The announcement that Penguin Random House has pulled out of book Expo America will surprise no-one. There are only three surprises here: That it didn’t happen sooner. That other big exhibitors haven’t yet pulled out. And that BEA thinks there is some sort of misguided nobility in looking the other way as New York shuts down.
The last update on the BEA site, dated March 15, insisted they were optimistic the show could go on. Itself a change in tone from the March 10 post saying they saw no reason why the show might not go on.
Perhaps now, rather than suffer the ignobility of having all its exhibitors cancel, BEA will finally do the decent thing end the uncertainty and faux bravado, and cancel the event until 2021.
Meanwhile in Argentina the Buenos Aires International Book Fair, which regularly attracts a crowd of 1.2 million people, has been postponed.
Concern had been mounting in recent weeks about the event, with many arguing for cancellation or postponement, but a ban on large public gatherings laid the matter to rest.
No date has been intimated for a resumption of the fair, and the likelihood is that as an event of this size will not be easily re-arranged this postponement may well be a de facto cancellation.
Earlier this month Columbia’s Bogota International Book Fair became the first major Latin American casualty of the coronavirus crisis.
FIL Buenos Aires becomes the second. It almost certainly won’t be the last.