Cover Stories: London Book Fair; Booksellers' Association conference

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The Independent Culture

* A book-trade war has broken out between Britain and Germany. Or, specifically, between Reed Exhibitions, organisers of the London Book Fair, and the Frankfurt Book Fair, owned by the association of German publishers and booksellers. It has announced that some major UK publishers have pledged support for a rival Frankfurt-organised fair at Earls Court in April, just a month after the Reed show at ExCeL in Docklands. ExCeL, where the LBF decamped this year from Olympia, was widely loathed for its poor location and facilities. Reed has promised a better future but Brits and Americans have been seduced by Frankfurt's plan of a move back into the city centre. Reed isn't going to concede defeat easily, though some pretty straight shooters, such as Hachette's UK grand fromage Tim Hely Hutchinson, promise that they will go along with Frankfurt-in-London. One thing is certain: London cannot host two fairs, and someone has to blink.

* At the Booksellers' Association conference in Bournemouth, crucial players in independent publishing picked up key awards. Faber & Faber (with turnover up 25 per cent) was named KPMG publisher of the year after massive recent hits from Alan Bennett, P D James and Ricky Gervais. And Profile - a partner in the Faber-led sales and marketing alliance of indie firms - jointly won the Lightning Source small publisher award. Sharing Profile's honour was Snow Books, founded by Emma Barnes. All good omens, perhaps, for the launch titles this month from Alma Books, created by Elisabetta Minervini and Alessandro Gallenzi as the next venture after the stylish reprint lists of their Hesperus Press.

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