The Frankfurt Book Fair has started a process of modernising its concept. The aim is to ensure the continued existence of the Fair at the Frankfurt/M. location in the long term.
"The Frankfurt Book Fair will continue to be a presence fair, as an international meeting place and marketplace for the industry", Book Fair Director Juergen Boos emphasized today in Frankfurt. "At the same time, we must open ourselves up to alternative marketing and dialogue formats in order to meet the changing needs of all market participants".
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Frankfurt Book Fair had to do without stand presentations in the Frankfurt exhibition halls this year. All face-to-face events on the exhibition grounds were cancelled. Instead, the Fair organized an alternative multimedia programme, which was used by around 200,000 people at www.buchmesse.de alone.
"In future, the Book Fair's range of products and events will be increasingly supplemented by digital and virtual formats," added Alexander Skipis, General Manager of the German Publishers & Booksellers Association. "The valuable experience gained this year will be incorporated into the future concept of the Frankfurt Book Fair".
The Frankfurt Book Fair's deliberations in this respect go far beyond the plans for the Fair in the coming year. For 2021, the Book Fair continues to expect a presence in the halls; publishers will soon be able to book their stands. At the same time, however, plans are already underway for an expanded virtual programme in case the COVID-19 pandemic should once again prevent a presence at the fair.
"In its more than 70-year history, the Frankfurt Book Fair has always opened itself up to new developments at an early stage and continuously modernised its concept," emphasised Karin Schmidt-Friderichs, Chairwoman of the German Publishers & Booksellers Association. "However, it has always remained true to its brand essence as the leading international marketplace for narrated stories and ideas. This will remain so in the future".
Parallel to the modernisation of its concept, the Book Fair has begun to develop a restructuring programme for its operating company. As a result of the COVID-19-related loss of income this year and the uncertain planning perspective, the available restructuring options are currently being examined. The programme should be available by the end of the year at the latest. It is already clear that the existing structures are to be streamlined, for example by merging departments. This will also involve job cuts. This morning, Managing Director Juergen Boos informed the workforce and works council about the current status and the next steps planned. Boos will shortly start negotiations with the works council.
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