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.

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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  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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