The Frankfurt Book Fair has recommitted to running a hybrid meeting in 2021, one which will feature in-person and virtual elements, and has opened registration for exhibitors. The in-person event is scheduled for October 20-24 and has been given the theme of “re:connect." Canada will be the 2021 fair's guest of honor.

Last year, fair organizers had hoped to conduct a hybrid event but travel restrictions forced them to turn to a virtual-only meeting.

Many of the plans for last year's in-person fair have been transferred to the 2021 event, including using a smaller footprint at the fair grounds. The book fair will cover three main halls, including using halls 3, 4 and 6, as well as the Forum and the Festhalle. The Literary Agents & Scouts Centre (LitAg) will be moved to Hall 6.2 from the Festhalle, where it was most recently hosted in 2019. The fair will also begin a new hot desk program called Frankfurt Workstations, that will allow attendees to rent tables in the halls for meetings on a daily basis.

The fair expects approximately two-thirds the number of exhibitors as they did in 2019. In another change, the first two full days will be allotted exclusively for professional attendees; the public will be admitted starting on the Friday of the fair.

When it comes to the virtual side of the fair, Frankfurt promises an evolution of its virtual platforms, including the fair's matchmaking took for meetings and it's virtual rights platform, Frankfurt Rights, as well as a robust online conference programs. Virtual social programs, such "The Hof," the fair's casual meet-up on Zoom, have been held monthly since last year.

Safety remains a top priority for the fair, which promises adequate room for social distancing, with more open floor plans and the smallest exhibition stand will be 8 sq. meters, instead of 4 sq.-meters. The number of overall visitors will be monitored and limited according to regulations and restrictions put in place at the time.

The various changes to fair are being supported and underwritten by funds from the German government’s Neustart Kultur program, which the fair says will result in "significantly lower fees for exhibition stands," according to a press release.

“In 2021, Frankfurter Buchmesse will again be an important meeting place - for the book industry, for authors and readers,” said Juergen Boos, director of Frankfurt Book Fair, in a press release. “The industry needs an exchange and visibility more than ever. In recent months we’ve held in-depth discussions with our customers and created a plan tailored to the needs of our exhibitors. With our updated conditions for participating in the fair, and our generous cancellation policy and flexible program, we want to make it easy for our exhibitors in Germany and around the world to decide in favor of coming to Frankfurt. As always, protecting the health of our exhibitors and visitors has top priority. Our planning processes are therefore flexible, allowing us to quickly adapt to changing requirements.”

The deadline for registering is May 31. The fair is offering what they describe as a generous cancellation policy should a surge in Covid infections or travel restrictions necessitate a shut down.

Oh, and don't forget to make your hotel reservations now too!