Frankfurt's book fair bid falls foul of Reed

Reed Exhibitions has fought off its German book fair rival after Frankfurt announced it had the support of key publishers to launch a competitor event at London's Earls Court.

Following exhibitor complaints about the Reed-organised show moving to Excel London in March this year, the Frankfurt Book Fair announced it had a 2007 tenancy agreement in place at Earls Court as well as the support of publishers such as Penguin Group, Random House Group and Faber & Faber.

"We knew there was a growing number of people wanting to go back to EC&O Venues and it was at this point that we also heard the rumour about Frankfurt.

We were surprised at the speed it moved," said Reed Exhibitions UK chief executive Alastair Gornall.

Despite announcing a tenancy for The Book Fair, Earls Court, London 2007, it is believed that the Frankfurt contingent had not signed a contract. Meanwhile, Reed responded to exhibitor pressure and, in the interim, secured a return to west London. The Reed-organised London Book Fair will now run at Earls Court from 16-18 April.

"We were fired up to protect our property. The first thing we did was clear our diaries and visit the Booksellers' Association Conference in Bournemouth to see the publishing industry as a whole. As soon as we realised there was an opportunity to get a lease back, as Frankfurt hadn't actually signed, we lived at Earls Court until the deal was done," added Gornall.

A statement issued on behalf of Frankfurt Book Fair chief executive Juergen Boos suggested the organiser was pleased that its principle goal of establishing a London book fair in a central venue had been achieved.

However, it added: "We believed we had an agreement with EC&O Venues, which was subsequently broken by it. 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."

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