Much has been made about the Eyjafjallajokull volcano's financial impact on the airline industry around the world, not just in Europe. But the publishing industry is also taking a direct hit. As Sarah Weinman pointed out, "The canceled flights have slashed trade-fair turnout, disrupted author book tours and delayed shipping of books across the Atlantic." Notably, Alexander McCall Smith had to cancel a two-week North American tour that was to begin Tuesday, and a planned book party in New York for Irish author John Banville (a/k/a Benjamin Black) was canceled due to the flight delays.
Since publishing operates on such a fragile margin anyway, which has been further eroded by the recent economic downturn, this certainly isn't good news for the industry, for writers or for readers. One positive spin, at least for New York—the annual Book Expo America coming up at the end of May has seen a spike in registrations after the disastrous attendance nightmares at the recent London Book Fair, which turned out to be a virtual ghost town.