The history of the Frankfurt Book Fair spans more than half a century. Local booksellers held the first book fair soon after Johannes Gutenberg presented his printing press in Mainz near Frankfurt am Main. The Frankfurt Book Fair in its modern form was launched in 1949 after it had been suspended during World War II. Today, it’s one of the world’s largest and most prestigious book fairs.
The Frankfurt Book Fair attracts exhibitors and special guests from more than 100 countries. They include publishers, booksellers, agents, librarians, authors, illustrators, academics, translators, printers, film producers, artists, software and multimedia suppliers, and other professionals. Here they can showcase their national literature, exchange experience, discuss the latest literary trends and developments, launch new books, negotiate the international sale of rights and licenses, etc.
The first three days of the Frankfurt Book Fair are usually restricted exclusively to industry representatives, they focus on networking events. The general public can attend the event on the last two days which feature meetings with authors, book presentations and other activities for avid readers.
Since 1976, the organizers name the guest of honor, or the focus of interest. In other words, each fair is dedicated to a certain country or region. A special program is organized for the occasion, featuring readings, panels, theater productions, arts exhibitions and other events that introduce visitors to the literature of the guest country.
At the fair, the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade (Friedenspreis des Deutschen Buchhandels) is awarded. The award was founded in 1950 by the German Publishers and Booksellers Association. The prize is awarded to individuals who have contributed to the promotion of peace, humanity and understanding among all peoples and nations.