Bologna announces virtual 2020 fair

Bologna announces virtual 2020 fair

This year’s cancelled Bologna Children’s Book Fair (BCBF) will go digital with an online rights hub and meetings held on the Zoom video conferencing platform in an effort to re-create “the business, the atmosphere, the content and the magic” of the annual event.

The BCBF Global Rights Exchange will go live on 4th May, the rescheduled date of the fair before it was shuttered due to the coronavirus outbreak. Bologna organisers said the core of the virtual fair would be an online rights hub, operated by the US-based rights platform PubMatch.  

BCBF exhibitions manager Elena Pasoli said the fair was keen to keep “playing our role as the biggest rights marketplace for children’s content”. She added: “And here we are, offering the business stage and the creative highlights of the industry, with the aim of expanding even more the reach of the magnificent work of children’s book publishers, agents, illustrators, authors and licensing professionals.”

Jon Malinowski, president of Combined Book Exhibit and founder of PubMatch, added: “With International book fairs canceling due to Covid-19, the need to create new and innovative ways to continue the business of buying and selling rights is more important now than ever.”

Almost 1,500 exhibitors from 80 countries were registered for BCBF 2020. Last year, the fair had nearly 30,000 attendees from the trade and general public.

Along with the rights platform, BCBF said it would have a number of online initiatives on the creative side including a range of webinars, its annual Bologna Ragazzi Awards announced on a virtual stage and special digital version of its “Illustrators' Wall” where aspiring illustrators put up their business cards, postcards and posters.  

The full programme for the virtual BCBF will be announced on 23rd April. The 2021 fair is scheduled to take place on 12th to 15th April.