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March 2, 2020

Coronavirus's Effects on Book Industry Spreading

PW: "The continuing spread of the new coronavirus is sowing uncertainty across many parts of the book world. Already, the Bologna Children’s Book Fair, originally set for March 30–April 2, has been moved to May 4–7 following an outbreak of the virus in northern Italy. Reed Exhibitions issued a statement last week saying its London Book Fair will proceed as planned on March 10–12 but added that it is tracking developments.Even as LBF moves ahead, late last week word began circulating that a growing number of Americans will skip the fair. A Simon & Schuster spokesman said that “out of concern for the health and safety of our employees,” the company has decided not to attend LBF. The spokesman added that staff that was planning to attend are “looking into alternate means to conduct meetings with their contacts in the international publishing community"...Another major U.S. publishing player, the Ingram Content Group, said it has decided to curtail travel in light of the outbreak and will not attend LBF. Some American agents said they are staying home as well. Several international events featuring Chinese exhibitors and guests have been canceled, but the Chinese stands at LBF will be open and staffed by employees from the exhibitors’ London offices. There are also reports that some publishers, agents, and service companies from Japan and South Korea will be unable to attend LBF... While publishers, editors, and agents grapple with how best to handle the London and Bologna fairs, publishers’ production and supply chain teams are working on how to lessen the impact of the shutdown of printing plants in areas of China where the coronavirus originated. Interviews with several industry members confirmed that some books printed in China have been delayed, even as plants there slowly ramp back up. “Quarto, like many other toy and book manufacturers, is experiencing production delays in China,” said Ken Fund, chief operating officer of Quarto, who was at Toy Fair. Quarto is “actively looking at alternative solutions outside of China for production,” he added.“We are reviewing the production status with our printers of each of our titles, some of which have experienced delays,” said a spokeswoman for Penguin Random House.Michael Jacobs, CEO of Abrams, noted that some Abrams works produced in China have also been delayed. Simon & Schuster has adjusted pub dates for a few fall titles in order to accommodate its most-impacted printers, the company spokesman said...  Separately: The Salon du Livre in Paris has been cancelled. The French government announced over the weekend they were banning gatherings of more than 5,000 people in any enclosed space for the foreseeable future. The event was to be held March 20-23, with India as the guest of honor...The impact of the coronavirus on the Foire du Livre, as well as the upcoming London Book Fair, remains to be seen. At present, organizers of both events have announced no change of plans, despite the number of American publishers and book-related businesses pulling out of London"...

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