Bologna’s 60th Edition Draws 28,894 Visitors

In Feature Articles by Porter Anderson

The in-person professional visitor count at Bologna Children’s Book Fair 2023 jumped by 35 percent over 2022, organizers say.

At the “German Stories” collective stand at Bologna Children’s Book Fair, from Frankfurter Buchmesse. Image: BCBF

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

325 Events in Four Days
With Bologna Children’s Book Fair having closed Thursday, we have numbers today that reflect the very big crowds at the 60th edition of its operation.

Organizers see the program as one in transition—its three-part design of the fair, Bologna Book Plus, and Bologna Licensing Trade Fair/Kids contributing to a new shape and outlook, hoping to attract the wider book business in addition to the fair’s children’s focus.

What that meant this year can be understood by numbers now arriving from the Emilia Romagna:

  • Total professional visitors: 28,894—that number is up 35-percent over 2022 attendance and nearly equivalent to pre-pandemic attendance levels
  • Exhibitors: 1,456 from 90 countries
  • Journalists: 750, with 35 percent from outside Italy–per organizers, “The journalists who attended represented not only the cultural sector, but also other industries, and they provided extensive coverage of the four-day fair in newspapers, magazines, offline and online media, national and international radio and television”
  • Events: 325 over four days, up 25 percent over 2019
  • “City events” organized and held by exhibitors off the BolognaFiere (fairgrounds) site: 260
  • Online, the site is reported to have drawn more than 2 million views called for by 200,000 unique users, some 60 percent of those from abroad
  • More than 60,000 people registered for online services (although some told us that they found the site “heavy,” and quite slow in its responsiveness again this year, as in the past)
  • In various social media, the Facebook and Instagram reportedly communities numbered, respectively, 80,000 ( up 23 percent) and 90,000 (up 23 percent) followers, while LinkedIn attracted 10,000 followers (up 41 percent)
  • In two months, more than 1,000 professionals took part in masterclasses, conferences, training courses, and special initiatives organized on the online platform’s “Open Up” program, which was offered as a “skill box” of training assets
In 2024: Bologna Runs April 8 to 11

At the jam-packed opening of the Market of Honor Greece pavilion, Bologna Book Plus, with Greek deputy minister of culture and sports Nicholas Yatromanolakis speaking. Image: Publishing Perspectives, Porter Anderson

As always—and simply as a matter of course in journalistic practice—we point out that our figures are not verifiable by Publishing Perspectives. This implies no intention of obfuscation, but a reminder that from time to time, an event’s organizers may actually need to adjust numbers, as more definitive counts become available.

The Bologna fair’s hardworking team offers special thanks today to the Italian ministry for foreign affairs and international cooperation (MAECI), as well as ITA, which in this case refers to the Italian Trade Agency rather than the airline.

The 61st edition is set much later in the spring next year, running April 8 to 11—with London Book Fair 2024 running April 16 to 18. Many members of the “traveling corps” of the international book publishing industry have noted this already. The very close proximity on the calendar of the first two major industry-facing trade shows of 2024 is not welcome news to those who must operate at both, particularly those not based on the European continent.

Slovenia is expected to be Bologna’s guest of honor market in 2024, a position it will have this year at Frankfurter Buchmesse, as well, running October 18 to 22.

This year’s appearance by Greece as the Bologna Book Plus Market of Honor was especially gratifying, as a picture of a world literary market of both contemporary and ancient value, returning to full viability after its extraordinary economic struggle, 2008 to 2018, and the following impact of the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. Greece’s presence was avidly welcomed by the show’s trade visitors.

Among the ‘flying books’ of the Bologna Ragazzi competition exhibition at Bologna Children’s Book Fair 2023. Image: BCBF

More on Bologna Children’s Book Fair is here, more from us on children’s books is here, more on publishing and book awards is here, and more on world publishing’s trade shows and book fairs is here

More of our coverage of the 60th anniversary edition of Bologna Children’s Book Fair:

Bologna’s 60th Edition Draws 28,894 Visitors
Hometown Hero: Bologna Illustrator Andrea Antinori Wins Big
International Women’s Day: PublisHer’s Bologna Stand
The Best Children’s Publishers Prizes of the Year at Bologna
At Bologna: Abu Dhabi International Translation Conference
Elena Pasoli and Jacks Thomas on the 60th Bologna Book Fair Opening
At Bologna: Spain’s Publishers Report Growing Children’s Exports
Nicholas Yatromanolakis on Bologna’s Market of Honor: ‘The Modern Face of Greece’
IPA’s Events Lineup at Bologna Children’s Book Fair
‘AI’ at Bologna: The Hair-Raising Topic of 2023?
At Bologna: PublisHer Will Have Its First Trade Show Stand
At Bologna: The ‘Taiwan Stories Market’ Program
Pre-Bologna Rights Roundup: ‘Buy Ukrainian Book Rights’
Children’s Rights Edition: A 16th Bologna Licensing Trade Fair/Kids
Bologna Book Fair Names Cross Media Award Winners
Bologna Focus: Italy’s €283 Million Children’s Book Market
Rights Edition: Bologna Book Plus’ Rights Programming
Bologna Book Fair: 2023 Ragazzi Awards
Bologna’s 60th Book Fair: Illustrators Exhibition Winners
Greece Is Bologna Book Plus’ First Market of Honor

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson 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 International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, 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.