Frankfurter Buchmesse 2022
With its origins dating back almost 500 years, Frankfurter Buchmesse (FBM) or Frankfurt Book Fair needs little to no introduction. Considered the world’s largest book trade fair, this five-day event attracts everyone from publishers, authors and readers to cultural ambassadors and software companies.
This year, as ever, PublishOne was there, represented by Ellen van Beijsterveldt, Mark Hünneman and Wilto Hofman as well as Robert Janoska of SNAP Innovation. In this blog post, we zero in on the zeitgeist at Frankfurter Buchmesse, and find out what’s currently driving publishers in the market for a new editorial platform.
Doing Book Business
For five days between the 18th and 22nd of October, Frankfurt once again became the global hub for the publishing world and its associated creative and technological industries.
For software companies, like PublishOne, the event is always a great opportunity to catch up with existing customers, meet new, prospective clients, and get a sense of the publishing zeitgeist, particularly in terms of technology.
This year was no different, and alongside our competitors, we were able to get a clearer picture of the publishing tech landscape in 2022 and beyond.
Frankfurter Buchmesse 2022 not only gave us a good insight into our competitor’s offerings, we also got a clear understanding of what publishers are looking for in terms of features in their next editorial content management system.
What most surprised us was the number of large publishers looking to replace their existing editorial platform after only 6 or 8 years of service. When you factor in the time it takes to introduce, implement, and embed new software, this feels like a very short product lifespan. We also noticed a common theme: bespoke legacy systems are becoming increasingly expensive to run.
Publishers feel locked into a solution which is both costly and difficult to properly maintain. In some cases, the relevant IT knowledge has become lost when staff members moved on, causing complicated challenges around access and ownership. For many people we spoke to, shopping for new software after less than 10 years of use, seemed counterintuitive and hugely disruptive to their ongoing business operations and customer needs.
There was a clear upturn in interest for cloud-based solutions built around the Software as a Service (SaaS) model. One advantage of SaaS is that it can be continuously updated with improvements and new features. And with the open APIs and guaranteed backwards compatibility offered by PublishOne, choosing SaaS future-proofs publishers and helps them stay ahead of the game. It also enables editors and authors to use their preferred writing tools rather than a clunky proprietary text editor.
Interestingly, some prospective buyers from more technical IT backgrounds were looking to see complex front-end functionality. What they hadn’t considered was that external authors using editorial systems – less than say five times a year – can really benefit from a simpler and more intuitive User Interface (UI). The learning curve is almost flat, and they can be up and running in minutes. With powerful functionality ‘under the hood’, PublishOne offers the cleaner, uncluttered simplicity craved by authors who are typically specialists in their field – but not necessarily experts in IT.
The PublishOne Perspective
For the PublishOne team, this year’s Frankfurter Buchmesse was all about meaningful conversations. The publishers we spoke to were seriously weighing up their options for a new editorial platform which wouldn’t need renewing again for at least 10 years. There was also widespread recognition around the need for change in an industry which is admittedly not always at the forefront when it comes to embracing new technologies.
With our strong client-base and proven legitimacy and credibility in the publishing sector, there was a pervading sense that for many in the industry, PublishOne’s friendly publishing platform might just be the right choice.
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