The Bologna International Children's Book Fair has been rescheduled to May due to the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. It had originally planned to run from March 30 to April 2 and will now be held from May 4 to May 7. Bologna typically hosts 1,400 exhibitors and around 30,000 professional visitors.
"Given the situation, we felt we had to make this decision," Elena Pasoli, exhibition manager of the BICBF, told PW this morning. "It was not easy, but it was necessary out of respect for our visitors and exhibitors. We are well aware of all the problems this will bring, but are all the more committed to work harder and harder to make a great fair and fulfill all expectations."
Italy is currently suffering Europe's worst outbreak of the virus and several cities are imposing restrictions on movement. More than 200 people in the country have confirmed cases of the virus and five have died. The outbreak is concentrated in Lombardy in the north of the country. Milan, the capital of Lombardy, is an hour by train from Bologna. Giunti, Italy's largest bookseller and one of the country's largest publishers, has closed its Milan offices this week and employees are working from home.
The London Book Fair, which begins in two weeks, has announced no changes, though several events featuring Chinese exhibitors and guests have been canceled. Earlier this month, the Taipei International Book Exhibition was postponed to May.
This is a developing story and the fair promises updates shortly.