Last month, the Beijing International Book Fair was called off at the last minute. The event was scheduled to run from August 25-29, but an outbreak of coronavirus forced the fair to postpone. Now the fair has announced a new program, starting with the the International Publishing Forum on September 12, which will focus on scientific, technical, medical, and educational publishing. The main fair will then be held September 14-18. Attendees are primarily limited to locals and publishers with representation in China.

“We are delighted to welcome Chinese and locally based international publishers back to BIBF," said fair director Liying Lin. Citing the popularity of foreign titles in China, such as Neil Gaiman's novel Smoke and Mirrors, and Scottish historian Norman Stone’s A Short History of WWI and WWII, she added: "As you can see from the phenomenal success of international titles in the Chinese book market in the last six months, there are so many opportunities for international publishers in China. We hope as many international publishers use our SMART! BIBF services to engage with the publishing community and really find out what is going on in the market over the last year. We cannot wait to open this vibrant book industry event and we are delighted to be able to host events around Beijing for book lovers as part of BIBF’s Global Reading Festival."

In the first half of 2021, the retail book market market sold 36.14 billion yuan ($5.5 billion) worth of books, a year-on-year growth rate of 11.45%, according to the Open Book Report. Some of this growth was powered by the sales of children's books via live-streaming promotional videos on online e-commerce sites, which have come to dominate book sales.