Posts tagged #Bologna Book Fair

The 7 Ps


Way back in the mists of time that my youth seem to be obscured in I had the pleasure to work in a small family business run by a lovely man who spent a good few years in one of the forces and was fond of dropping the odd military adage or two into conversations. One that I often heard but didn’t really understand was “the 7 Ps.”

Years later in a much different environment of a much much larger national business with a set of owners from a venture capital background I came across a poster on display in my new bosses office which featured “6 Ps.” Mindful that I had moved from the mid 80’s and a family business to the middle years of the Blair government and a corporate world I didn’t ask what happened to the missing P but simply said yes “The 6 Ps.”

Whether there are 6 or 7 of them I’m not sure it matters but here at the garages we believe in “proper prior plans prevent poor performance”. Pretty much as soon as the paperwork is finished and all our kit is squared away from one book fair we spend time planning our run to the next one. It’s a process of reviewing how our last run compares with the plan we wrote for it and other plans from previous trips. Tweaks or adjustments are suggested and discussions happen across the team before we write up the final plan and announce our service dates to people we know and the wider world through this site.

It all means that when we sit in a meeting with a client and talk about their deadlines we’re confident we can handle the issue that surface particularly when we’re talking with people who have long supply lines and just-in-time production processes. It’s also really handy a few days before a fair when the phone goes and we’re talking, hearing that catalogues haven’t arrived and you’ve missed your freight shipment or those dummy’s need to be reworked and your team will be working all the hours god sends.

The planning makes the last minute nature of what we do possible and without it we’d be lost, just like that missing P.

Last date for Bologna Shipping


With just under three weeks to go before Bologna Book Fair opens you and your colleagues are probably working flat out to hit your advance shipping date. 

Just in case something won't be ready until the very last minute we can still help you get it to your stand. You will find our collections running up to midday Friday 22nd before we head south of the channel to make sure we start our delivery's in the hall from 9am on Sunday 24th.

We're a service that's all about wringing every possible minute out of a deadline and we aim to make it a simple and painless as possible. Our rates are never more than £4 per kilo with no minimum fees or weights meaning you only pay for what you send.

If you think you might need help after your advance shipment has left we'd love to talk about how we can help. To start that conversation simply call 020 3287 4198 email or tweet us. It never hurts to have a back-up plan.


Dates for Bologna Book Fair 2013

With the country firmly in the grip of delay inducing ice and snow the attention of BFV staffers at the garages seem to have drifted towards the third week in March and the hope of some warmer weather and blue sky days on the run down to Bologna.

For those of you who already know that you and colleagues are going to be up against it we are offering collections up to midday on Friday 22nd March in central London and we promise to get to your stand during the morning of Sunday 24th, leaving the rest of the day to get it unpacked and in the right place on the stand.

As ever we stick by our no minimum weight policy and belief that we offer a cost saving alternative to the major branded express shippers or a time stretching option compared to the  low cost operators whose deadlines are days or weeks in advance of the fair.

If you think you might be up against a tight deadline we're happy to talk on 020 3287 4198 by email or pop us a tweet @thebfv


Tyron Goes to Frankfurt

Just like you we all talk about what we do with our friends. BFV staffers get lots of positive interest when they say "I've just got back from Bologna or Frankfurt". On the face of it why wouldn't we? Of course those of you who end up working on a stand know the reality of attending a trade fair, too much work, not enough hours in the day, hotel rooms that blend into one and let’s not forget Wi-Fi that never works in the way it should, strange meals in restaurant that don't match the reviews and an intimate knowledge of the city you are in as long as that's on your route from hotel to hall and back again.

It's fair to say that we get a lot of unsolicited offers of help from people that we all know or meet to come along on our next trip. Once we have explained how tough the work is, how long the driving days are, how much manual labour is involved and how little time there is to shop most withdraw with good grace however the odd few make it onto a list of people we can call on. 

Tyron is one of those rare people that did. Known to several of us at Book Fair Vans he fits with our policy of working with people that we know, like and trust so when we needed some extra help with London collections for Frankfurt last October he moved from the list to working with us.

After a day of visiting clients he headed back to BFV garages thinking in his own words that “This was easy" and not quiet understanding what "All the fuss was about.” Those of us who have done the odd trip or twenty to Frankfurt thought his comments were a little glib not to say premature as he had done the easy bit when his last insistence overlapped with an incoming call from a client needing another van and driver to get there under-estimated load to Frankfurt he gamely volunteered to drive out.

480 miles later in one day he arrived at our hotel telling everyone he could how tough a day he'd had and to be fair to Tyron it was a tough one, a late departure, delays on Eurotunnel and foul weather between Liege and Frankfurt was more than a baptism of fire for anyone.

As the evening went on, just like the fisherman and the tale of the one that got a way, the weather got worse, the delay longer and as for the time he left London well let’s just say he come close to making a fully loaded van travel quicker that a F1 car round the Nurburgring which he is sure he lapped on the way. All this was very entertaining but it was topped the next day when the business of unloading and dropping to stands happens with Tyron deciding that he simply couldn't walk round the Messe without wearing his sunglasses.  

You can imagine the looks from the stand contractors as Tyron arrived to deliver consignments! Suffice to say he took it all with good humour and he's firmly on our list of people to work with because he delivered and repaid our trust.

You might be wondering about the picture, we couldn't persuade him to pose for a picture and this is the best likeness we could find, oh and its got sunglasses as well Tyron….

Tags Last minute delivery to Frankfurt Book Fair Frankfurt Book Fair Last minute delivery to Bologna Book Fair Bologna Book Fair Tyron goes to Frankfurt


Love those jacket ideas.

It’s great that your team hits the nail on the head with the jackets but how do you cope with getting the graphics printed when you’re working like mad to get the jackets and dummies made? Major marketplace gatherings like Frankfurt Book Fair only come round once a year and that can mean a new title has to be pushed to market. With any push deadlines get squeezed, time, patience and money often end up being in short supply.

When it comes to graphics I go back to the days when a computer was something you saw in a sci-fi movie and quick turnaround was a week. Anything shorter was going to get expensive unless you had a regular supply of work and a good relationship with a graphics house. Even then it was touch and go if you were short of time. It was simply about the amount of days it took a person or a team of people to create what you wanted in what was a labour intensive industry and how large your budget was.

These days we work to much tighter time frames, digital technology means that the market place expects a faster turnaround. All our worlds are much more last minute dot com based with people working in marketing  and sales needing to be able to adjust a campaign to support a drive towards an emerging trend or a new product that has a small window to hit.

Large format graphics on a stand or in a retail environment catch the eye and focus the attention like nothing else. When you marketplace is a major event like Frankfurt it might just make the difference between a buyer st opping and saying hello or heading off somewhere else.

So how do you cope with getting the graphics printed w hen you’re working like mad to get the jackets and dummies made? My four step advice is:

 Talk and be completely honest about how much time you don’t have. That way you can get an honest answer that you can rely on.

Origination. It’s a simply rule quality in = quality out.  Whether experienced or a novice it’s always good to ask what works and what doesn’t.

 Use once or make them last. This can affect the time needed to complete you graphics so it’s always good to know.

 Time slippage. If you deadline moves it’s always good to know before you origination arrives.

It might sound like simple advice but you’d be amazed how many people when they are pushed to the point of panic f orget to talk about the simple things!

Frank Baptiste is another of our trusted friends. Frank, who has known Daniel for long that either of them cares to admit, is a director at Colorset UVI a London based large format digital graphic house. You can reach Frank by email or call 020 7234 0300.

Excess Baggage?


If you've had to book with another airline following the cancellation of BA flights to Bologna we hope you've managed to find a flight to get you to the show in time.

We've had a couple of conversations with people today who have decided to use us rather than check excess baggage with their new carrier because the rate they are being charged is higher. We know that sending last minute material to your stand with people flying out is a culture that runs strong in publishing houses. Sometimes it's the only way you can get it there, however, we suspect most people take it out because this is something they have always done.

If what you need to get to your stand is ready on Friday we will pick it up from you office and have on your stand during Monday. No need for you to worry about it carrying it home, through an airport or three, to a cab and on to your stand.

Will be very happy to hear that someone else is doing the carrying and your Health and Safety office just might aprove as well.

To get started email us or call 0203 287 4198 and speak with Daniel.


Our Roy is back!

He the original ,a one of a kind Roy and he’s back with us after an extended trip to the south of Spain with book fair vans person Jason, younger brother of Daniel.

To be accurate Roy is a Royal 12v thermo Electric Cool Box and this particular one was our first so he holds a place in our hearts. It also needs to be said the he is something of a snob when it comes to what we try and put in him. We’ve long since learned not to offer up ready made sandwiches, fizzy pops and chocolate bars because frankly the fuss isn’t worth it and his fan tends to make a funny noise.

Luckily for us he gets on famously with Ruth and he’s very happy to carry exotic cheese although he did once complain about a rather ripe piece of Époisses.

Fussy food snob or not it’s good to have Roy back.


Ruth is our resident designer, customer service contact, stop over and hotel picker, lover of cheese and chocolate. Ruth keeps us all fed and watered in as healthy a way possible and have the ability to be  understood in  almost  any language spoken on the face of the planet and other yet to be discovered.


London to Bologna Cheese stopovers, Reims

We first stopped in Reims a couple of years ago (It might be longer) when Bologna moved its opening from Tuesday to a Monday. Why did we do it, someone needed help because they ran out of time and needed a van load delivered in a very tight time frame.

None of us had been before except Daniel, but being a child of 5 when you first visit doesn’t count, so we slipped over the channel via Eurotunnel and chalked up some French motorway miles before bedtime. Our hotel was one of the worst I’ve ever stayed in. I’ve travelled round the world with a backpack and no money and didn’t expect to find anything like this for the price that we paid. It really difficult not to be taken in by lovely images on people’s website.

Our luck changed early the next morning when I spotted a covered market setting up nearby. If you are ever in Reims on a Saturday it is just off the Place de la Republique.  Our “Roy” cooler boxes were soon filling up with cheese, saucisson, ham, bread and fruit, but mostly cheese.  Being a vegetarian makes travelling through France hard work, meat seems to come with everything, luckily Cheese ranks just under chocolate for me, and stops in France mean finding new one’s to try, this market certainly filled and ticked all our boxes.

On another stop over I managed to motivate our group to go sight seeing first thing in the morning, no mean feat when it involves men and getting up earlier than normal. We had a quick walk round the Cathedral, on to Place du Forum, the real reason for our early departure, to visit La Cave aux Fromages at number 12.

Luckily La Cave aux Fromages has a resident Anglophile who ran the odd two or three Nicolas wine stores in London back in the last century, so communication wasn’t limited to pointing and the distance between my thumb and fore finger for amounts. I said we wanted to stop of lunch and feast on local cheeses, twenty minutes later after tasting and talking I walked away with lunch and some other bits “To keep that will remind you of being in Champange.”

They don’t have a website that I can point you at which is shame but I’m looking forward to going in again and to the great lunch we’ll have. Reims is definitely on our stop list for Bologna.

If you motor to book fairs, we’d love to hear about your favourite stop over’s, post them hear in the comments box or email me

Ruth is our resident designer, customer service contact, stop over and hotel picker, lover of cheese and chocolate. Ruth keeps us all fed and watered in as healthy a way possible and have the ability to be  understood in  almost  any language spoken on the face of the planet and other yet to be discovered.


What does your existing last minute shipper really cost you?

We talk to a lot of people through out the cycle of book fairs. It’s good fun for us because we get to know a little more about you and to see if we can help make getting to a show easier for them.

Lots of people tell us that they use x, y or z company and have done for a long time. It makes sense; you know what your chosen supplier will and won’t do.  They probably email or fax you a form, fill it out read the small print and make a note in your dairy that the collection is something like a week if not more before the show opens.

The pricing is keen when you work like this and if what you need to send is sitting in a warehouse ready to call off it’s perfect but what happens when you’re not just selling from you back catalogue?

Depending on the amount of internal resources that you have available for concept work, making dummies and spreads you might find that to hit your shippers deadline means asking people to work late or engaging someone from your list of trusted freelance designers. We spoke to a few people about the costs involved for doing this and were surprised at the range of costs that are incurred. It might just be the people that we know but the range of fees was varied from £750 to £2000.

When your internal deadlines are dictated by when you r shipper and the amount of people you have available to do the work it might still make sense to spend even the lower end of the price range because your delivery costs are relatively small. It might even be ok from a budget point of view because who looks at these two areas on the same line? Not you, not your accounts department or even your FD?

We could not find anyone who was able to speak to us about other costs that might be related to working to a forward shipping date but we do wonder how much time and money is lost post show from leave and sickness just to recover from meeting deadlines.

With 3 weeks to go before the doors open at Bologna it might just make sense to have a conversation with us at book fair vans.

As ever we are happy to be proved wrong, sometimes it the only way to learn!

Daniel is our head of last minute, exhibitions since the early 80’s veteran, trained counsellor and Swiss army knife carrier. Loves driving through France because people avoid the motorways, hates paying to cross boarders just because they have a tunnel dug through a mountain. Contact him at


Too soon to talk about the last minute?

We often wonder when is the best time to talk to people about how we ship those last minute important items that people need for shows like Frankfurt and Bologna.  Who wants to talk about the next show when you’ve just finished one and are still catching up back at the office with your work load? Who wants to talk when you deadline is looming?

It’s difficult to gauge with some many people having a different approach to what they need and how they work.

We really enjoy helping people at the last minute. Our clients either plan to work in this way and they need us to take a high volume to their stand or they need some help with a few boxes of material that just can be ready until after their normal “last minute delivery” has left.

Whether you a planner for the last minute or someone who just happens to get caught by an unexpected surprise shift in planning we’d love to help.

Tell us when it’s best to talk to you and that’s what we will do.

Daniel is our head of last minute, exhibitions since the early 80’s veteran, trained counsellor and Swiss army knife carrier. Loves driving through France because people avoid the motorways, hates paying to cross boarders just because they have a tunnel dug through a mountain…..


We've lost a Cheese shop in Bologna.

It’s embarrassing, I have to ask for help because I’d like to visit it again and I didn’t write down the address. To make it more difficult I didn’t visit it last year and I’m relying on my memory, which isn’t my greatest feature.

I’d love to be able to find it again because it was full of wonderfully aged, 18 month, 3 and 5 year old parmesan. Floor to ceiling, a very helpful owner who vacuums packed everything I bought and a perfect buying experience.

We stayed at the Tri Vecchi on Via dell’ Indipendenza and it was on one of the side streets nearby. Normally I’d just take a stroll until find it but as we tend to leave when the show opens, time will be a little tight and I’d rather find it than walk around without.

If anyone knows the shop I’m talking about do pop me an email to , leave a comment here to send us a tweet @thebfv

If you help me find this shop I'll make sure we carry a boxes for you free of charge.

Ruth is our resident designer, customer service contact, stop over and hotel picker, lover of cheese and chocolate. She keeps us all fed and watered in as healthy a way possible and have the ability to understand almost any language spoken on the face of the planet.


Arriving in Four weeks time.

It's four weeks until we arrive at Bologna book fair and start delivering the last minute items people have asked us to get to their stands.

This is probably too early to start thinking about last minute collection but just in case.

Most of what we carry will have been collected during Friday, normally packed in boxes that we deliver to clients the day before pre-labelled with all the right details on it. It’s usually sales materials that haven’t made it through the internal process in time to meet another shipper’s deadline. For us it’s great we love to help and if we leave later then the other people you use great.

When we look at the figures average orders are four boxes which means that some people send one box and others a few more, whatever the quantity that’s fine we don’t have a minimum order and you only pay for what you send.

So we work later, give you boxes and don’t have a minimum order.

We might be worth bookmarking or you could leave a comment here, tweet us or pop an email to

Youn ever know what’s going to happen in the next four weeks.

Daniel is our head of last minute, exhibitions since the early 80’s veteran, trained counsellor and Swiss army knife carrier. Loves driving through France because people avoid the motorways, hates paying to cross boarders just because they have a tunnel dug through a mountain…..


The last Minute World and Exhibiting at Book Fairs, a clash of Cultures?

It seems to us at the BFV that the world moves at such a pace today that everything is happening at the last minute.

We all work within that culture, deadlines are shorter, decision processes are squeezed and as for budgets, well let’s just say they are under more scrutiny that ever.

How does that world compare with the process of exhibiting at a book fair?

Show organisers don’t waste time contacting you after their last event to book you for the next one; discussions over what to show in terms of new product and how to get it ready run on in a seamless process from fair to fair. As for booking your meetings with the right people when do you start, when can you think about stopping?

Then there’s the hotels, flights, stand layouts, graphics, and dinners out with clients, your team, the boss, your contractor and anyone else you’ve forgotten. So many of these tasks need a form, email or phone call and everyone needs it sooner than seems possible otherwise you might miss then or find the price has changed.

At book fair vans we suspect that after moving house or office taking your team to an exhibition hall ranks up there for stress and anxiety. When it comes to getting your last minutes books dummies, presenter, catalogues or graphics to the stand we believe that you deserve to stay in control of your time.  Many firms offer low cost delivery to a hall but what’s the real cost of that in terms of time and what else could you get done and shipped?

We don’t ask people to be ready days or weeks in advance and we don’t need a form from you. If it helps our collections are happening on Friday 19th March, we arrive in Bologna on Monday 22nd during the morning and deliver to your stand.

If it makes sense to you tweet with us, leave a comment or email and tell us how you think we can help, we'll be delighted to hear from you.


Ready for Bologna, me neither!

I’ve just about managed to put the Christmas decorations away, remember a few birthdays, get flowers and card for my valentine and produced pancakes last night. Then this morning I had my first Bologna meeting and it seems to me, and everyone else attending, that it is creeping up unnoticed on the rails like a Grand National sweepstake pick.

The fact is that the doors will open on 23rd March for 4 days, we should all thank people like Sarah Pakenham for making sure we didn’t get a 3 day fair and London follows on 19thApril, so by the time we all get home, catch up with that huge pile of work that will be waiting for us, it will be time to head to Earls Court for 3 days.

Still I suppose it means that spring is on its way and if we all close our eyes and wish hard, it will be in full flow when we arrive. It will make a change from snow, ice and grey skies.

Now where did I put my sunglasses……?

Have a great time getting ready!