German Book Office New Delhi closes – ‘will be back’

FBF restructuring takes a toll after a dozen years of hard work

The opening event of the Frankfurt Book Fair Special Edition 2020 Screenshot IPP| German Book Office New Delhi
The opening event of the Frankfurt Book Fair Special Edition 2020 Screenshot IPP

As we wrote in mid-December 2020, the Frankfurt Book Fair’s restructuring process appears to have been sped up in comparison to the months it could have taken. After consultations between the management and the workers’ council, the fair’s corporate structures have been streamlined by discontinuing certain activities and merging departments, leading to ‘unavoidable’ staff reductions by 1 January 2021. FBF’s New York office, for instance, will be closed with immediate effect. Some of its activities are to be taken over by the Goethe Institute.

Now in end-February 2021, the news has arrived in the form of a letter from the organizers to the book industry and community in India, that the German Book Office in New Delhi is also to be closed, at least for now.

The letter from the FBF, signed by Jurgen Boos, Claudia Kaiser, Angela Albert and Surti Bangia says, “We are writing to inform you that the German Book Office, New Delhi will be closing its doors for the time being, after having served the Indian and South Asian publishing community for 12 years. This step has become necessary as a result of the pandemic’s impact on the business of the Frankfurter Buchmesse this year and is part of the ongoing restructuring process at the Buchmesse.

“All book fair related customer service that has been provided by the New Delhi office will now be taken over by the experienced team in Frankfurt as of 1 March 2021. The colleagues in Frankfurt will be in touch with customers soon with the new contact person. Meanwhile, Ms Claudia Kaiser will continue to oversee the business in the South Asian region, and as always, will be reachable at

“Angela Albert and Surti Bangia will be overseeing the closing of the New Delhi office and then focus on their next chapter. We cannot thank them enough for their engaged and hard work in the past years. If there are any pending matters that you would like us to assist you with or if there are any comments or feedback, please feel free to write to us.

“We would like to thank all our customers, partners and friends in India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Germany, Russia, China, New York and worldwide for working with us and trusting us with their business over the years. Together with you, we have created new formats like Jumpstart, GlobaLocal and, of course, lately, the podcasts. We appreciate your support for these endeavors and will incorporate our learnings in our future event formats.

“All of us at German Book Office New Delhi have much enjoyed working with you over the years. Thank you so much for your support, understanding and friendship. We are confident that the team in Frankfurt will look after you very well and ensure a seamless transition for the moment. We of course hope that we will be able to be present again in South Asia soon.”

The next Frankfurt Book Fair is to take place from 20-24 October 2021. Whereas exhibitors will be able to start booking their stands for the 2021 event, the organizers are also working on FBF’s digital approach, to be used either to complement the physical event or to carry the fair again, pending the progress of responses to the pandemic.

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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