Event cancellations due to COVID-19 continue apace. The big publishers are not going to send employees to the rescheduled Bologna Book Fair: HBG, Hachette UK and Hachette Livre, have withdrawn,”in light of the unprecedented action the Italian government is taking to contain the spread of the coronavirus and our ongoing concern for the safety of our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.” Bonnier UK also said it will skip the event.
Poets & Writers has cancelled its 50th anniversary gala, scheduled for March 16. “We’re sorely disappointed, but made this decision out of a concern for the health and safety of our staff and guests.”
The Los Angeles Times postponed its Festival of Books on Tuesday, originally set for April, “in light of public health concerns related to the coronavirus and out of an abundance of caution.” The event has been rescheduled for October 3-4. The Virginia Festival of the Book, scheduled for March 18-22, has also been cancelled.
Elsewhere, both Macmillan and Penguin Random House and DK decided to not attend the Texas Library Association annual conference, set for March 24-27 in Houston.
In Italy, Kobo and Mondadori are working together to provide free ebooks to people while they are staying at home. At Kobo’s headquarters in Toronto, on Tuesday they had “a rehearsal of ‘full work-from-home,'” ceo Michael Tamblyn told Publishing Perspectives. “Everyone in the office is working remotely, no access to office space. Not because it’s necessary at this moment, but because we want to see what issues would come up in the event that we had to. I’d rather do a dry-run on our own terms than find out what doesn’t work in the event of a crisis. The good news is that we get to learn from the experiences of our co-workers in some of our more affected territories, like Taiwan and Italy, and bring that to the rest of the team.”