By Julieta Lionetti
From March 6-11, if you have an internet connection, you can visit the inaugural Virtual Book Fair. This inaugural event is organized by Bubok, the top self-publishing platform in Spain, and by IMASTE, European experts in virtual events. It is being supported by the Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture.
The fair, conceived as a virtual marketplace where authors, readers and professionals of the industry can meet, will have “stands” open to the general public. Among the exhibitors will be publishing start-up 24Symbols, the social media platform Entrelectores, the e-distributor Libranda and associations like CEDRO, and the confederation of booksellers, CEGAL. Publishers participating in the experimental fair include Planeta, Vicens Vives and Santillana.Fair-goers will need to register to watch video conferences or participate in the interactive activity, but if your plans are just to toddle around or peep into the news that exhibitors offer, there’s no need to abandon your anonymity.
Readers will be lured by best-selling authors Juan Gómez-Jurado and Manuel Loureiro, while professionals — worried by the digital shift in publishing — will want to log on for conferences being offered by digital strategists, including Silvano Gozzer and Javier Celaya.
Gozzer, who serves as head of Anatomía de la Edición and its twin start-up Anatomía de la Red, says he was, initially, both puzzled and amused by his invitation to be an exhibitor and speaker. “The idea was weird, since we are used to face to face meetings,” he says. “We needed a leap of faith to understand the importance and the mechanics of the proposal. Maybe this edition of the show will still feel odd, but readers, who tend to be more open minded than the industry, will surely know to take advantage of the virtual environment, one with which they are already familiar.
“We have to give double credit to the organizers,” he adds, “because they have come to remind the publishing industry that innovation is one of our commitments to readers.”