For the first time ever, the San Antonio Book Festival will take place entirely online and run for three full days, April 9 through April 11. Pending the pandemic numbers in 2021, the Festival could be somewhat hybrid with select in-person, socially distanced events, which will be announced at a later date.
“While the uncertainty of the coming months drove our decision, we are embracing the potential to reach a wider audience and elevate the Book Festival’s reputation on a national scale,” said Lilly Gonzalez, SABF’s executive director. “Are we disappointed? Of course. It’s another year that we don’t get to celebrate books in person with our Festival friends. But the safety of our attendees, writers, moderators, and volunteers is our first priority. If we have to be virtual, we’re focusing on ways to make the online experience as close to the real thing as we can.”
We will be using an online platform called Accelevents to run the festival, which will allow us to offer book clubs, groups of friends, and classes the opportunity to chat privately among themselves during an event. There will be also a “networking” capability to mimic the in-person festival, where attendees can meet one another and talk about which events they’re attending and enjoying.
“For seven years, thousands of readers have been coming to the downtown Central Library and Southwest School of Art to experience the Book Festival,” said Gonzalez. “In 2021, we’re coming to you.”
Effective 2021, locally owned and operated bookstore Nowhere Bookshop will be the Festival’s official bookseller, a change from previous years where that role was filled by Barnes & Noble. The Book Festival’s singular fundraiser, the Book Appétit Literary Feast featuring novelist Amor Towles, has been rescheduled to April 8, 2021 and will also be held online.