Frankfurt Book Fair opens in online edition

By Zuo Wei

FRANKFURT, Oct. 13 (Xinhua) -- The 72nd Frankfurt Book Fair opened on Tuesday evening with live streaming of the opening ceremony taking place in its traditional venue, Frankfurt's Festhalle, attended only by guests invited for the opening, staff and journalists and no on-site audience due to coronavirus concerns.

This year's special edition of the world's largest trade fair of the publishing industry, officially running from Wednesday to Sunday, will be mostly virtual.

About 260 hours of talks, seminars, book readings and other programs will be streamed online across multiple channels, and business activities and professional exchanges will take place via online platforms, the organizer announced.

"While digital venues cannot replace face-to-face meetings, they can enable communication across thousands of kilometers," said Juergen Boos, director of the Frankfurt Book Fair, at the opening press conference earlier Tuesday.

About 4,400 digital exhibitors from more than 100 countries and regions applied to attend this year's book fair, including over 120 exhibitors from China's mainland.

The pandemic has hit hard the global trade fair industry, with many fairs canceled during the early months of the outbreak. The Leipzig Book Fair, the second largest book fair in Germany, was canceled weeks before its scheduled opening in mid-March.

Boos noted that the book and publishing industry has positioned itself more broadly using digital technology, and has become more accessible, which he sees as a strong signal of hope during these challenging times.

According to the Ministry of Culture and Media, the German government has provided 2 million euros (2.35 million U.S. dollars) to support the expansion into digital format at this year's Frankfurt Book Fair, with another 2 million euros intended for a significant reduction in stand fees at the fair next year.

Canada will extend its Guest of Honor presence originally planned for this year's Frankfurt Book Fair into 2021. It also provided virtual programming for this year's book fair.

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