Buchmesse Restructuring: Frankfurt Book Fair New York Office Closing

In News by Porter Anderson

After 22 years of operation, the Frankfurt Book Fair New York office is closing this month, its business to be handled from Frankfurt. Publishing Perspectives continues its news service.

Editor Huang Jingcao of Shanghai Juvenile and Children’s Publishing House at the Frankfurt Book Fair New York’s Children’s Books Salon, 2018. Image: John Harris

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

Thomas Minkus: ‘We Very Much Enjoyed the Journey’
Regular readers of Publishing Perspectives will recall that on November 13 we reported that Frankfurter Buchmesse was undertaking a modernization project following the 2020 digital iteration of the trade show, including some restructuring and streamlining.

Today (December 9), Frankfurt Book Fair New York—the United States office of Buchmesse—is notifying some of its closest customers and colleagues that it will be closed at the end of this year.

Having been established in 1998, the office—originally known as the German Book Office New York—has served the international publishing community for 22 years. But, as its managing director, Thomas Minkus, writes, the office’s closure “has become necessary as a result of the pandemic’s impact on business of the Frankfurter Buchmesse this year and is part of the ongoing restructuring process at the Buchmesse.”

Thomas Minkus

Minkus says that the trade show’s work formerly handled by the New York office, “will now be taken over by the experienced team in Frankfurt as of December 15. Our colleagues in Frankfurt will be in touch with customers early next year with the new contact person.”

As many of our readers know, Publishing Perspectives has worked from the New York office for more than a decade.

Publishing Perspectives, is not closing. It will continue its news service as usual, covering the trends, people, and companies of the world industry, and with our current leadership in place: Hannah Johnson as our publisher, and this journalist, Porter Anderson, as editor-in-chief. We look forward to expanding our dialogue with our international readership.

Riky Stock

Riky Stock, whose work at the New York office dates to 2002, will take on a new role starting in January as managing director of NorthSouth Books, the American division of NordSud Verlag.

“I’ve always admired their great list of German, international, and American writers and illustrators,” Stock says to Publishing Perspectives, “and I’m looking forward to this new challenge. This is a big step and I’m going to miss the people I had the pleasure of getting to know over the years and the exciting projects I was involved in at Frankfurt Book Fair New York.”

Juergen Boos: ‘Energy, Creativity, Leadership’

Juergen Boos, president and CEO of Frankfurter Buchmesse, announces that another Frankfurt figure, Holger Volland—known in part for his direction of The Arts+ program, is leaving the company.

Juergen Boos

“Like many other businesses,” Boos says, “Frankfurter Buchmesse has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, we have to restructure our business and are forced to make some painful and far-reaching staff cuts.

“Among those leaving us, Thomas Minkus and Holger Volland have both been instrumental in shaping the direction of Frankfurter Buchmesse in the past 20 and 10 years respectively.

“They have each established valuable international relationships with colleagues around the world and have formed incredible networking groups which have been fundamental in driving the company forward.

“Thomas has led a strong team at the New York office, and he has played a vital role in managing our business in the English-speaking world. As the managing director of IPR License, Thomas has played a pivotal role in growing this business and forming strong and important partnerships in China, USA, and Europe.

Holger Volland

“As vice-president of business development, Holger has opened our business for new customer segments in media, technology, and  the creative industries. With The Arts+ he successfully connected  publishing with film, music, gaming, and arts sectors from all over the world.

“I’d like to thank them both for their relentless energy, creativity, and leadership. I will miss both as valued colleagues and as friends.“

Volland tells Publishing Perspectives that he’s working on his second book on digitization, which is outlooked for publication in March from Goldmann/Random House.

Frankfurter Buchmesse, Minkus says, will continue conducting cultural projects to promote German literature in the United States in cooperation with the Goethe-Institut in New York City.

Thomas Minkus: ‘A Privilege To Work With All of Them’

Minkus, in his messaging to colleagues and customers, says, “I would like to thank the team in New York: Michelle Claussen, Hannah Johnson, Raquel Plitt, and Riky Stock for their achievements and outstanding service and commitment over many years. It was a privilege to work with all of them. I would like to wish them good luck and best wishes for their future endeavors.

“After 16 years, my time with the Frankfurt Book Fair and with IPR License Ltd also ends.

“I will oversee the closing of the New York office and then focus on the next chapter. I can be reached via email or phone until the end of January. After January, you can reach me at thomas.minkus@gmail.com.

“I’d like to thank all our customers, partners, and friends in New York City, the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, China, India, Russia, Brazil, the United Arab Emirates, Germany, and worldwide for working with us and trusting us with their business over the years. We very much enjoyed the journey.”

In the New York Public Library Trustee’s Room, the Frankfurt Book Fair New York’s Seminar on Arabic Literature in Translation, 2018. Image: John Harris

More from Publishing Perspectives on Frankfurter Buchmesse is here, and more from us on the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on international book publishing is here. 

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with CNN.com, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.