Rowman and Littlefield International

RLI at the Frankfurt Book Fair


Published on Monday 31 Oct 2016
As a first time visitor to Frankfurt Book Fair, it is impossible not be taken aback by the sheer size of the event. The area of the fair is so gigantic that travelators have been installed along corridors to ferry people from hall to hall as they are forced to run to make their next meeting. This year located in Hall 4.2 amongst the STM & Academic publishing, our stand occupied a prime spot looking out over the central café area of the hall with lots of passing traffic. This was a new location for us, having been in Hall 8 until it was closed in 2014. Seeing the vast expanse of the fair as it is in 2016, it is difficult to imagine that the event has been diminishing in size over the last few years. It is easy to get lost amongst the elaborate displays and stands that span across various halls and floors, and I was often wary of wandering too far in fear of not being able to find my way back.

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As the largest trade book fair in the world, with over 7000 exhibitors from across the globe, it is not only the grounds of the congress centre that can seem daunting to a first-time visitor such as myself. Frankfurt Book Fair boasts almost 300,000 attendees over just five days, with representatives from all corners of the publishing industry, from publishers to printers to booksellers, all coming together to discuss books. A significant portion of the visitors are members of the general public, who are welcome to attend on the weekend. Exploring the fair on these final two days feels like a different experience from the back-to-back business meetings of the first three days. Hundreds of visitors of all ages travel to Frankfurt for the finale of the German Cosplay Championship, which is hosted by the book fair. Everywhere you turn there are attendees in elaborate costumes dressed as their favourite comic book characters.

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Whether attended by enthusiastic teenagers with a passion for dressing up as characters from books, or by publishing representatives, there to negotiate on rights and sales, Frankfurt Book Fair is an essential part of the book publishing industry. Daunting though it may be for a first-time visitor, it is wonderful to experience an event which brings together so many people, united by their enthusiasm for the book industry.