As the week ended Hachette joined Macmillan, Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins and Penguin Random House in declaring they would not be going anywhere near Book Expo America this year after the event organisers first insisted the event would go ahead in May, despite the coronavirus taking hold in New York, and then postponing the event until July, all the time insisting the health and safety of the attendees was their prime concern.
As the body count has mounted in New York so Book Expo America has held its position. Even the exodus of the world’s five largest trade publishers left the BEA team shutting their eyes and covering their ears.
In a show of bravado that has absolutely no substance BEA’s Event Director Jenny Martin said,
No one is operating business as usual because business is not usual. Our customers know the door is open and the dialogue will continue now through July about how we come together as an industry and survive this.
As this post goes live Sunday (March 29) there are over 137,000 coronavirus cases in America and 2,400 dead. By the time you read this both figures will be substantially higher and there is no sign they will be coming down any time soon.
In New York people are today dying from the coronavirus at the rate of one every six minutes and Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, suggested we could be looking at 200,000 deaths in the near future.
Yet Book Expo America insists the show will go on.
Book Expo America, you lost our trust when you insisted until the last minute that the May event would happen.
Now you risk losing our respect as well as our trust by insisting the July event will happen even as the city that will supposedly host the event struggles to bury its dead and struggles to keep alive those afflicted by this plague.
Do the decent thing now, before its too late. End this obscene farce now and focus on BEA 2021.