November 2, 2020 – Due to the worsening of the epidemiological situation in Zagreb and all of Croatia, the biggest book fair in Croatia won’t be held this year. The organisers announced that Interliber Zagreb is canceled, but publishers and booksellers have responded with an online project.
For the first time in 43 years, the well-known Zagreb book fair, Interliber, will not gather book lovers at the Zagreb Fair (Zagrebački Velesajam). The fair was supposed to be held in accordance with the COVID-19 measures, but organisers announced on Monday, November 2, 2020, that the entire fair was being canceled. So far, the fair has not been in question, and the organisers recently announced that they would still hold it in compliance with all epidemiological measures, which they have planned in detail and published on their website. However, the situation with the coronavirus pandemic has worsened in Zagreb, but also in all of Croatia, which is why they decided, at least for now, to cancel the fair.
“Due to the [worsening of the] epidemiological situation, and following the recommendations of the National Civil Protection Headquarters and the Civil Protection Headquarters of the City of Zagreb, Interliber, the 43rd International Book Fair, which was supposed to take place from 10 to 15 November 2020, is unfortunately postponed. The new date will be set in accordance with the calming of the epidemiological situation, and we ask esteemed exhibitors and citizens for understanding. Let’s stay responsible,” reads the statement on their Facebook event.
As Hina reports, in an official letter to the publishers, it is pointed out that the new situation will be analysed this week with the representatives of the Association of Publishers and Bookstores at the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (ZNK), and several term options will be jointly considered in order to hold the fair as soon as possible, in accordance with the calming of the epidemiological situation, as well as the health risk for exhibitors and visitors.
Anticipating the possibility of such a situation, and in order to at least partially reduce the loss of income due to the non-maintenance of Interliber, the ZNK has been working for two months on preparations for the “A book for Everyone and Everywhere” project, which, as the ZNK President Slavko Kozina explains, will transfer Interliber’s activities to online platforms, bookstores, and HRT3.
“Expecting problems, we were preparing alternatives in parallel that were epidemiologically and economically responsible,” Kozina told Hina. He explained that this is a platform called “A book for everyone and everywhere”, and includes a common website, where online shopping will be done, and includes popular fair prices in all bookstores throughout the Republic of Croatia (therefore, over 100 bookstores), and the “Premium program” run by Croatian editors, which includes the organisation of a “Promoter with a writer” meeting to present new books.
Everything will be streamed on the ZNK website, that is, on the third program of Croatian Radio Television (HRT3).
“In other words, we will have Interliber dislocated to the online world, to bookstores, and to HRT3,” Kozina said.
The entire project is organised by ZNK HGK (Croatian Chamber of Commerce) and in co-organisation with the Ministry of Culture and the City of Zagreb, and the public will be informed about the details of the project at a press conference to be held by the end of this week.
“Publishers and booksellers are communicating with each other and everything will be published soon. We’re sorry because we supported this project until the last minute, and we want to transfer at least a little of that ‘crowd’, where 120,000 people came to Interliber every year, into this story. What’s good is that this time people in Metkovićcwill be able to buy books at good prices, hear new things from writers and I think that with this, we’ll respond in the best possible way to the non-maintenance of Interliber,” said Kozina.