PUBAT, the Publishers and Booksellers Association of Thailand, hosted its first online book fair from March 25 to April 5, supported by the provider LNWshop, after the coronavirus outbreak led to the cancellation of the 48th National Book Week.
182 publishers from 470 members participated. A PUBAT team stood ready to support the members with no prior e-commerce experience. Online discussions, book talks with authors as well as flash coupons and flash sales resulted in 660,000 visits and a total of USD 1.1 million in sales.
The PUBAT president, Chonrungsee Chalermchaikit, was satisfied with the positive online visitor response and the experiment of moving temporarily to an online platform. Observers applauded the launch of this event on short notice and the outcome. Still, merely 38 % of PUBAT members participated and sales did not amount to the level of the physical equivalent. In light of the ongoing coronavirus outbreak and the closure of book-stores across the country, the website now serves as an online book market.
Online might be the way for many fairs to go. Bologna has announced the launch of the Bologna Children’s Book Fair Global Rights exchange, which brings the cancelled Bologna Children’s Book Fair to an online environment beginning May 4, 2020. Read more about it here. There are indications that Vietnam and Malaysia have also been inspired by the Thai example to host their own online book fairs.