Popular events go way beyond things like music gigs, theatre tours and corporate exhibitions. Over the years, international book fairs have put down their own roots in the wide world of event transport. To help you keep track, we’ve put together a list of Europe’s top international book fairs and literary festivals!
1. Frankfurt Book Fair
Every October (16th–20th October 2019)
The Frankfurter Buchmesse launched in 1949, and is the world’s most important market for printed and digital content. Today’s attendees use it as a vital trading venue for everything from children’s books to scientific databases. Visitors to the fair can rub elbows with writers, publishing experts, creative industry representatives and culture lovers from several countries.
However, the fair isn’t all about business; it’s also become an important social and cultural event in its own right. The most recent fair saw more than 285,000 book fans, as well as 10,000 bloggers and journalists. Moreover, the fair offered 4,000 events, and attracted approximately 7,500 exhibitors from more than 100 countries.
2. LIBER International Bookfair Madrid
Every October (9–11th October 2019)
Now celebrating its 37th year, the LIBER International Bookfair focuses on Spanish-language books. The commercial organisation IFEMA organises the event, while the Spanish Association of Publisher’s Guilds promotes it. This year’s event promises to be the largest one of its kind.
The book fair is open to all book sectors, though its specialities are digital content, new publishers, desktop publishing and intellectual property. 2018’s event saw almost 11,000 attendees, confirming the fair’s importance to the Spanish publishing sector.
More than 450 companies from 11 countries—including France, Mexico, the US and China—will attend this year. The fair will also feature more than 150 presentations and round tables from 300 speakers. If you decide to attend, you’ll be in good company; the fair anticipates more than 11,000 professional visitors and 180 journalists.
3. London Book Fair
Every March (10th–12th March 2020)
As you might expect, books are at the heart of the London Book Fair. However, over the years it has evolved into something much broader—a global marketplace for rights negotiation, and the sale of content across both print and digital channels. Exhibitors at the London Book Fair can directly engage with customers and businesspeople, demonstrate products, build brand awareness and make sales.
Exhibitors from more than 60 countries come to the fair at Olympia London each year, along with visitors from over 135 countries. Approximately 25,000 publishing professionals—whether they’re authors, editors, designers or talent scouts—walk through the fair’s doors, to speak with more than 1,000 separate companies. These companies cover many different areas, from blockbuster novels and children’s books to graphic novels and gaming startups.
If you’re active on social media, you can follow the latest news via the #LBF20 hashtag. You can also see what happened this year with the #LBF19 hashtag.
4. Helsinki Book Fair
Every October (24th-27th October 2019)
The Helsinki Book Fair is a key event for literature fans and industry professionals in Finland. It takes place at the Messukeskus Helsinki convention centre, and is organised by the Finnish Book Publishers Association and the Booksellers’ Association of Finland.
Bringing together established authors and new talent, this year’s fair promotes key themes like freedom of speech and American culture.
The fair features a programme of over 800 debates and interviews across 15 programme venues. 1,000 performers will be speaking, including authors, artists, journalists, politicians and 40 international guests. There will also be more than 300 publishers and booksellers taking part. More than 84,000 literature fans visited last year’s fair; we expect a similar level of success this year as well!
5. Buch Wien (Vienna International Book Festival)
Every November (6-10th November 2019)
The Buch Wien is an Austrian event, and a relatively new addition to the world of international book fairs. It first launched in 2008, aiming to boost the (much older) Viennese Book Week and improve publisher-reader relations.
Rather than taking place in a single venue, the festival takes place in 30 events across the city. There are also 450 exhibitors attending the festival this year. Last year’s festival attracted exhibitor attendees from 20 countries; 51,000 visitors attended, and 100,000 books were represented as well.
6. Malta Book Festival
Every November (6-10th November 2019)
The Malta Book Festival is a literary conference focussing on sci-fi and fantasy. It first opened in 1979; each festival attracts about 40,000 visitors, more than 40 exhibitors, and offers networking opportunities for professionals in the industry.
Visitors to the festival (in Valletta’s Mediterranean Conference Centre) can enjoy book launches, presentations and poetry readings, as well as meetings with authors, conferences and seminars. A number of guest authors will also be taking part in the festival including Loranne Vella, Jona Courtenay Grimwood, Kali Wallace and Dave Rudden.
7. Moscow International Book Fair
Every December (5th-9th December 2019)
The Moscow International Book Fair in the VDNH Exhibition Complex focuses on non-fiction books, including scholarly and popular science books. However, it also makes space for literary fiction amongst its factual works.
20 countries will be taking part in the next fair, including the UK, Canada, Germany, Ukraine, the Czech Republic and Estonia. More than 300 publishers and booksellers will be be attending, as well as 30,000 publishing professionals, literary critics and book fans.
The fair offers an international forum for signing contracts, and meeting authors, publishers, agents and translators. Visitors also have the chance to attend various seminars and round-table discussions, meet famous authors, and see the latest books and unique editions. If your tastes are a little more musical, this year’s fair also offers a Vinyl Club dedicated to this beloved medium.
8. Strokestown International Poetry Festival
Every May (30th April–4th May 2020)
This festival first launched in 1999, and takes place each May in County Roscommon, Ireland. It acts as a showcase for contemporary poetry—whether it’s local, national or international—while also helping newer writers to develop their skills. It also works to embed poetry in its local cultural life, and bring it to as wide an audience as it can.
The festival is famous for attracting large audiences to its poetry readings, as well as its friendly atmosphere and beautiful scenery. Visitors will be able to enjoy 70 readings over the weekend from a mix of Irish and international poets. Aspiring poets can also enter numerous competitions from September, including the Strokestown International Prize, the Duais de Hide and the Percy French Prize for Witty Verse.
9. International Belgrade Book Fair
Every October (20th-27th October 2019)
This book fair is informally known as the Book Fest, and it has been a fixture of southeast Europe’s cultural calendar for several decades. It’s the largest event of its kind in the region, and a popular meeting point for publishers from Europe, Asia, America and Africa. Only the Frankfurt Book Fair can boast more publishers. The Book Fest also brings together major authors from Serbia and promotes literary creation and education, as well as cultural exchange with foreign countries. This is very much an event where Eastern and Western cultures meet!
Each year, the Belgrade Book Fair hosts both national and international writers and publishers. Another major component is the fair’s numerous lectures, roundtables and public discussions. Participants make presentations to both professional and general audiences, covering topics around literature, publishing and culture.
The most recent fair boasted over 195,000 visitors and 980 exhibitors. A total of 18 countries made an appearance.
10. Göteborg Book Fair
Every September (26th – 29th September 2019)
The Göteborg Book Fair launched in 1985 as a conference for librarians. Today, it is a vital event for people in Scandinavia’s book business. Running over four days, it bills itself as a tribute to freedom of expression; readers, teachers and librarians come together to celebrate the power of stories. On average, the book fair attracts 90,000 visitors each year.
In addition to book-lovers the fair attracts more than 800 exhibitors, as well as publishing companies, agents and authors from across the Nordic region. There are also more than 3,000 events to enjoy; 2019’s seminar program will focus on South Korea, gender equality and media and information literacy.
The Next Chapter
Europe’s international book fairs offer plenty of opportunities for both literature fans and professionals. Whether your interests run broad or niche, the selection on offer means you will truly be spoilt for choice.
Thinking of running a similar exhibition? We at Stagefreight are proud to help exhibitors and sponsors across the UK and Europe with their event transport needs. We’re also happy to help literary agencies and publication houses with events throughout the year.
You can see the full range of our transport services on our Services page. Whatever job we take on, we’ve established a reputation for speed, scheduling and reliability. We can plan routes that minimise travel time and maximise fuel efficiency, without risk of damage to the load of our trucks. Our drivers can also do much more than driving; each one is trained in trailer unloading and fast loading, and will assist with construction and set-up tasks too.
Worried about piles of paperwork when travelling abroad? Our staff can take care of it all before you travel. Want to get the word out for future events? Our branding options for our trailers let everyone know what you’re planning. Working with Stagefreight means you’re in safe hands, regardless of what you want to do.
Got an event you think we’d be perfect for? You can give us a call today on 0113 238 0805.