This article first appeared in the Spring 2019 Edition of the Publishing Perspectives Magazine, and the interview was conducted by Editor-in-Chief Porter Anderson.
The year 2020 will be special for Frankfurter Buchmesse’s evolution, both in terms of the fair’s layout and new offerings. Below, the director of the Frankfurter Buchmesse, Juergen Boos, and its vice president of marketing and communications, Katja Böhne, answer some questions about the book fair’s “Future Frankfurt” concept and what it holds in store for exhibitors and visitors.
What is the “Future Frankfurt” concept?
Juergen Boos: The name “Future Frankfurt” refers to a series of initiatives and plans meant to ensure that our exhibitors and visitors have the best possible platform to increase their business in Frankfurt. In concrete terms, this means that we will improve the fair’s infrastructure and provide tailor-made concepts and services, such as theme-centered exhibition spaces and trade events. Here, our main goal is to provide a new “quality of encounters” all across the fair.
So what does this mean for Frankfurt’s exhibitors and trade visitors?
JB: One major aspect of “Future Frankfurt” is the development of additional thematically focused exhibition areas and events at the fair. This will make it easier for visitors to locate exhibitors based on their interests. In 2020, we will open up Hall 1, which is centrally located, while the fairgrounds will close Hall 5 for renovations. These changes give us an opportunity to revamp the layout of the halls by adding theme-centered areas.
This year, 2019, our Literary Agents and Scouts Centre will move from Hall 6.3 to the Festhalle because of infrastructure improvements being done by the fairgrounds in Hall 6. Tables at the “LitAg” are in high demand as usual, and we are working to give our agents and scouts there the best possible infrastructure and experience in the Festhalle.
By early summer this year, we will be planning the 2020 hall layouts. And we will keep our exhibitors updated about any changes that might affect them.
What thematic areas is Frankfurt working on?
JB: “Frankfurt Kids” and “Frankfurt EDU” are good examples. We launched these initiatives in 2018 specifically to provide dedicated spaces and programs for our exhibitors and visitors in the fields of children’s publishing and education. In 2019, we will add yet another thematic area in Hall 3.1: Frankfurt Audio. We also plan to expand our literary festival, BOOKFEST, which we celebrated last year by launching our new stage, the Frankfurt Pavilion, at the center of the fair.
Is Frankfurt working on any other changes or layout improvements this year?
Katja Böhne: Last year, we conducted a research project on accessibility at the fair, together with the Technische Universität Darmstadt, called “Frankfurter Buchmesse for All.” As a result of this study, we have already started improving the walkways and signs at the exhibition grounds, as well as the number of seating areas. This helps ensure that all visitors can find their way quickly to their next meeting, that people with special needs have access to all areas and events on the exhibition grounds, and that our weekend visitors can spend quality time at the book fair.
How can Frankfurter Buchmesse regulars make the most of the “Future Frankfurt” developments?
KB: I recommend taking advantage of the full range of our services—both existing and planned. Update your company profile in our catalogue; enter your events in our calendar of events; use our mobile app’s navigation and discovery features; participate in the fair’s networking and matchmaking sessions; and sign up for one of our guided tours to learn about a new segment of the industry.
JB: I would suggest concentrating on what is—and has always been—the very heart of Frankfurter Buchmesse: great stories and face-to-face meetings. Also, don’t forget to save some time for “after (fair) hours” events, which have increased enormously in recent years. There will be inspiring people to discuss ideas with all over Frankfurt during the days of the fair. And come to a few of the many events that are part of BOOKFEST, our international festival for literature, stories, and ideas.
All the information about the future concept and changes can be found on the Future Frankfurt website: https://www.buchmesse.de/en/service/fair-renovation-2020