Book Expo sites becomes temporary Coronavirus medical centers

Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York holding a press conference on the Coronavirus situation on 28 March 2020 at the Javits Center
Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York holding a press conference on the Coronavirus situation on 28 March 2020 at the Javits Center on the West Side of Manhattan

Book fairs update of 27 March 2020

According to the New York Times, the venue that was scheduled for both Book Expo and BookCon events, New York’s Javits Center, has already been requisitioned by the US-Army in order to turn it into a 1,000-bed makeshift hospital for Covid-19 cases. Governor Cuomo of New York state gives daily detailed press conferences with facts, science and numbers. One of these press conferences was held at Javits Centre on the West side of Manhattan in New York city over the week-end. On the other side of the ocean, London’s Excel exhibition center is also being turned into a medical center holding 4,000 beds for Covid-19 patients.

Even though BookExpo and BookCon (formerly Book Expo America) have been postponed from May to July this year, some of the major participants announced that they will not follow the book fair organizers, Reed Exhibitions, in the postponement. After Penguin Random House, three of the other Big Five in publishing, i.e., Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins and Hachette, pulled out and appealed to the organizers to cancel this year’s events altogether.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital 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.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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– Naresh Khanna

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  1. Actually exhibition halls around the world are ideal for turning into emergency health treatment centers. We should do this with the BEC in Mumbai and with Pragati Maidan in Delhi. The Expo Centre in Greater Noida is also an excellent place for this much-needed preparation in case the Coronavirus gets out of hand in India also. There are similar sites in Hyderabad, Bengaluru, and Chennai too that I am aware of.

    Coronavirus Covid-19 update for India on the morning of 30 March 2010
    It is currently the 9th day the country-wide lockdown and we have reached a total of 1024 cases in India with 17 deaths. There were three deaths in the past 24 hours compared to eight in the previous day. These numbers are still very low but we are all keeping our fingers crossed and hoping that we can keep them that way.


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