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Publishers divided on Taipei International Book Exhibition going ahead

Taipei Book Fair Foundation poll suggests 50% of publishers against in-person event in June

Readers at the 2015 Taipei International Book Exhibition.

Readers at the 2015 Taipei International Book Exhibition. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Publishers are raining on the 2022 Taipei International Book Exhibition (TIBE) 30th-anniversary parade by questioning whether the fair should go ahead.

It had originally been announced in December the book fair would be held from June 2-7. It would be the first time it has been held in the summer and the first in-person iteration of the event after it was canceled for the past two years because of COVID.

However, ETtoday reported Monday (May 16) that a poll of publishing houses by the Taipei Book Fair Foundation showed more than 50% did not, in fact, want TIBE to go ahead. Furthermore, some publishing houses are reportedly thinking of pulling out and seeking compensation.

Given the Omicron surge in recent months, discussions were held between the Ministry of Culture, Taipei Book Fair Foundation, and publishers about whether the event should be held live or virtually. On Friday (May 13) it was once again confirmed that TIBE would go ahead in-person, though Culture Minister Lee Yung-te (李永得) was quoted as saying he would respect the decision of any exhibitor or publisher not to take part in the book fair.

Meanwhile, Legislator Wan Mei-ling (萬美玲) said Monday at the Education and Culture Committee that 154 out of 248 publishing houses had indicated they wanted to cancel a physical version of TIBE. She also questioned why no more than 30% of the booth fee would be returned if a publisher did pull out.

The situation comes against the background of a national policy that is breaking away from zero-COVID containment toward living with the disease and normalizing the situation.

TIBE was founded in 1987 and pulled in 580,000 visitors when it was last held physically, in 2019. The book fair is to be held at Taipei World Trade Center (TWTC) and France is the guest of honor.