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The book industry at the Frankfurt Book Fair: “Success amid the competitive media landscape – committed to the future of society”.

Upon the official opening of the 2019 Frankfurt Book Fair the German Book market shows growth in sales. Publishers and bookshops are committed to fulfilling their vital socio-political function.
Erstellt am 15.10.2019

Official opening of the 2019 Frankfurt Book Fair / Book market showing growth in sales / Publishers and bookshops committed to fulfilling their vital socio-political function

This year’s Frankfurt Book Fair got underway with the book industry posting positive market figures and expressing its deep commitment to the future of society. "Publishers and bookstores have been able to stand their ground amid growing media competition, and they continue to find successful new ways of bringing books to readers,” noted Heinrich Riethmüller, Chairman of the Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels (German Publishers and Booksellers Association) at today’s press conference marking the opening of the annual book fair. “At the same time, the industry is keenly aware of the important socio-political role it plays in terms of initiating and influencing debates on the urgent issues of our time, including globalisation, digitalisation, climate and environmental protection, migration and the development of our democracies”.

The book industry has had a successful year so far, showing a stable volume of sales and a 2.5 percent increase in revenues up to and including September. “The mood in the industry is good and we are also optimistic for the rest of the year”, noted Riethmüller. “Publishers and bookshops are further increasing their proximity to customers and also developing successful new ways to inspire people to read make books a part of their everyday lives”.

Non-fiction books are enjoying an especially successful year, with sales up by 9.6 percent after three quarters. As Riethmüller explained, "People are looking for orientation and reliable information as a way of better understanding social developments. They are eager to get involved in debates. By providing answers to many of their questions in the form of books, publishers and bookstores play a key role in the opinion-forming process”.

Riethmüller expressed concern at the situation faced by persecuted and imprisoned writers, artists and other creative professionals across the globe: “In many countries, writers, journalists, publishers, booksellers and others live in constant fear of reprisals and imprisonment merely for exercising their right to freedom of expression. We cannot accept this! We will never tire of insisting that the German government show its commitment to defending the freedom of expression and make great effort to have all imprisoned writers and artists released. One prominent example is Gui Minhai, the Chinese-born Swedish publisher, bookseller and Hong Kong author who was abducted exactly four years ago after incurring the wrath of the government in Beijing for his books on Chinese politicians and personalities. To this day nobody knows where he is being detained. For this reason, we will be holding a vigil for Gui Minhai and all other imprisoned writers, artists and cultural professionals this coming Thursday at 1:30 pm at the Agora. We are eager to send out a strong signal in support of the freedom of expression at this year's Frankfurt Book Fair”, said Riethmüller.

Please find attached a PDF copy of the speech Heinrich Riethmüller will give tonight at the official opening of the 2019 Frankfurt Book Fair. We ask that you comply with the press embargo in effect for this speech until 5:30 pm today.

Börsenverein events at the Frankfurt Book Fair 2019

PROTEST VIGIL | Free the Words! Umbrellas for freedom of speech!

Show solidarity and send out a signal in support of freedom of expression by means of an open umbrella, the symbol of the Hong Kong freedom movement. With Lam Wing Kee (Hong Kong bookseller and dissident) and Liao Yiwu (author and recipient of the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade).
Thursday, 17 October, 1:30–2:15 pm | Agora, near the “Lesezelt”

DISCUSSION | Deniz Yücel and others: Freedom of expression and solidarity

With Deniz Yücel, Ine Marie Eriksen Søreide (Foreign Minister, Norway), Jennifer Clement (PEN International), Alexander Skipis (Börsenverein). In cooperation with the Allianz Kulturstiftung and the Kulturforum Türkei Deutschland (German-Turkish Cultural Forum).
Friday, 18 October, 10–11 am, Frankfurt Pavilion

DISCUSSION | Debating in bookstores, how does it work?

With Margit Ketterle (Droemer Knaur), Dieter Dausien (Buchladen am Freiheitsplatz Hanau), Philip Husemann (“Die Offene Gesellschaft“ social initiative).
Friday, 18 October, 1–2 pm, Forum Börsenverein, Hall 3.1, H 85

AWARD CEREMONY | CONTENTshift Accelerator 2019 – Who will be named ‘Content Startup of the Year’?
Thursday, 17 October, 4:15–6 pm | The ARTS+ Stage, Hall 4.1, M 53

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