Beijing reveals hybrid book fair plan

Beijing reveals hybrid book fair plan

The Beijing International Book Fair (BIBF) has announced this year's event will be a hybrid of digital and physical, with Chinese assistants available to represent international publishers' titles.

Running from 25th to 29th August, the physical event is expected to be limited to Chinese and China-based publishing houses owing to travel restrictions, with forums, seminars, face-to-face meetings, and other events.

International publishers who do want a physical presence are being offered a service called “SMART!Assistant”. It will see BIBF provide assistants on-site during the book fair to present titles to interested Chinese publishers and forward on contacts afterwards.

Alternatively, publishers can send books to a dedicated collective space at the fair designed to showcase the latest international adult and children book titles. The deadline to register books for the collective space is 30th June.

There will also be a range of online services which companies can continue to access for a year following the fair. Last year's virtual rights platform attracted more than 1,400 publishers

Fair director Liying Lin said: “Following a strong year of growth for Chinese publishing, we are delighted to announce that the Beijing International Book Fair (BIBF) will be back to support the publishing industry in both physical and digital forms this year. At the physical event we hope to welcome publishers from across China and locally-based representatives from around the world.

“Our digital platform will enable us to welcome thousands of publishers from around the globe. While we know digital cannot replace face-to-face communication, we hope that services such as our new SMART!Assistant can open up opportunities for people who may not have been able to attend traditional book fairs at all in the past. I think this is an exciting opportunity to reimagine what global book fairs look like and I’m delighted BIBF is at the forefront of this initiative.”

Earlier this month, the Shanghai Children’s Book Fair said it would welcome international delegates to an in-person event from 19th to 21st November if travel restrictions are not in place.