I’m hoping some of you can get some travel insurance money back now from your London plans. The fact that AWP hasn’t cancelled is sort of remarkable. What’s the point of going? Paris, Leipzig, and Bologna have all cut and run as well to protect people, presumably at some cost. Why is AWP still holding on? It’s going to be a ghost town. Board members are quitting over it. Seems irresponsible.
“Walking through the main hall to see none of the big five publishers’ stands would be like being inside some dystopian future where most things have been wiped out by a killer bug,” wrote novelist Stuart Evers on Twitter.
Many in the industry were angry that Reed had not taken the decision earlier, forcing publishers and agencies to take matters into their own hands. Small publishers worried about the loss of hundreds of pounds in hotel and transport fees, while critics pointed out that other book industry events, including the Salon du Livre in Paris and the Leipzig book fair, had been cancelled. Both had been due to take place later this month.
“Reed is an enormous and very profitable company. I understand that if they cancelled last week they would have taken a financial hit, but that would have been the responsible thing to do. They’ve been citing government advice but it’s really irresponsible in the current climate to have a mass gathering of international publishers,” said one senior publishing figure. “It’s a very ugly cat and mouse game they’re playing. It’s purely financial and makes them look money-grabbing. It’s making a lot of publishers wonder how much they need London book fair. We have Frankf