Hachette and Bonnier pull out of Bologna Book Fair amid coronavirus concerns

Hachette and Bonnier pull out of Bologna Book Fair amid coronavirus concerns

Hachette and Bonnier Books UK are the latest publishers to announce they will no longer be sending staff to the Bologna Book Fair as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

In a statement, Hachette UK said it had, along with its French and US colleagues, decided to withdraw from the Bologna Book Fair. It was postponed by a month to begin on 4th May instead of 30th March.

"In light of the unprecedented action the Italian government is taking to contain the spread of the coronavirus and our ongoing concern for the safety of our colleagues, authors and partners, Hachette UK, Hachette Livre and Hachette Book Group have decided to withdraw from the Bologna Book Fair," said a spokesperson for Hachette UK.

Bonnier Books UK said similarly, whilst "disappointing", the health of its people had to come first.

"Due to the ongoing spread of coronavirus in Italy, we will not be attending the postponed Bologna Book Fair in May," said a spokesperson for Bonnier Books UK. While the Fair is currently set to go ahead, our number one priority is the health of our people.

"While this is a disappointing decision to have to make, Jane [Harris], Paul [Gregory] and the children’s teams are already putting contingency plans in place."

The publishers' decisions follow announcements already made by Penguin Random House (including DK) and Simon & Schuster, respectively on Tuesday 10th March and Friday last week, that they would not attend out of concerns for health and safety. 

Italy itself is on lockdown until 3rd April as part of expanded emergency coronavirus measures, which include travel restrictions and a ban on public gatherings throughout the country. At the time of reporting, figures revealed Italy to be the worst-hit country after China, with cases of the virus confirmed in all 20 Italian regions.