Due to the spread of the new coronavirus in Italy, the organizers of the Bologna Children's Book Fair have opted to cancel the fair for this year. In addition, the Bologna Licensing Trade Fair has been canceled as well. The news comes shortly after a number of global publishing companies opted out of attending the fair, which had already been rescheduled to May from March 30-April 2. The next edition of the fair is scheduled for April 12-15, 2021.

The book fair issued a press release announcing the cancellation, began, "It is with great sadness that BolognaFiere announces the decision to cancel the 57th Bologna Children’s Book Fair. As a consequence, Bologna Licensing Trade Fair has been cancelled."

The release continued: "Unfortunately, the spread of the Coronavirus epidemic both in Italy and internationally has dashed every hope of holding the Fair even on the recently announced rescheduled dates of 4-7 May. BolognaFiere has therefore taken the difficult decision to wait no further and act now to enable all the professional community awaited – publishers, authors, illustrators, designers, digital content creators, agents, licensors, licensees – to rethink your plans.

"Bologna will nonetheless be present: the BCBF team is working to recreate online the atmosphere and the business and networking opportunities that make both Bologna Children’s Book Fair and Bologna Licensing Trade Fair a unique event, the most important go-to venue for the children’s publishing world and a cultural hub providing an overview of the new international creative trends."

Antonio Bruzzone, general manager of BolognaFiere, said that the spread of the virus within Italy and around the world was too much for the organizers to overcome. “In these days we are dealing with a genuine emergency, one that involves not only our country but, unfortunately, has an international dimension. The need to contain the spread of the Coronavirus has made it necessary to introduce strict limits on travel between countries, thus having a significant effect on all forms of business. The trade fair system, which is based on face-to-face meetings and networking, has had to deal with an unprecedented situation: the aim, now more than ever, is to support businesses and ensure the best circumstances for the repositioning of individual initiatives in light of this situation," he said in a statement.

Pointing out the 90% of fair exhibitors are from abroad, Bruzzone said, "It would have been unthinkable for us to propose an event at which participants would not be able to take part with the necessary peace of mind and in the atmosphere of friendship and collaboration that characterizes this great international community that each year comes together in Bologna."

Bruzzone added that fair organizers are "already working on a series of new projects and initiatives to unite this great international community, whose faith in us has enabled the Book Fair to become the global reference event for the sector."