Part of National Book Week, the annual South African Book Fair brings together more than 50 African authors, journalists and critics for a weekend packed with literary discussion, storytelling and, of course, book sales.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic and unforeseen circumstances, the 2020 South African Book Fair (SABF) was not able to take place as a physical event as it usually would. For this reason, the South African Book Development Council (SABDC) approached Realm Digital to help transform their SABF event into a digital one, something they had not done before. In addition to this, this virtual event needed to be conceptualised and implemented in a short space of time.
In keeping with current times, the SABDC also wanted to reach their consumers far and wide and a virtual event would certainly cater to this need as their client base spanned multiple geographic locations, including the UK.
The project briefing led to discussion around developing an extension of the existing website for this particular online event, an eCommerce component whereby attendees could click through to Exclusive Books with a referral code to purchase the book of their choosing and lastly, implementing a ticketing system to manage attendance.
The Realm team helped to conceptualise the SABF online event in terms of the look and feel, how it would be run and executed, as well as the technology required to maintain the platform. Engagement with an effective ticketing partner was taken into consideration such that provision was made for Quicket integration, to allow for easy purchase and managing of tickets. This ticketing system and management thereof was just one functional and positive outcome of Realm’s ongoing consulting input throughout the project.
To ensure a seamless experience for all users, the designing and development of all screens and systems were carefully considered. Detailed event programme listings, with featured exhibitors and authors, prioritised user flow. The final phase of the project focused on website functionality and performance. As such, ongoing consulting was provided to assist with the management and monitoring of technology for the duration of the event.
Both parties were pleased with the outcome and value provided to the client. Taking a well-established and recognised in-person event and transforming it into a completely digital entity meant the SABDC was able to demonstrate agility and speed to market in very challenging times.
Here is what the SABDC had to say.
The Virtual SABF 2020 had to be conceptualised and implemented in a short space of time. Realm Digital was fully on board to make it happen and was as invested as we were in the success of the project. Many parts had to be integrated to make the diverse offering of the SABF work virtually, and Simon and his team went beyond the project to ensure everything worked well together. We look forward to continuing our digital journey with Realm Digital in 2021 and beyond.
Elitha van der Sandt
Chief Executive Officer of the South African Book Development Council (SABDC)