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.

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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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