Frankfurt Book Fair, Despite Slight Drop in Attendance, Still The Global Favourite

by Tanya Thomas on Oct 21 2009 8:36 AM

An official at the Frankfurt Book Fair said on Monday that the numbers this year suffered a "slight drop". But the festival, at which China was guest of honour, is still by far the world's leading trade show for publishers, agents and authors.

A total of 290,469 visitors attended the five-day event that ended Sunday, a decline of 2.9 percent from record attendance in 2008 when the fair celebrated its 60th edition, said Peter Ripken, project manager for the fair's international centre.

It was nonetheless the second highest number of visitors ever, he added.

Ripken said "there must be 999 reasons," for the small decline, including the fact that the 2008 guest Turkey drew crowds from Germany's local Turkish population, and that this year's edition had suffered from the global economic crisis.

The number of professional visitors edged 2.7 percent lower to 180,155, Ripken said, while noting that was much less than declines of up to 20 percent seen at similar events like the Book Expo America or London Book Fair.

"The Frankfurt Book Fair has reasserted its role as the world's leader," Ripken said.

Argentina is scheduled to be next year's guest of honour at the fair, which is to run from October 6-10.