Official attendance figures for the 2014 Frankfurt Book Fair dipped once again, but only modestly. Frankfurt officials reported that 140,291 trade visitors attended the 2014 fair, down from the 142,921 professional visitors attending the 2013 fair, a decline of less than 2%. Total attendance was also down, clocking in at 269,534 total vistors, down from the 275,342 that attended in 2013, a roughly 2.2% drop.
While the global economy remains mired in uncertainty, especially in Europe, posting only a slight dip in the professional attendance is impressive. Overall, since 2009, when the effects of the global recession began to really hit the industry, professional attendance is down about 6.7%. The fair drew 152,530 professional attendees in 2009.
Fair officials added that the new Business Club attracted roughly 3,000 visitors from more than 50 countries, and said that 100 “tech-based innovators” made use of the “Hot Spot” exhibition areas for service providers. In addition, there were 100 first-time exhibitors in the children’s and young adult book segment.
Fair director Juergen Boos suggested that the publishing business has turned a corner on its path to a digital future—as has the fair, which will unveil some major changes for next year’s event. “after an initial moment of panic [the publishing industry] is now demonstrating an astonishing level of mental agility, even in the face of digitisation.” Boos said.