Reinhard Mohn Becomes New Publishing Boss

Challenges of the post-war period

In 1947, the fifth generation of the family takes over the management of the publishing house in the person of Reinhard Mohn (1921-2009). During the company’s reconstruction, he is supported by trusted employees such as Gerhard Steinsiek (1894-1969) and Fritz Wixforth (1897-1976). In the months preceding the introduction of the new D-Mark in 1948, the demand for books exceeds the supply. In addition, booksellers withhold a large part of their range in hopes of better business after the currency conversion. Their speculation didn’t work out: people demand books other than those kept in stock by the retailers. Besides, customers prefer to spend their scarce money on basic necessities. The result is a veritable crisis in book sales, which also affects Bertelsmann. A business model must be found to make production less dependent on economic fluctuations. This paves the way for the establishment of the Lesering.