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Spirit of optimism and vigour in the book industry: “Working together to raise enthusiasm for books and foster an open and diverse society”

Opening of the Frankfurt Book Fair 2018 / Publishers and bookshops already forging new paths to customers / Book industry expresses its commitment to advocating human rights and freedom of expression Publishers and bookshops are currently hard at work…
Erstellt am 09.10.2018

Opening of the Frankfurt Book Fair 2018 / Publishers and bookshops already forging new paths to customers / Book industry expresses its commitment to advocating human rights and freedom of expression

Publishers and bookshops are currently hard at work developing new ways of increasing enthusiasm for books and book reading among the public. They are also eager to foster free and democratic societies and take a stand for human rights, freedom, diversity and mutual respect. These elements were at the focus of the welcome greeting given by Heinrich Riethmüller, Chairman of the Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels (German Publishers and Booksellers Association) at today’s opening press conference of the Frankfurt Book Fair 2018. As Riethmüller noted, “We have a number of significant tasks ahead of us, and we intend to face these challenges with confidence and optimism. Books continue to be a key medium of entertainment, information and opinion formation. Our efforts in the realms of content and communication aim to promote culture and education, while also contributing to mutual understanding, dialogue and peaceful coexistence in a pluralistic society.”

Riethmüller also highlighted the palpable sense of optimism and vigour circulating in the book industry at the moment: “Spurred on by the results of our recent comprehensive study on readers and book buyers, today’s publishers and bookshops are engaging more intensively with customers and customer needs as ever before. Indeed, a large number of survey respondents claimed that although they were buying and reading fewer books, they still cherished the medium and even yearned for time to read. Unfortunately, they are finding less and less time to do so thanks to their hectic daily schedules, stress caused by social media and distractions from other entertainment formats. With this in mind, the members of today’s book industry – be they small, medium or large bookshops, trade publishers or specialist publishers – are now working in all areas to bring reading back to the people by providing more contact points to books and more effective orientation regarding which ones to buy.” According to Riethmüller, turnover in the book market in 2018 including September is currently at minus 1.1 percent over last year. However, he noted, the industry is optimistic that it will achieve a balanced year-end result thanks to robust autumn and Christmas sales.

At this year’s gathering, the Börsenverein and the Frankfurt Book Fair will join with a number of partners to promote “On the Same Page,” a campaign celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. At the opening press conference, Riethmüller made the following plea: “Today, we are seeing human rights violated on an almost daily basis. For this reason, we must remain active on behalf of human rights and make vigorous use of them so that they may be preserved. Bookshops and publishers consider it their responsibility to help shape a society firmly anchored in respect for human rights. All of civil society, too, is called upon to contribute to the success of a free and democratic society and to stand up for human rights. If we do not, the discourse will be dominated by people who seek to limit and even deny the dignity, rights and freedoms of others.”

Riethmüller noted further that the basic human right of freedom of expression is of vital importance to the existence of the book industry: “We vehemently demand that all authors, journalists, publishers, cultural professionals and other political prisoners currently imprisoned or detained in Turkey – and around the world – be released immediately. The persecution of critical voices and dissenters must come to an end.”

Please find attached a PDF copy of the speech Heinrich Riethmüller will give tonight at the official opening of the Frankfurt Book Fair 2018. Please note that a press embargo is in effect for this speech until 5:30 pm today.

The Börsenverein at the Frankfurt Book Fair 2018


Democracy overruled? – The future of media and justice in Turkey
What remains of a democracy when a country lacks independent courts and an unbiased news media? Judges from Europe and representatives of the book industry discuss. 
Wednesday, 10 October, 5¬–6 pm | Forum Börsenverein, Hall 3.1, H 85

#FreeWordsTurkey: A conversation with journalist and author Deniz Yücel
Freedom of expression in Turkey is under considerable pressure. How is Germany responding to the situation? With Deniz Yücel and Alexander Skipis.
Friday, 12 October, 4–5 pm | Frankfurt Pavilion, Agora

AWARD PRESENTATION | CONTENTshift – Who will be named “Content Startup of the Year”?
Thursday, 11 October, 10:30 am – 12:30 pm | THE ARTS+ RUNWAY, Hall 4.1 M 53

Presse- und Öffentlichkeitsarbeit

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