The book market in Poland is one of the most affected by lockdown. According to Library Analysis, the turnover of publishers and booksellers could drop by as much as 50% during a pandemic. Despite the growing popularity of online sales, stores still generate the majority of volume with most of them were closed during the lockdown.
During this challenging time, Allegro, Legimi and Lubimyczytać.pl came up with an innovative initiative, which was to conduct the Virtual Book Fair – BookTarg. The event “took place” on May 21-24, replacing cancelled festivals and stationary fairs, as well as helping to promote new publications. We don’t know what effects the organizers expected, but the numbers generated show that this type of venture has enormous potential, almost impossible to achieve with “traditional” events.
Eighty publishers exhibited at the virtual fair. Over four days, BookTarg was visited by 600,000 readers, an unbelievable number for events organized in a ‘traditional’ way (for comparison, the Warsaw Book Fair in 2018 was attended by just over 80,000 guests). One hundred sixty-three thousand books have found new owners. The bestseller was … Pucia’s adventures, which fought for the first place with Justyna Bednarek’s “Amazing Adventures of Ten Socks”. Authors met with fans: most popular attracted 100,000 viewers. Katarzyna Bonda and Bogdan Lach can boast about that broad audience. On the whole, 36 author-readers meetings took place.
Conclusions? On the previous page, we write about summer film festivals that will appear online. BookTarg shows that with skillful organization and good ideas, it can be a massive success. Also, for those marketers who will promptly notice that online events are a phenomenon on a scale difficult to ignore!