The publishing industry in Spain celebrated World Book Day, a little later this year due to the event being postponed from the original date (23 April) because of confinement. Readers in Spain had the opportunity to participate in activities organized in bookstores in addition to receiving a discount of up to 10%. The publishing industry leads the cultural sector in our country and according to the Federation of Publishers’ Guilds of Spain, the number of people who read on a weekly basis has increased by 7% since the beginning of the lockdown.
We take a look at some of the events that took place:
Despite the suspension of the traditional Sant Jordi by the government on 23 April – a celebration that attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors every year to Barcelona and the rest of Catalonia, as well as boosting book sales – the special celebration on 23 July had a third of the stalls in front of the bookshops and flower shops. This year, white flowers were included as a symbol of hope and some book signings were also maintained (with limited capacity and prior appointment, as well as the obligation to wear face masks).
A man walks along Las Ramblas in Barcelona with a traditional Sant Jordi rose. Photo: EFE/EPA/Quique Garcia
Madrid promoted some initiatives such as eBiblio (10,000 books and 4,000 free films) as well as the Virtual Reading Clubs, with the collaboration of writers such as Lorenzo Silva and Javier Moro. Some literary recommendations from various publishers have also been published and the platform todostuslibros.com (support website for Spanish bookstores) has been recommended for book purchases. On Book Day, it was possible to enjoy books abroad, as well as in Barcelona
Palma, Inca and Santa Maria set up Llibreries a la fresca, as well as the Trescant llibreries initiatives which allowed readers to get a stamp for every book purchase in the bookstores that are part of the publishers guild. Each reader who collected five stamps on a map entered into a draw that will take place in November and will have the possibility to win a collection of books. In addition, there were ten exhibitors throughout the capital and writers such as Laura Gost and Helena Tur took part.
The Guild of Booksellers of Valladolid collaborated with the city council to launch the campaign ‘Ten un libro a mano y te sorprenderás’, which was promoted with posters by the illustrator Oscar del Amo. During Book Day, readers enjoyed a 10% discount in addition to the possibility of accumulating vouchers from the Valladolid Comercio Próximo campaign (€10 for each voucher downloaded the day before and applicable to purchases over €10).
A man reads in the plaza of the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid. Photo: EFE/ Mariscal
More than thirty bookstores in Zaragoza offered discounts to celebrate Book Day, while authors such as Clara Fuentes, Sandra Andrés and Julio Gracia Lana signed books at the Albareda bookstore, Central bookstore and El Armadillo Ilustrado
Santander City Council also set up a one-way open-air circuit around Plaza de Alfonso XIII that included streets stalls at each bookstore, with safety measures such as temperature controls, hand sanitiser and doormats that disinfectant visitors footwear on entry..
We must also mention the campaign TodoEmpiezaEnUnaLibrería (#TotComençaEnUnaLibreria in Catalan, #DenaHastenDaLiburudendam in Basque and #TodoComezaNunhaLibraría in Galician) that have been promoting the importance of bookstores since 1 June. This initiative has been joined by writers, well-known personalities in the media and cultural circuit, booksellers, publishers and readers, the Ministry of Culture, RENFE, CEDRO and Atresmedia.
The Ministry of Culture and Sport is also working on the ‘Books from Spain’ portal with the collaboration of the Directorate-General of Books and the Promotion of Reading, Spanish Cultural Action and the Federation of Publishers’ Guilds of Spain. It is also looking forward to the Frankfurt Book Fair, the most important event in the publishing world, where Spain will be the guest of honour in 2022. It already has 97 publishers and publishing agencies to promote the sale of translation rights of Spanish books in all official languages.