Publishing’s annual national convention, BookExpo, has been pushed back from May to July. Organizers cited concerns about the coronavirus pandemic.
“Reedpop has been closely monitoring the outbreak of COVID-19 in New York and around the country and following the guidance of health officials,” Reedpop announced Thursday, adding that BookCon, the fan-based event that follows BookExpo, also has been postponed. Both will take place at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in Manhattan.
The new July 22-26 meeting time presumes that attendees can travel from other parts of the country by then and that bookstores currently closed because of the virus will be reopened. Penguin Random House, the country’s largest publisher, had announced Wednesday that it would not be attending BookExpo and told The Associated Press on Thursday that the change in date would not affect its decision. A Simon & Schuster spokesman said Thursday that the company was “reviewing its options.”
Originally planned for late May, BookExpo and BookCon also will overlap with the San Diego-based Comic-Con, scheduled for July 23-26.
Started more 70 years ago, the publishing convention traditionally draws tens of thousands of editors, authors, agents, booksellers and librarians. But publishers for years had already questioned its necessity in the digital age and have reduced their presence on the convention floor.
On Thursday, BookExpo and BookCon events director Jenny Martin acknowledged the uncertainty around the convention.
“We are committed to running a show for this industry and the fans this year. What will that show look like? We are not exactly sure yet,” Martin said in a statement. “But we believe we will be on the other side of this and ready to get together and do what we love to do: discover, discuss, celebrate and connect through books. If the situation changes again between now and July, we will change along with it.”