penguin Random House English-language publishers, among them Knopf, Vintage, Doubleday, Penguin, and Dorling Kindersley (DK), are exhibiting in Hall 6.2 at stand C 109. The joint stand of the German publishing group Verlagsgruppe Random House with its 44 imprints including Heyne, Goldmann, Knaus, Blanvalet, and CBJ can be found in Hall 3.0 at stand F20. The German-language DK imprint has set up just a few aisles away at stand E65. The publishers of the Spanish-language Penguin Random House Grupo Editorial, including Plaza & Janés, Rosa dels Vents, and Ediciones B, are exhibiting in Hall 5.1 at stand C112.
Arvato and Bertelsmann Printing Group joint stand
Arvato and the Bertelsmann Printing Group share a stand in Hall 4.0. Arvato Systems, Vereinigte Verlagsauslieferung (VVA) as part of Arvato SCM Solutions, Mohn Media, and GGP Media, can once again be found at stand F10, where they will exhibit their broad spectrum of services for the publishing industry, ranging from the technical conception and printing of printed products to delivery and the digitization of processes in the daily book business.
For the third time, G+J’s women’s magazine “Brigitte” will host the “Brigitte Live” discussion series on the Book Fair grounds. On Oct 14 and 15, “Brigitte.” Editor-in-Chief Brigitte Huber will once again welcome three authors for a live talk: the best-selling author Paula Hawkins (“The Girl on the Train,” “Into the Water”); forest ranger/nature expert Peter Wohlleben (“The Secret Life of Trees”), and Zsuzsa Bánk (“The Swimmer”). More information and the exact times can be found here. “Stern Crime” promises a round of talks full of suspense. Under the heading “True Crimes – True Novels?” crime authors Sebastian Fitzek, Klaus-Dieter Püschel, Friedrich and Melanie Raabe give insights into their writing. The G+J parenting magazine “Eltern Family” will award its “Giga-Maus” media award for the best family-friendly software and online products on Wednesday at the Book Fair.
Literary celebrities on the ‘Blaues Sofa’
Trade fair visitors will also encounter Bertelsmann in the transition room from Hall 5.1 to 6.1 where ‘Das Blaue Sofa’ (the ‘Blue Sofa’), possibly the literary scene’s most famous piece of furniture, sits. During the five days of the fair, around 70 authors from all over the world will take a seat on it for discussions with culture journalists from radio and TV. The audience can look forward to the Penguin Random House authors Richard David Precht (Goldmann), Yvonne Hofstetter (C. Bertelsmann), John Burnside (Knaus), Leïla Slimani (Luchterhand), Paula Hawkins (Blanvalet), Ulla Hahn (DVA), Jürgen Neffe (C. Bertelsmann), and Salman Rushdie (C. Bertelsmann), among others. The author lineup suggests that political issues will be more prominent than in previous years – similar to the rest of the fair’s supporting program.
On Tuesday evening, the 'Blaue Sofa' will start by welcoming the winner of the German Book Prize 2017, Robert Menasse, who was announced only on Monday at the Book Fair. From 8 p.m., visitors to the German National Library will also be able to see the writers Eva Demski, Didier Eribon and Jürgen Becker. Bertelsmann presents the Authors' Forum together with ZDF and Deutschlandfunk Kultur. The Blue Sofa is one of the highlights of the Open Books reading festival program, which focuses on the most interesting new releases from the book market at numerous readings around Frankfurt's Römer from Oct 11 to 14.
Impressive authors' offer
With more than 7,150 exhibitors from 106 countries, around 278,000 visitors, more than 4,000 events and around 10,000 accredited journalists, including 2,400 bloggers, the Frankfurt Book Fair is the largest tradeshow for the international publishing community. It is also a cross-industry meeting place for stakeholders from the film and gaming industries. Book license negotiations are a traditional focus at Frankfurt, and the rights business is booming: 500 tables rented out to dealers, agents and other rights professionals represent a new record.
The presence of bestselling authors is a normal phenomenon at Frankfurt, but this year the roster of international and German A-listers is particularly impressive. Margaret Atwood, Cecilia Ahern, Paula Hawkins, Nicholas Sparks, Daniel Kehlmann, Paul Maar, mountaineering icon Reinhold Messner, Sebastian Fitzek, bestselling philosopher Richard David Precht, teenage star Lukas Rieger, and many more will enrich the Book Fair's program. The appearance of two superstars of the literary world is anticipated with particular eagerness. At a press conference on Thursday and in front of a selected audience on Saturday, blockbuster U.S. author Dan Brown will present his latest novel “Origin,” which is published in the U.S. by Doubleday and in the U.K. by Transworld.
Tomorrow (Wednesday) Ken Follett will speak about his latest epic “A Column of Fire” at a press conference. The bestselling British author is especially popular in the Spanish-speaking world, where his works are published by Penguin Random House Grupo Editorial.
Frankfurt speaks French
This year, French is likely to be spoken in Frankfurt more than usual. As the Book Fair’s Guest of Honor, France is focusing its activities on the French language, which is spoken in about 80 countries on five continents. About 190 authors who publish their work in the French language are expected to be present to mark France’s appearance as the guest of honor country, including Philippe Dijan, Michel Houellebecq, Édouard Louis, Alain Mabanckou, Yasmina Reza, Amélie Nothomb and Leïla Slimani. As part of the Guest of Honor presentation, 143 German-language publishers have translated 555 titles from French into German, and 269 publishers and exhibitors from France and French-speaking countries are exhibiting in Frankfurt. Niger, Madagascar and Gabon are three French-speaking countries that are attending the Frankfurt Book Fair for the first time this year.
The space occupied by exhibitors from North America and northern, western and central Europe has remained stable compared to previous years. The Book Fair has recorded growing demand from Africa, Central Asia and the Middle East. It is noteworthy that comparatively smaller book markets, such as Kazakhstan and the Baltic countries of Estonia and Lithuania have significantly expanded their presence in Frankfurt compared to the previous year. “The book is more alive than ever,” is the preliminary conclusion of Katja Böhne, the Book Fair’s Head of Communications. The trade and general public will be able to see this for themselves in Frankfurt from today until Sunday.
All further information about exhibitors, opening hours, tickets, etc. can be found on the official Book Fair website.