If you’re planning far enough in advance, I highly recommend submitting your artwork to the illustrators exhibition. There’s no entry fee and, if your work is selected, participating is great exposure. As an added incentive, if you submit work you receive free admission to the book fair - even if your work isn’t selected! There’s no age limit for entry, but if you’re under 35 you can be eligible for a several awards.
7. Buy books from around the world!
At the conference, there’s an official bookstore and many of the publishers sell books from their booths. In downtown Bologna, there are many wonderful bookstores too. I had a shopping list of foreign picture books that I couldn’t get in the states, and I was able to find them all!
Word to the wise, have a game plan for transporting your books home, especially if you're traveling afterwards and don't want to carry your books in your suitcase. Shipping fees for FedEx and UPS can be steep (hundreds of euros per box), and, as far as I could tell, neither had locations near downtown. I ended up using the Italian Postal Service, which was much cheaper, but has a reputation for being slow and unreliable. Nevertheless, I'm happy to say the shipping went smoothly, and I received my box of books fully intact a month later!