BookExpo and BookCon finally cancelled

Better late than never – Reed finally gives into the obvious

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New York city skyline Michael Maser
New York city's skyline. Photo Michael Maser via Unsplash

14 April 20. As expected, Reed Exhibitions announced the cancellation of this year’s BookExpo and BookCon, which had initially been postponed from May to July. In a statement issued by fair director Jennifer Martin the organizers concluded: “As the pandemic has continued to escalate in the United States and we see the challenges it has brought for the book industry, it’s clear that 2020 is no longer a viable option for this community.” On the BookExpo website, she also pointed out that tickets for the two 2020 events will be automatically reimbursed.

Even though BookExpo and BookCon (formerly Book Expo America) were postponed from May to July this year, some of the major participants announced even then, that they would 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. Now it seems that good sense has finally prevailed.

Javit Centre turned into makeshift hospital for Covid-19

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.

Book fairs update of 27 March 2020

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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