The Beijing International Book Fair (BIBF) is to go ahead as a physical event this year (25-29 August), but restricted to Chinese and Chinese-based publishers. International publishers may book stands attended by Chinese assistants, or by submitting books to collective stands. All the events and seminars at the fair will be live streamed.
BIBF's offering to international publishers is called SMART!Assistant, via which the publishers can present titles and contact details. A SMART!BIBF service enables publish to attend the online events and seminars, and to gain access to them for a year following the fair, as well as to conduct rights business.
According to data agency OpenBook, the Chinese book market was up 18.6% in the first quarter of this year. Liying Lin, fair director, said: "Following a very strong year of growth for Chinese publishing, we are delighted to announce that Beijing International Book Fair (BIBF) will be back to support the publishing industry in both physical and digital forms this year. At the physical event we hope to welcome publishers from across China and locally-based representatives from around the world. Our digital platform will enable us to welcome thousands of publishers from around the globe.
"While we know digital cannot replace face-to-face communication, we hope that services such as our new SMART!Assistant can open up opportunities for people who may not have been able to attend traditional book fairs at all in the past. I think this is an exciting opportunity to reimagine what global book fairs look like and I’m delighted BIBF is at the forefront of this initiative."