Book fair confusion: a happy ending still not guaranteed

31st May 2006

The organisers of the Frankfurt Book Fair are still consulting their lawyers following the show’s losing its Earls Court slot to London Book Fair.

At the beginning of May, Frankfurt announced that, following pressure from the publishing industry, it had decided to go ahead with running a book trade event, The Book Fair, at Earls Court. It was reported that a number of key players in the book industry were unhappy with the Reed-organised London Book Fair’s first running at Excel and that there was demand for a return to West London.

Industry observers were then surprised to find that the Reed show was itself to go to Earls Court in the same dates as the proposed Frankfurt show.

In a statement in the middle of May, the CEO of the Frankfurt Book Fair, Juergen Boos, says he is pleased that the industry has got what it wanted, but disappointed by the way things have been handled.

“We believed we had an agreement with EC&O Venues which was subsequently broken by them,” he says. “We are therefore no longer able to pursue The Book Fair, Earl’s Court, London 2007. We are currently evaluating with our lawyers whether legal action can be taken.”

Sources suggest that the deal had almost reached a conclusion but that nothing had been signed.

Earls Court and Olympia’s communications director, Jeremy Probert, refuses to be drawn on this.

“Our position on the matter is quite simple,” he says. “We’re sorry to disappoint anyone, in this case it’s the Frankfurt Book Fair, but we have a longstanding relationship with Reed and we’re delighted that The London Book Fair is coming home.”

A spokesperson for Frankfurt confirmed that it is still in consultation with its lawyers.