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The Frankfurt Book Fair: 5 Tips for First-Time Visitors

Frankfurt Book Fair 2016

I decided to check out the Frankfurt Book Fair as a first timer to see what’s going on in the publishing world. As this is renowned as the world’s largest book fair, it was definitely worth checking out for me as an editor but as this first is vast, here are five tips I would like to share for first timers if you’re thinking of going to the next one in 2017.

Ireland Stand at the Frankfurt Book Fair
Ireland Stand at the Frankfurt Book Fair

1: Yes, this fair is enormous! It lasts for five days and there are over 7,000 exhibitors from more than 100 countries spread over three huge halls with two or three floors each. Not only that, well over a quarter of a million people visit the Frankfurt Book fair from around the globe! The first three days are trade only. That’s busy, so be prepared for large crowds, especially on the weekend when it’s open to the public and books go on sale. From what I could tell, one hall is dedicated to German language books and related products and the rest is for countries from all over the world. That means it takes some time to get around so definitely pack comfortable shoes!

2: Have a solid plan! Download the Frankfurt Book Fair app and spend time before you go deciding what you want to do and see and note the location of each. I would recommend you also write this down somewhere else as the app didn’t work offline for me so I couldn’t access the information while there, although the help desks can look up events for you too. Obviously, if you already have meetings planned before the fair, give yourself enough time to move between locations. There are free shuttle buses outside to help you move between halls, but I just walked.

3: Networking is simply saying hello!  As I went to theFrankfurtt Book Fair solo and was new to the book fair scene, I simply found out where the many networking events hosted by exhibitors where (either via the Twitter feed or by listening out for a party!) and just started chatting to some people who were more than happy to give me the lowdown on their day. Also, don’t forget to check out what’s going on at the Literaturhaus as this is where a lot of the evening networking happens.

Outside books and food stands at the Frankfurt Book Fair
Outside books and food stands at the Frankfurt Book Fair

4: Eat outside! All of the tasty food is in the outside area where you can get crepes, hot dogs, good seafood dinners, roast chicken, salads, curries, tea/coffee stands, and more so you’re spoiled for choice! There are also reading spaces and stages for live events and interaction with speakers so don’t just stay inside the halls.

5. For self-publishers and indie writers: If you’re here as an independent writer, you’ll be able to soak up the atmosphere in the self-publishing area, which has a good program of events that offers great opportunities for networking. You can see an example of what went on in this space at the 2016 Frankfurt Book Fair here. Other than that, I didn’t really notice another space for writers.

If you’re heading to the 2017 Frankfurt book fair, let me know and it would be great to hear your plans. If you have any questions, feel free to get in touch or comment below!

Thanks for reading,

Emer

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