The shelves corresponding to the letter G are emptier than usual. The bookstores are seeing how all the copies of Almudena Grandes and her partner, the writer Luis García Montero, are sold out at an unusual speed. "It was crazy, we only have one left," says the head of the narrative plant at La Central, in Madrid. Refers to a volume of Doctor García's patients that decorates a small shelf on the stairs next to a photo of the author. To be filled. But the bookseller estimates that in a matter of hours they will sell that last straggler and will officially run out of stock.
The great international congestion of trade delays and makes paper books more expensive
Grandes passed away last Saturday at the age of 61 as a result of cancer. Although she had been ill for a year, she broke the news a month before her death. This quick denouement surprised his followers and booksellers, who saw how people took all his work in one go. "It usually happens every time an author dies, but not at these levels," acknowledges the La Central worker.
Taking a walk through large areas, which tend to have more arsenal, the same is observed. This Saturday at the FNAC they dedicated an exclusive section to Almudena Grandes. There you could find your Episodes of an endless war, but also his first books, such as The ages of Lulu or Malena is a tango name. None of that remains. Just a few softcover copies and two volumes of Kisses on bread, that María, a worker from the center, tells that they were hidden between the shelves.
"I had never seen anything like this, we have sold out both hardcover and softcover," says the young shop assistant. Looking in his database, he observes that he has nothing left of Almudena and only three books by Luis García Montero, "some poetry and one pocket book." In The House of the Book, a copy of The Jules Verne Reader face the buyer in an empty shelf as a warning: more can be ordered, but it will take days.
It is not just a perception of readers and some bookstores in the capital. The Tusquets publishing house, which has the rights to most of Almudena Grandes' works, confirms it: "It is being overwhelming," they say from the Planeta-owned label. "People want to buy the book that was missing or the last one that came out, Frankenstein's mother"For them it is" a posthumous gesture of affection. "They do not yet have absolute figures, but bookstores throughout Spain are already begging them for more copies.
The other phenomenon, also edited by Tusquets, is Completely fridayby Luis García Montero. The anthology of poems written between 1994 and 1997 and dedicated to Almudena Grandes is completely sold out. The publisher is clear why: it was the book that García Montero introduced yesterday at Almudena Grandes's grave during her burial. A sad gesture of love that was documented by all the televisions in the country and that has had an effect on sales.
Online sales have experienced the same phenomenon as physical bookstores. On Amazon, the latest Almudena Grandes books have wait times of up to 1 and 2 months. Complete poetry, by Luis García Montero, is number one in the category of poetic anthologies and will not be available for another 2 to 5 weeks. "It seems little to me," says the clerk at La Central. They have waiting lists of up to 15 days and do not know if they will arrive in time by then.
In addition to the high demand, the paper crisis adds to the perfect storm. "To manufacture custom paper the waiting time is about three months", revealed a few weeks ago Norma Editorial, one of the main ones affected by the shortage of this raw material. In addition, another element must be taken into account: chaos in shipping, which according to the United Nations represents around 80% of the goods consumed all over the world.
The Tusquets publishing house assumes that they will have to reprint and issue new editions of all those copies of which there is a shortage. However, they are unable to make a commercial assessment of the paper problem. They prefer to stay with the underlying message, with "all the people who are turning to Almudena and Luis" after the great loss.