The Frankfurt Book Fair “will be increasingly supplemented by digital and virtual formats.”

From The New Publishing Standard:

The Buchmesse largely paid lip-service to the digital alternative while holding out hope the in-person event would go ahead. The ugly sister was to get a cheap make-over, but not plastic surgery.

Dressed up as “streamlining and restructuring”, the world’s largest trade publishing fair is finally catching up with the 21st century this year, embracing the digital advantage and opening up the fair to the world.

Of course the Buchmesse has long been a leader in pushing the global element of the publishing industry, but its approach was always, right up until 2020, via the analogue 20th century model that involved hauling people and companies halfway around the world to be paraded before an audience that likewise had to be able to travel half way around the world to engage.

By definition that closed off huge audience reach globally and denied publishing stakeholders in much of the world a realistic opportunity to engage. If a would-be participant or observer could not afford to be there or was not lucky enough to be on the much-valued subsidised invite list then the Buchmesse was just something we got to read about in the trade journals, and then of course only snippets from what the trade journalists had cobbled together. Because with the best will in the world the reporters who were able to be there could only be in one place and monitor one event at a time.

. . . .

Why was it that even as the pandemic took off in the spring of 2020 the Buchmesse, along with almost every other trade event (DBW the notable exception – all credit to Bradley Metrock), was stubbornly insisting the show would go on as it had always gone on?

. . . .

Reporting for the Buchmesse journal Publishing Perspectives, Porter Anderson said this past week that, having pulled in 200,000 digital participants in October, the Frankfurt Book was,

“modernising its concept” and restructuring some of its staffing (to) “ensure the continued existence of the fair” long-term.

Buchmesse CEO Juergen Boos, assuring us the traditional fair would resume in 2021 assuming Covid-19 conditions allowed, said in a press release,

At the same time, we must open ourselves up to alternative marketing and dialogue formats in order to meet the changing needs of all market participants.

Link to the rest at The New Publishing Standard

PG has read several articles lately written by people whose opinions he takes seriously to the effect that there are going to be some permanent changes, at least in the United States, resulting from not so much the Covid pandemic, but by the adaptations many have made during the pandemic.

Working from home instead of commuting to an office is one of the more prominent examples.

The Wall Street Journal published an article a couple of days ago that reported a significant number of San Francisco and Silicon Valley tech workers who have been working from home have discovered they they are more productive and enjoy their lives more when work doesn’t include a 1-2 hour commute to and from their home each day.

Some are even moving to Nevada, Utah or Idaho to take advantage of lower prices, lower taxes and an improved lifestyle while working for companies headquartered in the San Francisco area. Some parts of these states are also receiving transplanted companies from those Northern California locales.

For those outside of the United States, the cost of living in the San Francisco area, including Silicon Valley, a series of suburbs extending south of San Francisco for many miles, has become extraordinarily high. PG is informed that some lower-paid workers are living in their cars or vans, taking advantage of tech company exercise facilities or health clubs for showering, etc.

According to Zillow, the average cost of a middle-tier home in Palo Alto, California, in the heart of Silicon Valley is over $3 million, up 10% from last year’s average and forecast to increase another 10% next year. Traveling east from San Francisco a little over 200 miles just over the border to Carson City, Nevada, a prospective home purchaser would pay about 10% of the Palo Alto price for a middle-tier home.

On top of the savings from lower housing costs, a typical Silicon Valley tech worker will pay a California state income tax of about 10%. Nevada has no state income tax.

With his forecasting hat on, PG (along with people far more knowledgeable than he is) predicts that more and more employers will be willing to hire knowledge workers who want to work remotely now that Covid has demonstrated that it’s a viable business model.

5 thoughts on “The Frankfurt Book Fair “will be increasingly supplemented by digital and virtual formats.””

  1. PG, as a foreigner who only ever visits the USA, I hesitate to comment on your tax rules.

    However, it appears to me that living in a different state from that where you work does not prevent the state where you work taxing you on your income. It may be the case that a telecommuting Silicon valley worker may escape Californian tax but I think that this is not the case for a New York City publisher’s worker currently working from home in another state. NY will still want its tax and the state of residence may also want this so that the income is double taxed.

    Throw in the fact that letting someone work from home may create a tax nexus in that state for the employer and the whole working from home thing can be a complete mess. I suspect that there are going to be a lot of federal court cases ending up with petitions to SCOTUS (for example the pending New Hampshire v. Massachusetts petition).

    • That be true.
      There are several states and cities that view their residents and transients as serfs.
      New York most notably.
      The question of double taxation on online work will no doubt end up before SCOTUS soon enough.

      In the meantime, most rational states have reciprocity rules that allow taxes paid for out of state earnings to be deducted from state and local income tax. But usually it is contiguous states so the matter of distant states is unsettled.

    • I’m no tax attorney, Mike, but if I were living in Nevada as an employee of a California corporation, I might think about opening a branch office of my employer in my garage.

      Lake Tahoe is a beautiful area divided by the boundary between California and Nevada. A lot of wealthy people live on its shores or nearby.

      I would be surprised if there wasn’t more than one Nevada attorney or CPA who could provide some useful tax minimization assistance to a Nevada resident working for a company headquartered in California.

    • Not sure of collapse but there are already massive changes; the more expensive cities (LA, SF) are seeing big drops (~10%) among the affluent who can afford to move to cheaper locations are leaving because their jobs (mostly tech) allow them to work remotely and pocket the differential.
      The effect is that cheaper locations are getting more expensive as the refugees drive prices up.
      There are simikar effects in NYC, with Connecticutt and Jersey getting most of the refugees. Also Westchester and tbe Hamptoms but those are hardly cheap. Just safer.

      Forbes did a piece on this in August.

      https://www.forbes.com/sites/brendarichardson/2020/08/04/covid-effect-on-rental-markets-pricey-cities-become-cheaper-cheaper-cities-become-costly/?sh=37d3cf186314

      San Francisco Activists who have been complaining about techies from SiliValley driving up rents can now see how the local economy fares without their spending.

      It is becoming increasingly clear that the pandemic is not only accelerating ongoing changes but becoming a generation-molding event, much like the Great Depression of the 20th.

      Expect *everything* to be changed.
      Just yesterday WarnerBros announced they were tired of delaying their blockbuster WONDER WOMAN ’84 and would be releasing it to HBOMAX day and date with its theatrical release.
      At no extra cost.

      Theaters that were already in dire straits will have to start triaging locations.
      Malls alone aren’t facing an apocalypse.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.