The 2021 Bologna Children’s Book Fair, with the BolognaBookPlus and Bologna Licensing Trade Fair, concludes with over 75,000 visits

The 58th Bologna Children’s Book Fair – BCBF – which, along with its BolognaBookPlus and Bologna Licensing Trade Fair initiatives “transferred” to digital platforms for the second year running – attracted more than 75,000 visits from all over the world who were able to access the Fair free of charge, showing an increase of 55% page views on the BCBF website compared to the previous virtual edition. 16.000 professionals took an active part in the scheduled initiatives, that run for over 300 hours, attracting 3000 live single viewers.

This year’s Fair offered more than 250 scheduled events across BCBF, BolognaBookPlus and BLTF:

ten exhibitions via the BCBF Galleries platform; twenty winners of BCBF international awards announced online during the Fair; eight hundred exhibitors registered on the BCBF/BLTFGlobal Rights Exchange (an online platform dedicated exclusively to international rights exchange and distributing/licensing content for young people, established in collaboration with PubMatch under the auspices of Aldus Up – European Book Fairs Network, a project co-funded by the European Union as part of the Creative Europe program) covering a total of 21.000 titles and 180 uploaded intellectual properties; 240 young illustrators from forty different countries took part in the 24H Illustrators Marathon on June 12, virtually connecting every point on the globe in a thrilling professional marathon; and 900 illustrators from 72 countries decorated the virtual Illustrators Wall with their works. Apart from the Illustrators Exhibition, which on 27 June heads off on an extensive international tour, the BCBF’s events and exhibitions will remain accessible via the digital platform until 31 August.

The Fair’s social media accompanied their virtual community on Facebook (61.500), Instagram (60.000), Twitter (13.800) and LinkedIn (6.000), amplifying the content of specific events and giving a voice to the new format’s enthusiastic and active audience (503,000) post coverage on the eve of the last day of digital Fair.

The first edition of BolognaBookPlus – a new BolognaFiere initiative that expands BCBF’s offering to a broader professional global general publishing industry audience, curated by Guest Director Jacks Thomas together with her UK team – delivered an extensive, exclusively professional programme staged online in partnership with the AIE – Italian Publishers Association.

The venture began with the inaugural conference Forging Forward: The Pandemic – An Interruption, Or Opportunity To Rethink?, which proved to be a valuable moment to plan for global publishing’s future with international industry experts, organized in collaboration with the IPA – International Publishers Association under the framework of Aldus Up.

Elena Pasoli, the Bologna Children’s Book Fair’s Exhibition Manager, says: “BolognaBookPlus marks a turning point in BCBF history: for the first time in our 58-year history, in addition to 250+ events at the Children’s Fair, in virtual form this year, Bologna brought together worldwide publishing industry professionals, not just from children’s publishing, to discuss the key issues for the entire publishing industry at this particular time”.

“The pandemic has not stopped us!” – adds Jacks Thomas, Guest Director of BolognaBookPlus – “Launching BolognaBookPlus in 2021 has been challenging and exhilarating in equal measure and we are delighted with the output which is a solid foundation on which to build out the offering even further as we forge forward”.

BolognaFiere has invested its resources and expertise to make the most of the many opportunities available through the digital technology used widely to stage this year’s Fair online, leveraging it as a resource and an opportunity for professionals to do business and continue meeting well beyond the four-day event.The new edition of the Global Rights Exchange platform was specifically set up for active year-round use; the new Open Up – BCBF Skill Box area, which since March has launched 14 projects, including activities and training initiatives, actively engaging more than 2000 users, has been enriched with BolognaBookPlus content, which will be available for on-demand purchase from 24 June. BCBF and BLTF events will be accessible free of charge until 31 August.

Next year’s 59th Bologna Children’s Book Fair is scheduled to run between 21 and 24 March 2022. The Guest of Honour will be Sharjah, initially scheduled for the 2020 Fair.



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