Initially, a limit of 450 people had been established, but once the city was declared a “red area”, it was no longer possible to maintain that number
Distance between authors and readers and online conferences are some of the characteristics that identify the Frankfurt Book Fair this year, in a quieter edition due to the pandemic. Two days before its official inauguration, which took place on Wednesday, the board took the decision to further reduce the public’s presence during the readings and meetings scheduled until Sunday. Initially, a limit of 450 people was established, but once the city was declared a “red area”, it was no longer possible to maintain that number.
The biggest book fair in the world is being held even with the pandemic, but with changes: there are no longer endless lines for an autograph by authors like Dan Brown or Ken Follett, or lectures by publishers around the world in search of the next best -seller. Last year’s edition attracted around 300 thousand visitors.
In fact, interviews with invited authors will be maintained, but transmitted over the internet, as well as readings and conferences. Through digital platforms, editors and agents discuss current trends and dispute translation rights.
However, not everything will be virtual. Frankfurt hotels, museums, bars and bookstores organize readings for an audience of up to 50 people. The use of masks, physical distance and the provision of contact data for the tracking of the public will be mandatory.
On Wednesday, at the Walden cafe, Christiane Decker-Eisel, 67, waited patiently in line for German writer Bov Bjerg, seated behind a large acrylic panel, to sign his book. “Your job interests me and I really wanted to be here,” said the retired teacher. More than 4,400 exhibitors from more than 100 countries signed up to participate over the internet.