February 27, 2020

COVID-19 forces Italian book fair to reschedule


The Entrance to The Bologna Children’s Book Fair in 2008 [Anneli Salo, CC BY-SA 3.0]

The COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak in China is currently the top news story around the world as it continues to spread to other countries and the death toll rises. One country that has faced a rapid increase in COVID-19 cases is Italy. What does this have to do with publishing? One of the most well-known book fairs, the Bologna Children’s Book Fair, has been rescheduled due to growing concerns about the rapidly spreading virus. What the publishing world is wondering—will the future of other fairs and book related events have the same fate? 

The Bologna Children’s Book Fair was originally slated for March 30 to April 2 and has now been moved to May 4 to May 7. A shift of dates for the fair is far more complicated behind the scenes—North American agents and publishers are scurrying to reschedule any meetings and appointments they had. And most importantly—attendees and others in the industry are understandably afraid to travel at the height of the outbreak, especially to a country that has one of the highest infection rates. Publishers Weekly interviewed some of those planning to attend, rescheduling, or those who are questioning their attendance altogether. 

While the future of the event and other fairs is a waiting game, we have to hope that the virus stops spreading. The best way to do that is be vigilant about washing your hands whenever you can.



Andréa Córdova is a publicist at Melville House.