For a second year in a row the Bologna Children’s Book Fair (BCBF) will be an exclusively virtual book fair. Less than a month ago the organizers of BCBF—scheduled for June 14–17—had opened registration for live exhibitors, but stalled vaccination programs and a surge in coronavirus cases in Europe have forced the organizers to cancel the in-person portion of the fair.
"It is with a very heavy heart that we cancel the physical edition of BCBF, and its connected licensing trade show BLTF, for the second year," Elena Pasoli, director of the BCBF, wrote in a press release. "Despite our earlier optimism for an improved global pandemic picture, in order to allow our exhibitors and visitors to plan, we know that the responsible course of action is to share our decision at this point. As last year, we can reassure all our exhibiting partners that where refunds are necessary, they will be made. We are putting all our energies into the digital program and look forward to welcoming everyone in person in 2022."
The fair has already been at work on a digital program and is shifting several live events online, such as the RagazziAward presentations and the fair's new BolognaBookPlus conference program. The Global Rights Exchange platform, a digital rights trading platform which debuted last year, is being enhanced and the fair is launching the new Open Up: BCBF Skill Box, a platform for professional development. The emirate of Sharjah, from the United Arab Emirates, is the guest of honor.