The Bologna Children’s Book Fair hosted a virtual edition of the fair this week, from May 4–7, and attracted more than 60,000 online visitors, 75% from outside Italy, organizers reported. In all, the fair counted 400,000 page views across the fair's affiliated sites. In a typical year, 30,000 people attend the fair in person, with half of those coming from outside of Italy.
The online edition included exhibitions, conferences, numerous award ceremonies and even illustrator portfolio reviews, broadcast on various social media channels. Central to this year's fair was the launch of Bologna Children’s Book Fair Global Rights Exchange, powered by PubMatch.com, which allowed rights professionals to exchange information and set up face-to-face meetings directly on the platform, using Zoom or GoToMeeting. Some 500 publishers registered for the platform and uploaded 20,000 titles.
Another important component of the fair are the illustrator portfolio reviews, which this year took place online: starting at 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday, the 24-hour Worldwide Illustrators Survival Portfolio Review saw 24 different illustrators, art directors, and agents taking turns, one each hour, to each review 10 illustration portfolios. In addition, 2,500 illustrators from 80 countries have decorated a virtual Illustrators Wall.
The United Arab Emirate of Sharjah was scheduled to serve as Guest of Honor at this year, but that will now move to 2021. Next year's fair is scheduled for April 12-15, 2021, in Bologna.