A decision on whether the London Book Fair will go ahead physically this year has been delayed until mid-April.
Organiser Reed Exhibitions had been due to announce what format the fair, delayed until 29th June, would take by the end of this month. However, new director Andy Ventris said that decision had been put back because of the ongoing uncertainty around international travel.
He said: “The past year has presented challenges unlike any other, and we are having to respond to a very fluid situation both here in the UK and internationally. We promised to update the trade about plans for the 2021 fair by the end of March. Given the continuing uncertainty around international travel, we are currently planning for all scenarios and will update with a final decision in mid-April.
“We continue to closely monitor the situation on a daily basis, and are in constant communication with our stakeholders and our advisory board so that we can reflect their views and support the trade as best possible in these difficult circumstances. I’d like to thank the publishing community for its ongoing support.”
This year's fair was pushed back from March and is scheduled to run from 29th June to 1st July, with organisers saying they wanted to provide the best possible chance of creating a live event for the publishing industry. Under the current UK government roadmap, all lockdown restriction are set to lift from 21st June, one week before the fair.
In February, a number of publishers and agents complained they had been left “in the dark” about Reed's plans, with one senior industry figure vowing their company would not attend.
Last year's event, which came at the start of the pandemic, was cancelled at late notice, prompting criticism from some quarters, including of Reed's refund policy, which saw some exhibitors offered 60% of their fees back or, if they chose to turn that down, a transfer of 100% of their fees to a booking for the same package at this year's fair.
Reed said the 2022 event would return to its usual spring dates.