Over the years, the Frankfurt Book Fair has evolved in various ways to update its program, including the addition of new conferences like ConTec, and StoryDrive. But, for the first time in nearly 15 years, the fair will introduce a series of major changes, including the relocation of English-language and American exhibitors.
Set to begin in 2015, English-language and American exhibitors will move from their longtime home in Hall 8.0, closer to, as organizers put it, "the heart of the action" in Halls 6.0 and 4.0. Additionally, the Literary Agents & Scouts Centre will be moved to Hall 6.3.
Frankfurt officials say the changes reflect the growth of the international book market, industry consolidation, and a desire to optimize “traffic flow.” The changes, it is also hoped, will generate new opportunities for exhibitors to to "interact with fellow fair-goers."
Frankfurt Book Fair director Juergen Boos told PW that the coming changes have been under discussion for the past few years, as disruption has rippled through the international publishing industry.
In the past the American publishers were largely rights sellers, and were satisfied to be somewhat isolated in Hall 8.0, Boos said. Now, American houses are more interested in buying international rights as well. Thus, putting the American and English language publishers in the middle of the fair made increasing sense.
"It can take you 20 minutes to get to Hall 8.0 from the other halls, and another 20 minutes to get through the hall," Boos noted. With the move "business partners and locations that are important to attendees will be just a five-minute walk away." Boos added that Fair organizers have been in discussions with publishers, and said reactions to the relocation were "quite positive."
Other changes the Fair announced today include:
- Asia, India and the Arab world will, in 2015, be centrally located in Hall 4, to accommodate one of fastest-growing markets.
- Latin America, the Spanish-speaking world, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Scandinavia and Eastern Europe will now be "the face of Hall 5 going forward."
- Scientific publishers will remain in Hall 4.2, “reinforced” by the addition of “international specialist publishers.”
- German-language publisher world will remain in Halls 3 and 4, but will benefit from “more opportunities to expand their international business easier and faster, thanks to the relocation of Hall 8 exhibitors.”
- In addition, the Agora—the open-air space between the halls—will be upgraded with an expanded Open Stage program.
Frankfurt Book Fair officials say they will provide "regular progress reports" over the coming months as plans for 2015 unfold, and a number of informational events and tours are also planned for the Fair in October. More information is available on the Frankfurt Book Fair website.