Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association executive director Deb Leonard is warning publishers planning to exhibit at this year’s Heartland Fall Forum in Minneapolis to beware of a scam targeting them.

“There is a company, Fair Guide, that has been soliciting publishers to register for an exhibitor directory for the regional trade shows,” she informed PW in an e-mail. “This directory does not exist.”

Fair Guide offers a free listing in their mythical directory, but in the fine print located at the bottom of the letter, Fair Guide states that the cost to publish any information filled out by the recipient on the order form included with the letter costs $1,877. Also, while the return address of Fair Guide listed on the envelope is Naperville, Illinois, the headquarters of the company listed in the fine print on the letter itself is Bratislava, Slovakia.

Leonard says that GLiBA received a letter from Fair Guide this year, informing the regional association that it must update its listing in the exhibitor directory. She is concerned that, with the turnover in recent years in executive directors at GLiBA and at the Midwest Booksellers Association, as well as the two regional booksellers organizations’ new combined trade show this fall (the Heartland Fall Forum), midwestern publishers might be more susceptible than they would be otherwise to this scam. Letters from Fair Guide have been received for the past several years by publishers all over the country.

“There’s been a change of names, and publishers are busy,” she explained, “We’re trying to inform all of our vendors, because I’m afraid they might be duped.”