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.