A hint of the feared domino effect at this year’s Frankfurt Book Fair (FBF) has begun with Simon & Schuster and Macmillan US following HarperCollins and Pan Macmillan UK in announcing they will not attend this year’s physical fair.  Throughout this year there has been a pattern of first one major pulling out of book fairs, and then others following.  This happened with the London Book Fair and the Bologna Children’s Book Fair, and eventually both were cancelled.

S&S UK CEO Ian Chapman said: “After careful consideration, and with the health and safety of our employees and industry colleagues foremost in mind, Simon & Schuster has decided that it will not attend the Frankfurt Book Fair this year.

“We applaud the FBF’s efforts to develop digital programmes, and while we will not have a physical presence, our publishers, rights and sales groups are very much looking forward to using other means to meet with their contacts in the international publishing community.”

Macmillan US said the publisher would not be sending staff to the fair, while the German trade publication buchreport said that Random House Germany, Macmillan owner Holtzbrinck’s German book subsidiaries and the German publishers owned by Sweden’s Bonnier group, as well as Germany’s biggest independent publisher Bastei Lübbe, would all not be exhibiting at this year’s fair.

Covid-19 infection rates may be falling in many countries, but a great deal of worry and uncertainty still exists in the industry – hence the decision by these publishers to pull out of Frankfurt.