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Major publishers to skip Frankfurt’s physical event

HarperCollins, Bonnier Books UK and Pan Macmillan UK won’t attend Frankfurt Book Fair’s physical event, while other UK publishers and agents are uncertain about attending, reports the Bookseller.

As previously reported by Books+Publishing, organisers announced last week that the fair will go ahead as scheduled from 14–18 October, and as a virtual event, with Australian publishers waiting to see if Australia’s overseas travel restrictions are lifted in time for the event.

Pan Macmillan managing director Anthony Forbes Watson told the Bookseller the publisher would not take part in the physical book fair ‘after careful consideration and with the health and wellbeing of our colleagues top of mind’.

A HarperCollins spokesperson said: ‘HarperCollins will not be taking a stand or sending representatives to the Frankfurt Book Fair this year as we are limiting business travel for the safety of our staff.’

Fair director Juergen Boos told an online press conference on 28 May that while the number of bookings was the same as to this point last year, he expected there would be cancellations—and admitted the fair could be cancelled. Boos also said German firms including Random House, Holzbrinck and the country’s arm of Bonnier will not have stands but would ‘still have a presence’.

‘After the situation we had in the past few months and we are seeing a lot of publishers and booksellers in crisis, and especially after Bologna and London didn’t take place and many other book fairs, there’s an urgent need actually to do business again, to talk to each other, to build up some creative attitude as well,’ said Boos. ‘I think we also need Frankfurt to interest the general audience in books again and this means worldwide.’

Thomas Minkus, the fair’s vice-president for emerging media and English language markets, said: ‘We will see over the next few weeks how our customers will react to this announcement.’

‘It’s a dynamic, evolving situation and that’s why we have to keep you informed as time goes on,’ said Minkus. ‘But I think it’s a good start and many in the industry are looking forward to Frankfurt as sort of a milestone of the publishing year, and it will be possible to attend either virtually if you can’t travel or don’t want to travel.’


Category: International news