Alternating with Rio de Janeiro, the São Paulo Book Fair is Brazil’s biggest literary event, and also the latest publishing industry casualty of the coronavirus pandemic.

No surprise there. Brazil’s president has been among the handful of world leaders who looked the other way when the pandemic began, and now Brazil is the second worst hit country in the world after the USA. As this post goes live Brazil has 1.1 million Covid-19 cases and 51,000 fatalities.

Vitor Tavares, CEO of the Brazil Book Chamber, said in a statement,

The postponement is to ensure visitors and publishers have a safe and carefully developed environment when they come to the physical place of the event (adding) in 2022, we’ll offer new ways of interaction for readers, writers and exhibitors, so that they can have a better experience.

The surprises are that the announcement has been so long coming – the prevarication is on par with the circus that surrounded the London Book Fair and New York Book Expo – and that there is almost no digital substitute being positioned.

In fact so far it seems the only digital element to rescue the 26th São Paulo Biennial from 2020 oblivion will be the Professional Days event.

Brazilian Publishers explains:

Professional Days is a matchmaking event involving Brazilian and international publishing houses promoted by Brazilian Publisher – an industry project fostering exports of Brazilian editorial content through a partnership between the Brazilian Book Chamber (CBL) and the Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (Apex-Brasil). In the latest edition, in 2018, the business rounds had the participation of 58 domestic and foreign publishers, which generated USD 735,900.00 in prospective deals. This year, the rounds will happen for the second time, but now via the Brazilian Publishers app.

Fernanda Dantas, Executive Manager of Brazilian Publishers, said:

All events of this size have been making the same decision, so it was not unexpected. Our app was launched last May, so I believe that was our way to be prepared for the continuation of the business rounds, now via a digital medium.

Via Brazilian Publishers.