Bologna goes digital only

by | Apr 25, 2021 | IBBY NEWS, News

Bologna is to move from a physical fair to a digital-only offering this year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 

This year’s event, which had already been postponed from April to 14th to 17th June, was confirmed to be digital only on 9th April.

The decision comes at a time when many parts of Europe face a third wave of COVID-19.

Gianpiero Calzolari, president of BolognaFiere, said:

“Bologna Children’s Book Fair, BLTF and BBPlus, offer a home-from-home for the international publishing community to meet, do business and launch new projects. As international travel remains so uncertain during the continuing global pandemic, and therefore the presence of international participation, the painful decision to postpone the physical fair to 2022 was taken thus allowing us to concentrate on the extensive digital programme in anticipation of meeting in spring 2022 – in Bologna, in person.

This sacrifice affects not just us, as organisers, but our publishing industry colleagues as we miss, once again, the opportunity to meet and do business. We are certain that the vaccination programmes under way across the globe, combined with necessary lockdowns, will be successful in preventing the spread of the virus once and for all, allowing us to bring back BCBF and its parallel initiatives bigger and better than ever next year.”

The fair had initially been planned as a hybrid-model of online and in-person events and now the programme will be fully digital.

Bologna Children’s Book Fair (BCBF)  director Elena Pasoli said:

“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. 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 programme and look forward to welcoming everyone in person in 2022 for the 59th edition of BCBF with BLTF and the second edition of BBPlus.”

While Jacks Thomas, guest director of BBPlus, added:

“Flexibility is the name of the game in planning any event during these unprecedented times and as the transition to a digital only model has been key in our thinking. We look forward to getting the globe together virtually in June and face to face in spring 2022.”

Fingers crossed this new digital offering will continue to build relationships and foster connections, acting as a compromise while everyone eagerly waits for the (hopefully) in-person events of 2022.