Posts tagged #Late van to Bologna Book Fair

The questions people ask us.


As we get closer to each book fair that we work on it’s fair to say that we get emails or phone calls asking us to answer questions that people have and that’s fine we are always happy to answer them and find out a little bit more about the people who are asking.

We have realised that we are probably not making it easy enough for you to find out about us and in an attempt to do something about that we thought a blog post with answers might just help.

If you can’t find the answer to yours on this post do let us know,  we can answer it for you and then add it to the blog in case someone else needs that answer another time.

What do you do?

We run a late van service for publishers and associated companies that exhibit at trade fair like Frankfurt, Bologna and London.

The people we work with tend to have a problem getting material to their stand when the know or have realised that it won’t be ready until the last minute and it is either too heavy or there is too much of it for their staff to take to a fair themselves.

Recently we have noticed that we are taking more material for publishers who have a smaller presence at a trade fair, usually with one or two people working from their stand or simply accessing the fair as a visitor.

We also work with people who gear their production processes to be ready just in time

What do you carry?

Typically it’s a mix of catalogues, dummies, presentation material and graphics for peoples stands. It’s also included Computer equipment, boxes of wine, the MD favourite chair, the office coffee machine, mints, chocolate, stuffed toys, boxes of meeting notes, gift bags, virtual stand hosts and portfolio cases.


We time our departure to offer people as much time as possible to get every ready that they need on a stand.

For Bologna 2014 we are leaving central London at 14:30 on Friday 21st March and arriving at the fiera Sunday 23rd March with delivery to stands from 09:30.

Frankfurt 2014 we see us leaving central London on Monday 6th October at 14:30 arriving at the Messe on Tuesday 7th October with delivery to stands from 10:00.

What does it cost?

We work on a simple per kilo price which means that you only pay for what you send out to a fair with us. There is no minimum number of boxes or weight to worry about which means we are happy to take that one box that you have.

 We would expect to finalise our charges for Frankfurt by the end of July 2014. Please feel free to email us and we will let you know as soon as the rate is confirmed.

How much for cash, how much for an early booking, how much for trade, fire sales and “I’ll call you the day before you leave to check how much unsold space you have.”

It’s not how we work and the answer is always a polite but firm no.

When do I find out how heavy my boxes are.

The glib answer for this one is usually “When you try to lift them!” but the real one is that we weigh all your boxes as we load into our vans and we will tell you how many boxes you have given us and their total weight. We will confirm that with an email to you on the way to the fair and we always ask you to sign for your boxes when we collect and deliver.

Can you leave later?

The honest answer is that we can’t.

We work to the last possible minute to get your boxes to the show and we have a responsibility to our other customer and BFV staffers to make sure we arrive in good time and are making sure that we allow enough time to do the job in a safe way.

More or less boxes than I said I would have.

We have designed the service to work on an on demand basis so if you have been good enough to give us an estimate of boxes before we arrive and you have over or underestimated it’s not a problem we’re happy to take whatever it is you have ready for us.

If you charter an entire van from us we work to a maximum load which is governed by the weight that the van can carry and that is usually 1500kg.

How do we keep in touch on the journey to a book fair?

All our vans carry mobile phones (and someone other than a driver to answer them), internet connection, tracking via Glympse and email access. Do ask us for details if you would like to keep in touch on the run to a book fair.

Proof of Delivery.

We use a proof of delivery system called Workmobile which means that we don’t rely on a paper based system , that said we do run one as a backup. Workmobile lets us book in the amount of boxes we collect from you, record a weight for each and captures a signature.

When we deliver to your stand we will ask for a signature, remind for the amount of boxes and take a photograph, just to be safe. If you are not on the stand when we arrive we will ask your contractor to sign and get their name as well again just to be safe.

The signatures, photos and boxes weights are available for you to see either online or via email, which ever you would prefer.

Return journey’s

We regularly survey our clients to find out whether we can offer them a return service and it seems that just over 85% of what we deliver to peoples stands either returns to London with a contractor, is donated to one of the book charity's or is left behind and this makes it uneconomical for us to offer a return service.

What do you need from me?

Usually very little, we don’t ask you to fill out forms and sign your life away at a time when you’ve got more that enough to do, without us adding to the workload. We like to know how we can reach your or your colleagues at the fair, what time you are arriving in the hall, who we should send and talk to about our invoice and a rough idea of what’s in the boxes. That’s about it.

Labelling Boxes

Our journey to a book fair does not involve your boxes being processed through multiple depots however just to be safe we recommend you follow the label conventions set out by the fair you are exhibiting at for example:

Bologna Book Fair

Your stand contact

Your hall and stand number

Bologna Children's Book Fair

Piazza Costituzione, 6

40128 Bologna


Frankfurt Book Fair

Exhibitor name, hall and stand number

Frankfurt Book Fair


Ludwig-Erhard-Anlage 1

60327 Frankfurt am Main



London Book Fair

Your stand contact

Your hall and stand number

London Book Fair

Earls Court Exhibition Centre

Warwick Road


SW5 9TA.


What does it cost to book in with you?

We run a list of people who have asked us to speak with them, usually a day or two before we leave for a fair to see whether or not they are going to need our help. We will never charge someone for being on a list of people that might need help and in fact we’d rather know about what you might need in advance and find out that you don’t need us closer to departure.

If you would like to book in with us and confirm closer to a fair email us at and we can go from there.

I’m outside of London can you still help us?

We regularly have people contact us who are outside of London that need help. We always try our best to help them particularly when they reach out at the last minute. The best route to getting your last minute material to your stand is to send us an email or have a conversation with us by calling 020 3287 4198. We can usually find an answer and give you clear deadline times and costs involved. Because of the distances and time involved we won’t be able to offer collections on the same day as we do with our London collections but we usually find a way to give you a full day to get ready the day before.

Can we get a reference from you?

We are lucky enough to have people that we have worked with over the years who have volunteered to offer us a reference or testimonial and we are happy to introduce you to them. We usually prefer to have a short conversation with you about what you might need to send out to a fair to make sure you end up talking to someone who has sent a similar amount of boxes to make sure you get an accurate experience of working with us.


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


Beam me up Scotty

The sale of Edvard Munch's The Scream has made taken plenty of column inches over the last few days.

We suspect that during the next few week many of us will strike a Munch like pose and scream inwardly at the injustice of a deadline that doesn't work. That conversation, memo or email about when you have to be ready might just be the worse thing about the run up to Bologna Book Fair.

It's probably because we are the last people out of London to a Book Fair that we get to find out how much pressure people are under to get their last minute material completed. Some conversations have been about working to deadlines that have a little slack in them, another implied that colleagues in teams working on the show seem to think that there is a secret delivery run that involves a conversation with Mr.Scott and the Enterprise teleporter team.

Whether you favourite Montgomery Scott is the original James Doolan or Simon Pegg and his recent re-creation of the role we'd happly sign them up for a show or two, but one is sadly no longer with us, the other, we suspect would cause a budget problem and his Scottish accent really worries some of us at the bfv.

All this got us thinking. What do you do?

Do you give a deadline out to others and keep a little something up your sleeve or take Aaron Neville's advice to "Tell it like it is" and run the risk of others thinking that you've kept a little bit back because that what always happens.


We Know you Trust us and we'd Like to Prove it.

When we get back from a book fair and have finished everything that needs to be done, we sit, meet and talk about what we might need for the next one. One thing that kept cropping up on everyone lists of things to do was a proof of delivery system (POD).

We are meticulous with making sure we know what we picked up, how much it weighs and where it needs to be delivered to. Our system works and perhaps more importantly we don't want to ask you to spend time filling in forms, completing faxes or replying to stacks of emails, we don't like doing it and suspect you feel the same. From what you have told us forms seems to lack a human touch and a level of personal service that we feel goes against what we believe we should do which is getting what you need to a book fair at the last minute with the minimum amount of fuss.

While a POD system is on everyone's list of things to do it has caused a great deal of discussion and the odd heated debate or two because too many systems needed to significant change how we work with you.

After some testing on live projects we have found something that works the way we already do meaning that from Bologna Book Fair this year we will be asking you to sign on your drivers mobile phone when we pick up your boxes. In the hall we'll do the same and if we are leaving your boxes with a contractor or third party we will take a photo as well so you can see where they were left.

Photo's and signatures can be emailed to you on a opt in basis as well as other information that we capture like the weight of each box we collect and delivery. Knowing who signed for your boxes when you get to the stand might just help if you can't instantly see them and remind that person that they did take them from our driver.

The system is able to do plenty of other things as well as take signatures and photos. Each pick up and delivery can be location tagged and if like many of our clients you work with other departments who have different budget lines for a book fair we can provide you with a complete list of everything that was sent to your stand and even send a separate invoice to other departments or individuals.

If you would like to know more about the system or want to see a demo us do let know.