Bologna Book Plus: Exhibitors, Seminars, Presentations

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The Bologna Book Plus program this year has its first in-person outing at the trade show, widening the purview for publishers.

At Bologna Children’s Book Fair 2019. Image: BCBF

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

Putting a Little English on It
A week from today (March 14), when Bologna Children’s Book Fair opens its four-day run (March 21 to 24), the Bologna Book Plus program, initiated last year, will be seen for the first time in action on the ground.

In a way, this year’s iteration is a re-introduction. Here’s a program, created by a team in London for Bologna, that began its life in a digital format and was largely understood then as a day-long conference, although there were several other offerings, as well.

Established with BolognaFiere and in coordination with the Association of Italian Publishers (Associazione Italiana Editori, AIE), Bologna Book Plus is set at the world’s leading children’s book trade show, and yet is meant to widen the trade show’s purview beyond that younger-readers emphasis, with topical presentations around diversity and “inclusivity, e-lending, accessibility, bookselling, publishing’s future, training, and innovation.”

As we look at the new footprint the Book Plus program is devising at the trade show, all times here are listed in CET, Central European Time.

Note that Europe and the United Kingdom don’t shift to daylight saving time until the last Sunday of March, the 27th. So CEST, Central European Summer Time, won’t have begun during the run of Bologna’s fair. (For American readers, daylight saving time began on March 13.)

Getting a Sense for Book Plus: Think London

At Bologna Children’s Book Fair 2019. Image: BCBF

Jacks Thomas

The Book Plus model, some of which became visible in the program’s digital introduction last year, involves three parts:

  • Instructional events of several hours each, with a fee for each
  • A series of free-to attend seminar events
  • An exhibition space dedicated to the Book Plus

When coupled with the information that Bologna’s guest director of Book Plus is again this year Jacks Thomas, formerly the director of London Book Fair, Book Plus will come into much faster focus for world publishing professionals who attend the London trade show (this year April 5 to 7).

Orna O’Brien

What’s more, she’s working with Orna O’Brien, formerly the architect of London’s seminar program and conference events.

If baseball fans and billiards buddies will forgive us, we’re going to say that when it comes to Bologna’s programming, they’ve “put a little English on it.”

Thomas and O’Brien are producing for Elena Pasoli’s Bologna Book Fair a series of events with distinctive echoes of London’s, and many trade visitors—both those focused on children’s literature and those who work the broader industry—may well be glad to find this new feature at Bologna.

Instructional/Conference Events

At Bologna Children’s Book Fair 2019. Image: BCBF

At London Book Fair, of course, the venerable “Introduction to Rights” program precedes the official start of the show each year (this year it’s on April 4). In Bologna, a rights-training conference event will precede the official opening of that show by a day.

At London, several sector-specific conference events have been set during the London week, including the Research and Scholarly Publishing Forum. At Bologna, you’ll find a few such programs on the main Book Plus page (scroll down to all the “Find Out More” boxes.) These include “Call Your Agent: How To Become a Successful Literary Agent,” “How to Self-Publish in Italy and Abroad,” and a “Translation Rights Forum”—the last of which is contained in the free seminar series.

In those cases of the multi-hour instructional events, there’s a per-event charge, ranging from €20 (US$22) for a webinar held earlier this month on poetry translation to €99 (US$109) for the in-person pre-fair rights program, “How To Sell Rights and Understand Licensing in Children’s Books” on Sunday (March 20, the day before Bologna’s official opening), running 1:30 to 5:45 p.m. CET.

Seminar Events

At Bologna Children’s Book Fair 2019. Image: BCBF

The seminar program of presentations, usually 45 minutes to an hour long, runs on three of the fair’s four days, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.

London-goers may be pleased to know that O’Brien’s seminar series isn’t nearly as busy with rich, attractive events as it had become in the years of in-person London Book Fair iterations, when fairgoers could score their show on the way home by how many excellent sessions they’d had to miss for their meetings and other commitments.

At Bologna, the seminar series runs in a comfortable single track. That won’t get you out of your meetings, but it will at least mean that you’re not having to miss one good seminar because another good seminar is scheduled at exactly the same time.

The seminars are geared to “current topics, challenges, and opportunities facing the book world as we ease out of the pandemic times.” Let’s hope they’re right about that “easing out” business. Some will have noticed The New York Times‘ story from Carl Zimmer updated this morning (March 15) on what’s being called “deltamicron” or “deltacron.” Researchers see it as “a hybrid of the omicron and delta coronavirus variants,” Zimmer writes, “popping up in several countries in Europe.”

That hybrid doesn’t seem to present a unique danger as understood so far, but, as Tim Loh is reporting for Bloomberg this morning, “Europe tried to leave Covid-19 behind, but the rush to unwind restrictions is now setting the stage for a revival of pandemic risks. Accelerated by the emergence of BA.2 … the virus has spread rapidly. Germany has set fresh records for infection rates for four straight days. Austria has also reached new highs, while cases in the Netherlands have doubled since lifting curbs on February 25.”

So it is that taking BolognaFiere’s COVID-precautionary regulations seriously will be expected of everyone.

And trade visitors will find this group of seminar events available, with more detail about many of them here.

At Bologna Children’s Book Fair 2019. Image: BCBF

March 21

  • 11:30 – 12:30 – The Italian Book Market: Facts and Figures
    Speaker: Piero Attanasio, AIE
  • 13.15-13.45 – Changing Trends in Publishing: Addressing the Fear of New Technology
    Speakers: Mariam Al Obaidli, Emirates Publishing Association; Tamar Said, Kalimat Group; Lina Chebaro, Thaqafa Publishing and Distribution
  • 14.00-14.45 – The Impact of Elending on Purchasing Habits in Europe
    Speaker: Ricardo Franco Levi, president of the Italian Publishers Association and vice-president of the Federation of European Publishers
  • 15.00-15.45 – Steven Guaranaccia In-Conversation with Mimaster
  • 16.00-17.00 – Taking Stock: Where Does Global Publishing Go From Here?
    Speakers: Bodour Al Qasimi, International Publishers Association (IPA) president, Alison Tweed, Book Aid International; Jose Manuel Anta, International Publishing Distribution Centre; Karine Pansa, Girassol Brasil Edicoes Ltda
  • 17.00-17.45 – What Works, and What Doesn‘t in Innovation Trainings for Book Professionals
    Speakers: Ruediger Wischenbart; Luis Gonzalez Fundacion German Sanchez Ruiperez; Rūta Elijošaitytė-Kaikarė, Lithuanian Publishers Association; Miha Kovać, University of Ljubljana

March 22

  • 12.00-12.30 – Critical Thinking: The Role of the Critic in Promoting Books
    Speakers: Leonard S. Marcus and novelist and critic, Michele Roberts
  • 13.15-13.45 – Understanding the new look European Prize for Literature
    Speaker: Julie Belgrado, European Booksellers Federation
  • 14.00-14.45– Let’s Get Accessible
    Speakers: Cristina Mussinelli, Foundazione LIA; Filippo Floridia, Mondadori; Marta Fornasero D Scuola; Elisa Molinari; Foundazione LIA
  • 15.00-15.45 – Living with Books, Living with Covid: How Booksellers Across Europe are Dealing with Change

March 23

  • 10.00-11.00 – Translation Forum: Nations Unite, What Sells Well, Where
    Speakers: Viviana Vuscovic, Groupo editoriale Mauri Spagnol; Leonella Basiglini, Europa Editions; Nopi Chatzigeorgiou, Hellenic Foundation for Culture; Emma House, Oreham Group
  • 11.00- 11.45 – Translation Forum: Hot Topics in Translation Rights
    Speakers: Ruth Ahmedzai Kemp, translator; Lawrence Schimel, Author and Anthropologist; Inara Belin Kaja, Janis Roze bookshop, Latvia, Alise Nigale, Liels un Mazs; Fernanda Dantas, Brazilian Book Chamber, Emma House, Oreham Group.
  • 13.00 – 13.45 – Accessible Books To Give Everyone the Opportunity to Read.
    Speakers: Sophie Hamon, MOBiDys; Daniela Marchitto, Les Mots Libres Edzioni; Gabriele Cordovani, Italian Dyslexia Association; Paolo Albert, PubCoder.
  • 14:00-14:45 Supply Chain and Sustainability: How are publishers, printers and technology providers working together to improve sustainability in the supply chain?
Book Plus Exhibitors

That final section of the Book Plus presence this year is a dedicated exhibition space in Hall 29, at this writing featuring 33 exhibitors from markets as far flung as Australia, Mexico, India, Ireland, Poland, Myanmar, Kenya, Morocco, Lebanon, Turkey, the States, Côte d’Ivoire, Qatar, Belgium, the United Kingdom, Algeria, Syria, and Jordan.

To look them up, go to the main Book Plus page, scroll down, and look for the “BBPlus Directory” box.


More on Bologna Children’s Book Fair is here, more from us on children’s books is here, and more on world publishing’s trade shows and book fairs is here. More on the Italian Publishers Association is here, more on Italy and its book publishing industry is here.

Publishing Perspectives is the world media partner of the International Publishers Association.

More from Publishing Perspectives on the coronavirus pandemic and its impact is here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson is a non-resident fellow of Trends Research & Advisory, and he has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with CNN.com, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.

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