The Frankfurt Book Fair takes place every year in October in Germany. With 7,500 exhibitors from 110 countries worldwide, it is the largest literature and media fair in the world. Since 1988 the fair has put the literature and culture of a host country under the spotlight. During the fair you have the opportunity to get to know the latest books and meet numerous prominent authors from all over the world during book readings. The organizers also award several prestigious prizes during the Frankfurt Book Fair, which include, for example, the German Book Prize.
The forerunners of the Frankfurt Book Fair took place in the city on the Main many centuries ago. Allegedly, manuscripts had been sold on the Frankfurt market as early as the 11th century. It took several centuries before Johannes von Gutenberg invented the printing press, which laid the foundation stone for the mass production of a book in 1450, and the city developed into a trading centre for literature. Frankfurt rose to become an multinational trade hub for many industries as well, and books played a crucial part in this development.
Meeting Place for Intellectuals
In 1949 the Frankfurt Book Fair was officially founded. It quickly developed into a meeting place for the European intellectual elite. Frankfurt owes its rise to a focal point in German history. After the division of Germany, the West lost the city of Leipzig, which was the leading centre for the book trade, to the East. Frankfurt turned this situation into an asset and, therefore, in 1949, the first Frankfurt Book Fair was held in Paulskirche. Even then, 205 exhibitors presented around 8,400 books and 14,000 visitors did not miss the premiere of the Frankfurt Book Fair.
Just like then, nowadays, the fair is a reflection of social conditions. In the years 1967 to 1969, the event experienced massive headwinds as student movements protested the cultural establishment. The riots were particularly violent in 1968 and at times they dangerously escalated. Luckily, the situation quickly calmed down and in 1969, the protest waves smoothed out, and business continued as usual.
Since then, the Frankfurt Book Fair has grown into the world’s most important book and media fair. Promoters coordinate numerous publication dates of great authors with the book fair, where the selected presentations usually take place. At the same time, the fair is an important trading centre for the international industry. That is not only a place for readings and presentations; it is also a platform for cultural and political dialogue. The extraordinary cultural event attracts around 283,000 visitors from all over the world. They will a total of 2,700 events that occur not only on the exhibition grounds but also around Frankfurt. The exhibition area is 172,000 square meters. Over the five days of the fair, 7,500 exhibitors from 110 countries cavort there. The curiosities you can find at the fair are books as well as various DVDs, CDs, audio books, and calendars.