good for the big ones, bad for the little ones

The director of the Madrid Book Fair, Manuel Gil, has communicated this Sunday morning, the last day of the Madrid Book Fair, that "within the framework of a recovery of the sector and cultural industries, the Fair it went reasonably well. " The data provided are: 384,000 visitors, 1,700 invited authors or events or signing, and some 4,700 signature sessions, of which 40% have been carried out by authors. "The measurement we have made indicates that sales are at 9.1 million euros and this would mean a 10% decrease over the 2019 figures."

Madrid Book Fair: "We are overwhelmed"

Madrid Book Fair: "We are overwhelmed"

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However, the "essentially good" figures hide serious inequalities. Gil acknowledges that "there have been big differences in profits between the big bookstores and publishers and the smaller ones". For the director, this is justified by the fact that "what you pay is having a good brand or a broad community behind it. There is no other." When the authors best seller They bet on signing only in large bookstores or in their large publishers harms the rest for various reasons. Pedro Bermejo, from the El Buscón bookstore, explains that "the atmosphere of the weekend, with so much signature, is being terrible for our numbers. The capacity limitation is even more reduced because the lines of signatures than since the second end of week they are made outside, they count as if these people were inside ". And he adds that "readers who are not fans, fans or groupis of its authors, do not wait an hour and a half outside the enclosure to enter ".

Bermejo makes two proposals on how the large firms could be managed without harming "the most modest": "The Pérez Reverte and the Gómez Jurado (who both have done so) should sign in the central pavilion or directly in a space It is also more democratic (and considerate of small bookstores) because readers can buy the book anywhere, not in the place that has gotten that signature. " Laura Sandoval, from the Hoja de Lata publishing house, is very happy with the reception of her readers and their good sales numbers, but she also accuses the queues of taking away visibility from the rest of the booths and of creating "specific plugs of people in areas and, in others, considerable gaps ". His booth companion, Alejandro Rodríguez from the Contra publishing house, assures that more has been sold on Thursdays because there are no important signatures in other booths.

The Fair had to be held because it was a first and necessary contact but it has been very poorly designed. They have not thought about it so that we all do the same

Victor Saenz-Diez
- Pumpkin Seed Editor

Returning to the words of the director of the Book Fair: "What you pay is having a good brand or a broad community behind it. There is no other." And yes, if there are other (s). There are more variables that determine that a Fair is a bestseller at a particular level: the place where the booth "touches". It is not the same sun or shade (in summer) as it is not the same to be near the entrance of the Eugenio Trías Library (which is where most people access) or in the penultimate of the row. This year a black hole was added: the islet of houses in the center.

The invisible zone

Gil acknowledges: "It is true that those of the famous island, sales have fared much worse. When we located the Fair in a closed area of ​​450 meters we had to make a decision: either we relocated in a rational way or we excluded people." So it was preferred to "invent" an island of huts rather than "leave out". But how did you decide who would be in it? Gil explains it like this: "It was a studied decision and we put publishers of small catalogs and those that have the need to meet with other publishers on the island." The choice of the place was not by lottery, but rather the Fair marked the "experimental space" for small publishers. "It does not make the same noise as the Context group (Asteroid, Nordic, Impedimenta, Peripheral and Sixth Floor) or Planet do badly in a new place that we, in short, we are nobody for them, but yes, we pay the rent like the big ones ", recognizes one of the editors located in the" famous island ".

If the queues of tiktokers continue to prevent other types of readers from entering and watching calmly, they will not see us here again

Cesar Sanchez
- Editor of Fulgencio Pimentel

Víctor Sáenz-Díez is editor of Pepitas de Calabazas and has shared a booth with Fulgencio Pimentel for years. "The Fair has been rare and a kind of directed optimism has prevailed, with a speech everything has gone well and we are recovering, although it has not been like that. As it is necessary to pretend that it has gone well by brand image", he says Sáenz-Díez from his booth on the islet. "The Fair had to be held because it was a first and necessary contact but it has been designed very poorly. They have not thought about it so that we all do the same." César Sánchez, patron of Fulgencio Pimentel, assures that "if next year a closed fair is held again, they will not see our hair. tiktokers they continue to prevent other types of readers from entering and look calmly, they will not see us here again. "

Other booksellers wonder: "But what sanitary measures have been taken if there are thousands of adolescents two hours waiting for the youtuber? When an open space was needed, large and the air running ... they closed it and plant capacity. "The Santander bookstore in the Aluche neighborhood is one of those that is making a severe effort to maintain the booth at the Fair and," with the textbook campaign in the bookstore. "They are happy to meet another year in El Retiro but say that September is a regular month to open a booth because they have" immense work with school books. " box in El Retiro "is not being anywhere near that of other years."

There are booksellers like Fernando Valverde and Enrique Tapia from the Jarcha Bookstore who are happy because "although it was not what it could have been," they are happy "with the influx of people and especially with the reunion." Valverde and Tapia consider that "the organization has done quite well with how complicated it was to mount an event like this under these circumstances." They hope that the next Fair can develop normally, and that the time and capacity not limited will accompany it. Next stop: May 27, 2022.


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