Job cuts on the way as Frankfurt Book Fair considers future plans

Job cuts on the way as Frankfurt Book Fair considers future plans

The Frankfurt Book Fair has warned job cuts are on the way as director Juergen Boos outlined future “modernising” plans that will see virtual events play a larger part in future fairs.

With coronavirus restrictions hitting international travel, fair organisers had to abandon plans to hold a physical fair this year and went online only, cancelling all face-to-face events. The replacement multimedia programme was used by around 200,000 people and the event went ahead with help from €4m in federal government funding.

Options for a restructuring programme are now being considered following the loss of income caused by the coronavirus, with further announcements expected to be revealed at the end of the year.

The fair said it was already clear that existing structures needed to be streamlined with measures including job cuts and merging departments. Boos informed the fair workforce about the initial plans on 13th November. A fair spokesman said the extent of job reductions required had not yet been decided.

For the 2021 fair, organisers expect to hold a physical edition, with publishers able to book stands. However, plans are already under way for an expanded virtual programme in case the pandemic should once again cause disruption.

Alexander Skipis, general manager of the German Publishers & Booksellers Association, said future fairs would also be “increasingly supplemented” by digital and virtual elements with this year's experience incorporated.

Boos said: "The Frankfurt Book Fair will continue to be a presence fair, as an international meeting place and marketplace for the industry. 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".