The Chicago Tribune has bought the Printers Row Book Fair, the 18-year-old Chicago book fair that earlier this year attracted more than 75,000 people. Owen Youngman, the Tribune's v-p of development, said the paper aims "to invest in the fair in ways that cement its importance in both the city and the community." Tribune literary editor Elizabeth Taylor added, "We respect the fair's tradition and are committed to maintaining its character. We hope to build on the fair's success by attracting even more writers and idea makers."
The Tribune bought the fair from the Near South Planning Board, a not-for-profit community organization that founded the fair in 1985 as a way to bring people to South Chicago. This year's two-day fair occupied five blocks in the Printers Row neighborhood, drew 170 booksellers who sold new, used and antiquarian books, and included 80 free literary programs held on six stages.
The Tribune's parent company, the Tribune Company, owns the Los Angeles Times, which runs the wildly successful Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. Asked about a connection between organizers of that show and the Printers Row Book Fair, Patty Wetli, Tribune manager of communications, told PW, "I'm sure we've spoken to folks in Los Angeles about their book fair," but added that she doesn't think the interaction between the two fairs will be significant. Rather than make the Printers Row Book Fair like the Festival of Books, Wetli noted, the Tribune mostly wants to attract "bigger names to literary events" and more booksellers and attendees while maintaining "the neighborhood feel" of the event.
The 2003 Printers Row Book Fair is scheduled for June 7—8.