The possibility that BookExpo and BookCon may go ahead as planned at New York City's Javits Convention Center at the end of May were dealt a blow Wednesday when Penguin Random House said it was withdrawing its participation from the events.
In making the announcement, PRH cited New York City and New York State guidance "to substantially limit the size of events and number of participants in public gatherings" in the wake of the continued spread of the new coronavirus outbreak. New York City had more than 1,300 confirmed coronavirus cases as of Wednesday afternoon. PRH said it regretted making the difficult decision to not attend BookExpo and BookCon, and said the company "will be exploring additional ways to connect with booksellers, librarians and readers going forward."
Meanwhile, Politico has reported that New York City Hall has asked New York state for permission to use the Javits as a “potential medical surge facility.” The request reflects fears that exponentially rising coronavirus cases in the city threaten to overwhelm its hospitals.
Representatives from Reed Exhibitions, the organizer of BookExpo and BookCon, were not immediately available for comment on the plans for the shows. BookExpo is set to run May 27–29, and BookCon is planned for May 30–31.