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.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital 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.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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– Naresh Khanna

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