By Maureen Lee Lenker
March 18, 2020 at 06:42 PM EDT
Thos Robinson/Getty Images

It seems BookCon and BookExpo could be the next big events to join the spate of coronavirus-related cancellations. If nothing else, Wednesday dealt the annual publishing industry event a significant blow.

Penguin Random House has announced it will be withdrawing its participation from any events at the 2020 conference and exhibition. "In light of the New York City and State guidance to substantially limit the size of events and number of participants in public gatherings, we regret that we have had to make the difficult decision to withdraw as a participant in BookExpo and BookCon 2020," the company said in a statement to EW. "We will be exploring additional ways to connect with booksellers, librarians and readers going forward."

Publishers and libraries nationwide are currently brainstorming solutions to connect with readers and booksellers as self-isolation practices are encouraged.

Representatives for Reed Exhibitions, the organizer behind BookCon and BookExpo, did not immediately respond to request for comment.

As Penguin Random House is one of the major publishing houses involved in BookExpo, this could be the first step toward an inevitable cancellation of the event, which is easily the industry's largest-scale gathering of the year. As of now, it's scheduled to go on beginning May 27 at New York City's Javits Center.

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