Frontlist | I didn’t believe in the success of the virtual fair, but I was wrong

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The virtual events of the Helsinki Book Fair, which ended on Sunday, will be available for another two weeks.

I don’t think so The Helsinki Book Fair, which ended on Sunday, was a success. “Over 53,000 visitors in four days,” the organizer reports.

In total, the online event was reportedly visited more than 90,000 times in “school classrooms, bookstores and home couches”. In addition, the numbers will continue to grow as the virtual event is open until the end of next week.

Admittedly, the figures cannot be compared to anything, as the uninhabited and background-alarm fair was held only for the first time. Because I had to.

The undeniable success, at least, is that the event survived. What, admittedly, I myself did not miraculously believe in advance. For what a market event that does not sweat. And you can fill the box anytime and almost anywhere; no two-halls the size of a football field, like the one in Pasila at the end of last week, are needed to meet two people by one book and in front of the recording camera.

Although vaccine would be completed and the virus would recede, would it attract a sideburn with thousands of book friends in a year?

I bet a strong division of the population. Some rush as wolves, others are not allowed with an ax.

So why not continue the practices we have learned now in the future. Word-hungry people can choose the way they participate.

In addition, from the point of view of the organizers, the blessing of the virtual option is that remote connections to the program in the far corner make it even easier to get even so-called world stars, such as now from the United States, for example. Ken Follett and Elizabeth Strout.

Otherwise in other words: a hybrid era is beginning in the book fair business.

The event in Helsinki may even grow. Whether it knocks out the success of smaller fairs in other cities is already a question in itself.

From the point of view of domestic writers, it is to be hoped not to gnaw, as fewer and fewer will emerge if, instead of large halls and numerous simultaneous interviews, one studio is focused on one author at a time – while even more foreign mega-sellers appear.

Own for me, I feel like I’m staring at the screen just enough. Also in literary life, the salt of life are occasional encounters. Like the CEO of Otava for the rest of the week Pasi Vainion encounter in an almost deserted Exhibition Center and hearing a quiz question he asked a very small circle:

“At what point in the year will the combined result of a total of 66 Finnish bookstore stores turn profitable?”

Christmas will certainly mean a lot more for sales, and luckily it will come this year as well. But still, no idea.

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