The BBG (Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels Beteiligungsgesellschaft), organizers of the Frankfurt Book Fair, today confirmed its intention to go ahead with the book fair this October, with events on the fairgrounds and spread throughout the city of Frankfurt. The fair, scheduled for October 14-18, will also feature extensive virtual and online events for participants who cannot travel to Germany. “This year it is more important than ever to hold the Frankfurt Book Fair," said Juergen Boos, director of the fair.

The state of Hessen, where Frankfurt is located, was the arbiter of the decision and gave approval for the large-scale event to take place after reviewing the book fair's plans to maintain hygiene and social distancing measures. These new measures include implementing contactless registration and entry, health checks, expanding the minimum width of the aisles in the halls to between 20 to 25 ft., and doubling the minimum booth size to 86 sq.-ft.

Halls in use will be limited to 3.0/3.1, 4.0/4.1 and 6.0/6.1. This footprint, combined with the larger booth sizes, implies a significant reduction in the number of exhibitors at this year's event. Earlier, Boos had suggested the Literary Agents & Scouts Centre (LitAg) would move offsite, but instead it will return to Hall 6.1, from the Festhalle, where it was hosted last year.

Organizers also said that the majority of event stages, which feature a wide array of panel discussions, will be be replaced with virtual events. At the moment, the fair will open to the public on Saturday and Sunday for browsing and book sales. The fair is also planning to host a week-long online "Bookfest," which is being planned with the support of several German publishers, including Random House, Bonnier, and Bastei Lübbe.

What form Canada's 2020 Guest of Honor presentation will take is still yet to be determined.

"The Frankfurt Book Fair is the showcase of the international book industry and has therefore been increasingly popular in recent years - not only among the specialist public and in the rights trade, but also among readers," said Siegmar Mosdorf, chairman of the supervisory board of the fair. "It has become an international forum for intellectual exchange. We want to make use of this potential for discourse despite the pandemic, maintaining it on behalf of the book industry and its future," Mosdorf said.