Frankfurt Book Fair beaten to London expo site
13 May 2006,
13 May 2006
FRANKFURT - The organizers of the Frankfurt Book Fair were demanding an explanation Thursday, alleging they had been swindled in a competition for control of a similar book expo in London.
On May 5, the Germans shocked the book publishing world by announcing they planned to hold a 2007 spring book fair in central London, in a direct challenge to the London Book Fair set to take place at the same time in the remote Docklands.
But on Thursday, it was the Germans who were shocked by reports that their London fairground operator, EC&O Venues, had instead reached a deal to lease the Earl's Court exhibition hall to the British group hosting the London Book Fair.
The German Boersenverein, a unit of the German booksellers and publishers federation, had booked Earl's Court for next April and openly said it expected the rival London Book Fair, organized by Reed Exhibitions, to collapse as a result.
Scrapping a finalized sale in favour of a higher bidder is common practise in British real-estate trading but is almost unheard of in German business life.
Frankfurt Book Fair chief Juergen Boos announced Thursday he was demanding "an urgent explanation" from EC&O. A spokeswoman said there had been lengthy talks before May 5 with EC&O Venues, with no hint that the company was in parallel negotiations with Reed.
The London Book Fair is the second most important fair in English language publishing after the Frankfurt fair, the world's biggest book-rights trading show, which is held every October. Boersenverein had hoped to gain control both events.
Subject: German news