[Press release] Book statistics and AI at the core of publishers’ interests during FEP events at the Frankfurt Book Fair

FEP Director Anne Bergman during the FEP Rendez-Vous

During the 75th Frankfurt Book Fair, the Federation of European Publishers organised two public events: the presentation of the results of its annual statistical survey of the European book markets on Wednesday 18 October, and its annual Rendez-Vous on Thursday 19 October. Both events were very successful in terms of audience.

During the presentation of the European Book Markets Statistics, FEP Deputy Director and Economist Enrico Turrin presented the detailed data collected by FEP on the turnover from book sales and on the titles published by European book publishers in 2022, also looking at the evolution of formats and trade channels and outlined how main markets have performed thus far in 2023. The presentation has been recorded and is available on the YouTube channel of the Frankfurt Book Fair. The PDF with the detailed data presented is available on FEP website.

FEP Deputy Director Enrico Turrin during the presentation of the European Book Market Statistics

On 19 October, FEP held its annual Rendez-Vous, a more than 30-year-long tradition which, this year, had as the main topic Artificial Intelligence and its interplays with the publishing industry.

FEP President Ricardo Franco Levi

After the welcoming remarks by FEP President Ricardo Franco Levi and an overview of the cultural policies in Europe by Georg Häusler, Director of the DG for Education and Culture at the European Commission, FEP Legal Advisor, Quentin Deschandelliers, briefly introduced the challenges of Generative AI and presented the EU’s AI Act proposal and the ways it could be helpful for the publishing industry.

Peter Schoppert - National University of Singapore Press

He was followed by Peter Schoppert, Director at the National University of Singapore Press and one of the best experts on AI in the publishing industry. His general presentation about publishing and AI recalled that content coming from newspapers, books, and journals makes up a very high proportion of what Large Language Models have been trained on. He added that users have almost no visibility on what was used to train the models, and showed some examples of AI databases whose content can be navigated. Thomas Heldrup, Head of Content Protection & Enforcement at the Danish Rights Alliance, presented the case of the Books3 database, containing over 191,000 books that were used to train generative AI systems. While stating that this case shows how crucial is transparency to enable rightsholders to enforce illegal use of their work, he also pointed out that AI model creators and providers are willing to use illegal copies of works to train AI. Finally, Arnaud Robert, Head of the Legal Department from the Hachette Livre publishing group, explained how his publishing house is implementing the Text and Data Mining (TDM) Protocol, developed by the European Digital Reading Lab (EDRLab) to allow publishers to opt out of their works from TDM activities (including AI training). The presentations are available upon request.

During the Frankfurt Book Fair, the Federation of European Publishers issued a joint statement with the European and International Booksellers Federation (EIBF) and the European Writers’ Council (EWC) asking more transparency on how Generative AIs are trained.

FEP also signed the Ljubljana Reading Manifesto on the importance of higher-level reading for analytical and critical thinking. The Manifesto was presented at the Pavilion of Slovenia, Guest of Honour during the Fair, and has already hundreds of signatories coming from the entire book value chain and beyond.

FEP is an independent, non-commercial umbrella association of book publishers’ associations in Europe. FEP represents 29 national associations of publishers of books, learned journals and educational materials of the European Union, the European Economic Area, and other European countries. The Ukrainian Publishers and Booksellers Association is a guest member of FEP since 2022. FEP is the voice of the great majority of publishers in Europe.


For more information about the book market statistics:
Enrico Turrin
FEP Deputy Director

For more information about publishing and AI:
Quentin Deschandelliers
FEP Legal Advisor

PDF version