Frankfurt Book Fair – the Special Edition

Digital B2B participation sponsored by German government

Claudia Kaiser vice president of the Frankfurt Book Fair takes part in a webinar to brief Indian publishers about this year's Special Edition Screenshot IPP
Claudia Kaiser vice president of the Frankfurt Book Fair takes part in a webinar to brief Indian publishers about this year's Special Edition Screenshot IPP

The German Book Office that looks after the activities of the German book industry in India, including the world’s largest book fair for the exchange of translation and publishing rights, has organized at least two presentations to Indian publishers in the last few weeks. The big news apart from the fact that the FBF will be a hybrid event, both material and virtual, is that German government funding has enabled the organizers to offer 7,500 publishers worldwide virtual or digital participation free of charge. The minister of state and culture is supporting the FBF as part of the country’s NEUSTART KULTUR stimulus package.

In its digital avatar, the Frankfurt Book Fair 2020, with its extensive digital program, can be accessed from around the world. There are a host of offers for the general public and virtual B2B opportunities for trade visitors, such as matchmaking, networking, further education, and rights trading.

In the most recent webinar numbering over 40 publisher participants, Claudia Kaiser vice president of the FBF said, “We will have a physical fair, but it will be smaller.” Kaiser explained that the uncertainties of the Covid-19 pandemic continue and persist and said that in some ways to recreate the flavor and multiple channels of the FBF digitally seems in many ways more challenging than even organizing the physical fair.

Looking forward to the new way of participation

FBF has special tools for the Special Edition from 14 to 18 October that digitally recreate the professional activities at the annual fair. There are special thematic events. Central is the digital catalog that can contain multimedia content and is open to all who register in time up to a limit of 7,500 entrants. Here publishers and other relevant entrants can upload information about their titles and offer for distribution or rights and translation. Requests for online meetings can be made, and video can be embedded.

Frankfurt Rights

Frankfurt Rights is Frankfurter Buchmesse’s new digital portal for contacts, information, and trading rights and licenses. It will host an international catalog of rights to browse, discover, and be found in. As Bipin Shah said near the end of the webinar, “We are definitely going to register, and are looking forward to the new way of participation.”

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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