Covid 19 – Bologna Children’s Book Fair postponed to May 2020

International trade fairs taking measures against coronavirus contamination

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Covid-19 Bologna Children's Book Fair postponed
Bologna Children's Book Fair Photo: Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators

Due to the Covid 19 emergency in Northern Italy, the organizers of the Bologna Children’s Book Fair have postponed the event from March to May. For the time being, the fair has been rescheduled for 4-7 May 2020.

For Fespa, to be held 24-27 March in Madrid alongside European Sign Expo and Sportswear Pro, trade fair organizers have started to announce drastic measures against the risks of Covid 19 virus contamination.

Fespa organizers have contacted all exhibiting companies from China, requiring that they provide documented evidence that all representatives of their company attending the exhibitions, including sub-contractors, have not resided in or visited China at any time after March 5th. This represents a two-week period preceding the beginning of the build-up of the exhibitions.

Exhibiting companies from China not fulfilling this requirement will not be able to participate, and their options are being communicated to them in writing by Fespa’s representatives in China.

Fespa believes that this proactive policy is in the best interests of the health and well-being of exhibitors, attendees, partners and staff, as well as the general public in Madrid.

The fair’s organizers are also in contact with the other exhibitors and pre-registered visitors to advise them and to request that they should not attend if they have visited China after March 5th. This information has also been published on the event websites and communicated via the Fespa National Associations.

Similar measures are to be expected at the other upcoming trade fairs.

50 Chinese exhibitors pull out of ISE, attendance fell 38%

At Europe’s most important systems integration trade fair, ISE, held 11-14 February in Amsterdam, all 50 Chinese exhibitors and a twenty+ other companies including LG withdrew out of fear for the spread of the virus, and visitor attendance fell by 38%.

Recently most alarming, however, is the rapid spread of the virus in Korea and Italy, two of the main bases for machine manufacturers exhibiting at the upcoming Interpack and drupa events.

In Northern Italy, the Lombardy region around Milan has been affected, which is the hotspot of Italian packaging and printing machinery manufacturers, including Bobst and Omet. Within days, Covid 19 contamination hit more than 200 people in this region, and the authorities haven’t been able to identify the source of the contamination as yet. So far, there seems to be no connection with people who would have traveled from China. Most of Lombardy and surrounding areas have been locked down, schools and enterprises have been closed, and it looks like the postponement of BCBF is only the beginning. As to Interpack and drupa, crucial for the Italian manufacturers, consequences will be as drastic as for the participants from China, Korea and who knows where still.

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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