Bologna Book Fair foreign attendees up 15%

Bologna Book Fair foreign attendees up 15%

Foreign professionals flocked to Bologna Children’s Book Fair this week, official attendance figures have revealed, with overseas visitor numbers growing by 15%.

The show’s coordinator BolognaFiere has revealed official attendance figures from the Italian children’s copyright trade fair, with overall attendees up 2% to 26,743 year-on-year, and foreign visitors up 15% within that, to 11, 752, representing 44% of the total numbers.

The news follows the announcement that BolognaFiera plans to launch another rights and licence fair in New York City in the US in spring 2018.

The company is bidding to attract US publishers and agents across children’s and adult markets and their global business partners, as well as booksellers and librarians, to the event. The inaugural show will take place across 30th May-1st June 2018 in a “midtown Manhattan” location yet to be announced.

The show will be open only to trade exhibitors, and could mean it clashes with BookExpo America, which is usually also held in New York at the end of May.

Publishers reported Bologna Children’s Book Fair was positive and vibrant this year.

DK’s c.e.o. Ian Hudson said earlier this week after attending his first fair in 11 years: “It’s amazing to see that so little has changed. It’s still such a vibrant fair, there are so many new ideas. We’re getting good feedback from all markets, which is interesting after LBF... I think some [exhibitors at Bologna] didn’t go to London.”

Meanwhile Otter-Barry Books publisher Janetta Otter-Barry said: “It’s been very positive so far. People seem to be buying. It’s been better than expected. We had an exciting first day and we’ve been very busy, meeting a mix of people.”

Among the big deals cut was a “hotly contested” auction for fantasy trilogy Children of Blood and Bone by 23-year-old US debut writer Tomi Adeyemi, won by Macmillan Children’s Books in a six-figure deal.

The deal for UK and Commonwealth print, digital and audio rights excluding Canada, was concluded by publisher Belinda Ioni Rasmussen with Jon Yaged, president and publisher of sister company Macmillan Children's Publishing Group in the US, who bought world English language rights in a pre-empt from Alexandra Machinist and Hillary Jacobson at ICM Partners a week prior to Bologna.

Also announced at the fair was a new David Walliams' children's title The World’s Worst Children 2 (HarperCollins Children’s Books), along with the first ever picture book edition of The Hundred and One Dalmatians to be published by Egmont, with the children’s story by Dodie Smith to be adapted by Peter Bently and illustrated by Steven Lenton.

The Snow Lion, written by Jim Helmore and illustrated by Richard Jones (Simon & Schuster Children’s Books) was also a big hit at the fair with co-edition deals signed in two languages (Catalan and Castilian) and a Chinese auction underway. More deals are said to be expected. S&S UK has since signed a further two books with the "fantastically talented" illustrator Jones.

Next year’s Bologna Children’s Book Fair will take place on 26th–29th March 2018. The dates are close to London Book Fair, which announced its 2018 dates before this year’s instalment, and will take place on 10th–12th April. With Easter sandwiched in-between, exhibitors will have a “tight schedule” to move stands between Bologna and London, said Michael Stone, m.d. at stand designer Hytex Communications.

My contractors are already concerned about the logistical difficulties of working over the Easter holidays,” he said.

Meanwhile LBF director Jacks Thomas said: “We will do what we did last year [when there was a similar scheduling clash]: listen to people and do what we can to help exhibitors.”