Publishing rights in the Coronavirus turmoil

LBF and Brussels still on so far, other book fairs postponed or skipped

Leipzig Book Fair canceled
Image of Leipzig Book Fair's cancellation announcement on their website

Of the international book fairs taking place in the first quarter of the 2020 year, Paris and Leipzig are canceled as part of government measures against the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus. The London Book Fair is likely to be canceled at the last minute, as its organizers Reed Exhibitions appear to await a UK government decision so they can claim losses as force majeure from their insurance company. 

Major publishing houses have already pulled out of the LBF event, including Penguin Random House, Hachette, Pan Macmillan, Simon & Schuster, Ingram, and Amazon. Other publishing houses appealed to the LBF organizers to shut down this year’s edition for safety reasons. The Bologna Children’s Book Fair and the Taipei International Book Exhibition, both postponed, are still on the agenda for May.

The Brussels Book Fair, with international exhibition staff limited to French, Dutch, and a handful of African, Moroccan, and Swiss participants, will go ahead this week with a drastically adjusted program. Chilean author Luis Sepulveda, who planned to attend the Brussels fair, contracted the Covid-19 coronavirus just a week before he could make it. He and his wife were infected while attending the Correntes d’Escritas literary festival near Porto, Portugal, and are in quarantine at a hospital near their home in the North of Spain.

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. We have just received at 1526 hours Delhi time, a statement from Reed Exhibitions, the organizers of the London Book Fair.
    “Reed Exhibitions has today announced that The London Book Fair 2020, scheduled to take place at Olympia, London, from 10 to 12 March will be cancelled following the escalation of COVID-19 Coronavirus in Europe.

    “The effects, actual and projected, of Coronavirus are becoming evident across all aspects of our lives here in the UK and across the world, with many of our participants facing travel restrictions. We have been following UK government guidelines and working with the rolling advice from the public health authorities and other organisations, and so it is with reluctance that we have taken the decision not to go ahead with this year’s event.

    “We recognise that business has to continue. With this in mind, we will of course support and collaborate with exhibitors and visitors to keep our world moving during this difficult period. We thank all those from the UK and a multitude of other countries who have prepared over the last year to deliver what promised to be a wonderful book fair showcasing, as ever, the exciting best of the global book industry. The London Book Fair will return, better than ever, in 2021.”


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