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Random House calls off its annual Frankfurt party

In yet another sign of financial turmoil, Random House parent company Bertelsmann has cancelled its annual Frankfurt Book Fair soiree “ long a staple of the fall publishing calendar, and the one Frankfurt party everyone seemed to be invited to. From Publishers Weekly:

A spokesperson for the publisher issued a statement saying that “this course of action is consistent with our not hosting any corporate social events this spring at the LBF or BEA. We’ve been informing many of our longstanding invited international guests of our intention, and while disappointed, they are unsurprised and respectful of our decision. Random House will explore other Frankfurt Book Fair social-event opportunities in future years.”

Besides being one of the largest Frankfurt get togethers, the lavish, fully catered party was a great opportunity to skip dining in one of the city’s overpriced bistros, at least according to journalist Gideon Lewis-Kraus, whose recent Harper’s essay about last year’s fair referred to the gathering as “the last Bertelsmann party ever”:

It’s hard to concentrate in the glare from the hot, glowing mauve-jelly projections on the walls and the crowd around us is stuffing itself on dry roast beef and lake sushi. People are really digging in. [British publisher Patrick] Janson-Smith looks around and says with disgust that some of these people aren’t even going to go out for a proper dinner; they’re just going to eat their fill here. You can tell from how much people seem to be enjoying their buffet food that it’s got to be a pretty heavily umlauted crowd.