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From the 14th Annual Shorty Awards

Scholastic Virtual Book Fair

Finalist in Digital Pivot

About this entry

Scholastic Book Fair’s virtual book fair has historically been simply an e-commerce extension of a physical book fair experience, with items merchandised similarly to other online bookstores. 

But when schools began closing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, depriving families and kids the chance to experience the special brand of magic and connection they look forward to year after year, the team was forced to think quickly and nimbly, reimagining the scope of possibilities that a fully virtual book fair could be. 

The main objective of the campaign was to support bookings of fully virtual fairs, a new offering in lieu of in-person book fairs, as well as continue to drive traffic and keep customers in our virtuous renewal cycle. We endeavored to do this through the creation of a visually rich and layered 360° virtual experience.

Why does this entry deserve to win?

Scholastic Book Fairs wanted families to feel like they were at a book fair while also ensuring the digital experience was easily accessible to as many people as possible. We built the experience in a PANO 2VR platform that seamlessly linked into our school-connected database without burdensome login or download. The browser-based platform provided smooth, flawless access to a digital fair even in areas of the country without strong connectivity. The experience was promoted via Scholastic Book Fairs’ customized home pages for each school hosting a book fair and traffic soared from the moment it launched.

In a year when our whole business model was turned on its head, the 360° virtual book fair ensured that millions of families could still experience some of the magic and memory-making of this beloved event—and reminded them of what would be waiting when in-person fairs returned.


Primarily, despite school closures having a heavy impact on bookings of in-person book fairs, the 360° experience enticed tens of thousands of schools to host a truly virtual fair, resulting in millions of dollars of revenue.

In the first 3 months alone, the experience averaged over 40% of the traffic for all book fair purchases—and traffic remained fairly consistent for the entire school year, driving far more direct purchases than anticipated. 

Supporting promotion included a Virtual Fair Promotion Guide—a step-by-step primer on hosting a successful virtual fair tailored to our Book Fair Chairs (lead school volunteer); this was viewed 42,000 times throughout the year. We also ramped up our paid digital efforts, including a social campaign directed to parents with active fairs that garnered high revenue numbers and resulted in a 309% ROAS. In addition, we sent emails directly to our Chairs with ready-to-go tips to promote the fair to their school communities. These emails saw a 56% unique open rate and 16% unique click rate, over 120% above industry average.  

Since launch in October 2020, the 360° virtual book fair has received over 2.8M views.


Entrant Company / Organization Name

Scholastic Book Fairs


Entry Credits