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Publishers Play the Pandemic Waiting Game

publishersweekly.com – Sunday August 2, 2020

With Labor Day only five weeks away, it has become clear that a substantial number of publishers, both in New York City and elsewhere, will not be returning to their offices in anything resembling full force before 2021. Moreover, organizers of a few industry events set for early next year have already announced they will be moving them from in-person to online. PubWest, for one, announced that its annual conference, originally planned for February 4–6 in Denver, will be virtual.

Those developments follow decisions to hold many fall 2020 publishing events online. All of the fall regional bookselling shows, which some had speculated could mark the return of in-person meetings, have gone virtual. BISG canceled its annual meeting—which had originally been planned for spring but moved to September 11 in New York City—and replaced it with a series of online programs, which began July 28 and will conclude on September 11 with its awards ceremony and a keynote address by Barnes & Noble CEO James Daunt. Last week, the Brooklyn Book Festival said it will move its September 28–October 5 fair online. The National Book Awards will also be a virtual event, set for November 18. In the weeks ahead of the awards ceremony, the NBA will hold a series of digital programs, beginning October 20 with its 5 Under 35 event, which recognizes emerging fiction writers.

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