UK and Italy: 2024 Trade Show Dates Conflict Resolved

In Feature Articles by Porter Anderson

Deconflicting the 2024 calendar: Gareth Rapley announces a long-term move for London Book Fair to March, away from Bologna’s 2024 dates.

At Bologna Children’s Book Fair 2023, left, and at London Book Fair 2022. Images: Publishing Perspectives, Porter Anderson

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

London 2024: March 12 to 14
Bologna 2024: April 8 to 11
In a move that many internationally traveling book publishing professionals would like to see made more often by major event organizers, London Book Fair is announcing today (April 6) that it has successfully shifted its 2024 dates for next year’s trade show to March—thus breaking up a looming near-collision in 2024 with the Bologna Children’s Book Fair, the other major springtime publishing trade show.

As Publishing Perspectives readers will recall, the 61st edition of the Bologna trade fair has been scheduled for April 8 to 11 next year, and the 2024 London Book Fair was scheduled to open a scant week or so later.

New dates announced today essentially reverse the time frame in which the two shows have been staged this year.

  • London Book Fair 2024 moves to March 12 to 14.
  • Bologna Children’s Book Fair/Bologna Book Plus in 2024 remains at April 8 to 11.

The news comes from Gareth Rapley, the new director of the London show, a man otherwise focused understandably on this year’s trade fair.

Gareth Rapley

“I’m pleased to announce,” Rapley says in a note to the news media this morning, “that we have been able to move the dates for next year’s [London] fair to March 12 to 14.

“Our top aim is to deliver a fair that works for as many of our attendees as possible, and this move has been made following extensive dialogue with our advisory board and industry stakeholders, who strongly backed the March dates.

“We appreciate that the tight turnaround between Bologna 2024 and London—if it had stayed at its previous April dates—would have imposed real logistical difficulties on exhibitors hoping to attend both fairs.

“It would also have prevented attendees to both fairs from having much downtime to take stock from Bologna and prepare for LBF. The possibility of a date change was not a foregone conclusion by any means, and we have worked hard with [London venue] Olympia to enable it, and want to recognize how incredibly helpful the Olympia team has been in making this happen.”

Indeed, the traveling publishing trade show corps will want to note that Rapley sees this as a lasting move, adding, “This will be a longer-term move to this period going forward, and we now are planning for London Book Fair to be held around the same time in March from here on. We hope this provides welcome certainty for the international adult and children’s industry.”

Bologna’s Widening Remit, London as the Year’s First Show

The new move does place London into position as the first major international trade show in book publishing each year. But there’s no doubt that exhibitors and trade visitors have been making their concerns known about this to organizers of both fairs.

Jacks Thomas, left, and Elena Pasoli

Particularly because each of these huge events places great emphasis on its internationalism, asking the industry’s leading professionals to have so little time on the ground between these major events—let alone asking exhibitors to move substantial stands and other materials between Bologna and London within several days—simply was not going down well, especially among those not based on the European continent.

Furthermore, as the Bologna Book Plus component of the Italian show expands—Jacks Thomas as guest director with Elena Pasoli, of course, as the overall Bologna director—the Italian show is taking on a broader remit than the children’s focus it has held for most of its 61 years.

This means that more exhibitors and trade visitors are finding it important to be at Bologna, particularly with a new non-children’s rights center introduced this year.

Thus the news from London will be welcomed by many—who now need to remember that the opening of the London show for this year is less than two weeks away.

And if the industry could only persuade the organizers of its multitudinous book and publishing awards programs to get out of each other’s way on the calendar like this, the business would run with far fewer clashes and conflicts.

More coverage relative to the 2023 London Book Fair:

London Book Fair: Klaus Flugge To Receive London’s Lifetime Achievement Award
Interview: Rachel Martin on London Book Fair’s Sustainability Lounge
London Book Fair: International Publishers Association Events
London Book Fair: A Keynote From London Mayor Sadiq Khan on the Climate Crisis
Richard Charkin in London: ‘The Perils of Literary Publishing’
Sustainability: Exact Editions Promotes ‘Collections’ for Book-Award Juries
London Book Fair’s New Director Gareth Rapley: ‘A Rich History’
London Book Fair Names Main Stage Speakers
London Book Fair Plans: Scholarly and Rights Conferences
Exact Editions to Showcase IPG Publishers’ Books at London Book Fair
Industry Notes: London Book Fair Awards, Hay Festival in Colombia
London Book Fair Opens International Excellence Awards for Submissions

More coverage relative to the 2023 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

More from Publishing Perspectives on London Book Fair is here, more on rights trading in the international marketplace is here, more on licensing is here, and more on the United Kingdom’s publishing market is here. 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

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.