Total attendance for the 2013 Frankfurt Book Fair, including the public, came in at 275,342, marking a modest decline of about 2.2% off last year’s figures. But Frankfurt officials said they were pleased with the fair’s energy, and said that new formats and conferences, such as the tech-focused CONTEC, and the mutlitmedia-themed StoryDrive were contributing to a “rapidly changing face of the Book Fair,” which is now attracting new groups of visitors.
Overall, the consensus was that the 2013 Frankfurt Book fair was a busy one. The volume of deals was heavy, and publishers and agents reported full schedules throughout the day’s three professional days. The expanded LitAg center had every table sold. And exhibitor numbers were basically flat over 2012. In addition, more than 9,000 journalists travelled to the Fair, with a 17% increase in the number of international media professionals than last year. “The relevance of the Fair as an international meeting place is growing,” said fair director Juergen Boos.
On the professional side, however, preliminary attendance figures showed another modest decline, with 142,921 professional visitors attending the 2013 fair, down from 148,548 professional visitors in 2012, a dip of about 3.8%. The 2013 figures have yet to be adjusted, however, so the decline will likely shrink when the final numbers come in.
Since 2009, when the effects of the global economic crisis were rippling out and the e-book market really began to boom, fair officials have succeeded in keeping professional attendance remarkably stable. Despite upheaval in both the industry and the global economy, the total number of professional visitors in 2012 was off 2009 levels by just 3,092, a negligible 2.6% decline. The 2009 fair drew 152,530 professional attendees.