Hachette Book Group is the third Big Five U.S. publisher to pull out of the rescheduled Bologna Children's Book Fair, following Simon & Schuster and Penguin Random House, both of which pulled out in the past few days.
Hachette said in a statement: “In light of the unprecedented action the Italian government is taking to contain the spread of the coronavirus and our ongoing concern for the safety of our colleagues, authors and partners, Hachette U.K., Hachette Livre, and Hachette Book Group have decided to withdraw from the Bologna Book Fair.”
In addition to Hachette, Bonnier U.K. today announced it too has decided not to attend the fair, also citing the need to safeguard its staff.
Italy, which has more than 10,000 cases of infection and has seen more than 600 deaths, is currently on lockdown until April 3. The Bologna Children's Book Fair is currently scheduled to run from May 4-7.
Publishers are trying to get ahead of possible cancellations in order to make contingency plans, as the coronavirus continues to shut down events all over Europe. Yesterday, Lit. Cologne, a literary festival in Germany that usually attracts in excess of 100,000 people, was cancelled the same day it was scheduled to open.