The Frankfurt Book Fair also suffered greatly from the Corona pandemic. But even before this global crisis, it was clear that the Fair would have to realign itself in the future - also in order to ensure the long-term survival of the Fair at its Frankfurt/M. location. "The Frankfurt Book Fair will continue to be a presence Fair, as an international meeting place and marketplace for the industry", Book Fair managing director Juergen Boos emphasised in Frankfurt. "At the same time, we must open up to alternative marketing and dialogue formats in order to meet the changing needs and habits of all market participants*."
The Frankfurt Book Fair had to do without stand presentations in the Frankfurt exhibition halls altogether this year as a result of the Corona pandemic. All presence events on the fairgrounds were cancelled. Instead, the Fair organised an alternative multimedia programme, which was used by around 200,000 people on www.buchmesse.de alone. A respectable success, which of course could not compensate for the cancellation of the presence fair. But this digital alternative at least showed some possibilities that will be used in the future.
"The range of products and events at the Book Fair will increasingly be supplemented by digital and virtual formats in the future," says Alexander Skipis, Chief Executive of the Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels. "The valuable experience gained this year will be incorporated into the future concept of the Frankfurt Book Fair."
The Frankfurt Book Fair's considerations here go far beyond the plans for next year's Fair. For 2021, the Book Fair continues to assume that it will have a presence in the exhibition halls; publishers will soon be able to book their stands. At the same time, however, planning is already underway for an expanded virtual programme, in case the Corona pandemic once again makes a presence fair impossible.
"In its 70-year history, the Frankfurt Book Fair has always opened itself up to new developments at an early stage and has continually modernised its concept," stressed Karin Schmidt-Friderichs, president of the Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels. "However, it has always remained true to its brand essence as the leading international marketplace for told stories and ideas. This will continue to be the case in the future."
Parallel to modernizing its concept, the Book Fair has begun developing a restructuring program for its operating company. As a result of the Corona-related revenue shortfall this year and the uncertain planning outlook, the available restructuring paths 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. Managing Director Juergen Boos has already informed the staff and the works council this morning about the state of affairs and the planned next steps. Boos will soon start corresponding negotiations with the works council.
More info also at: www.buchmesse.de