PA warns over Bologna directory "fraud"

The Publishers Association has warned publishers over a directory fraud, which appears to offer a free listing in the guide to the Bologna Book Fair, but in fact could charge publishers almost $2,000.

The form appears to be from the organisers of the Bologna Book Fair, but is from a company called Expo Guide, previously known as Construct Data, Fair Guide and Euro Business Guide. It appears to ask for an update on the company so that it can be part of the fair's official listing guide, and on the first page it said it is free if the update form is completed online. However, if a publisher completes the printed version, the small print said it will be charged $1,676 per year for three years, which will be automatically taken from the company's account for the years following unless a written cancellation notice is received.

The Publishers Association's international book fairs manager Gloria Bailey had been alerted to the new version of the form by a member of staff at Scholastic in the US. She said: "My advice to anyone getting these letters should first of all pass it to the person responsible for booking their stands and that person should read it carefully before completing."

She added: "People have signed up for it in the past, and don't read the small print, and then find they've been chased with bailiffs." She said no one had as yet come to her having signed up to this version of the form, but said: "Usually when they've come to me, they've already signed up and are being chased."