As HarperCollins and Hachette pull out of the London Book Fair, joining Penguin, Macmillan, Ingram, Simon & Schuster, Amazon and many others, the LBF organisers seems determined to sit this out until the UK government makes the decision for them.
UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock said over the weekend that plans will be published this week, included banning big events.
A similar decision by the French government saw the Paris Book Fair cancelled yesterday.
It’s not known just how many cancellations the London Book Fair is recording as of this morning, but safe to say the numbers will continue to rise as realities hit home and social responsibilities come to the fore.
Realities being an event of this scale relies on the big name attractions. Without them the LBF and similar events no longer rate as world-class attractions, and in any case while some exhibitors are standing their ground, just how many visitors can they expect to risk travelling to London and potentially being infected and quarantined?
Exhibitors will be registering their cancellations. Visitors will just not turn up.
In any case there is another angle here: social responsibility.
The exhibitors who are cancelling seem to understand that. Others, not so much.
But as the Coronavirus takes its toll the only question is whether the London Book Fair will be just postponed, or cancelled until next year.