Miguel Barrero: "The educational textbook has become a political commodity" | Culture

Miguel Barrero: "The educational textbook has become a political commodity" | Culture

He has just reached the presidency of the Federation of the Publishers' Guild from the direction of the educational area of ​​the Santillana Foundation, in which he continues to carry out his tasks. He is a specialist in educational publishing trends, from methodology to technology, knows the evolution of the book in teaching and says he wants to take the book and reading to a leading role in society. It comes with many plans to help medium-sized publishers in foreign trade and for publishers to be strong in Brussels, with intellectual property. Also, want to create a feasibility plan with booksellers. It is serene and temperate, open to the future and aware of the difficulties that the sector has to reach the new reader.

Question: What does the editorial sector urgently need?

Answer: Find readers. There is one thing that worries me a lot: to gain weight in the generations in which the book does not have as much presence as in the previous ones, educated in a different imaginary. The book, for the youngest, demands attention and concentration, attitudes that are not fashionable. We must have a lot of ambition in the search for that reader.

Young people are not going to any bookstore, so we'll have to go to where they are

P. How are they going to do it?

R. Publishers must be superactive where they are. They're not going to any bookstore, so we'll have to go where they are.

Q. Do you think that the sector you represent has turned away from bookstores at the worst moment?

R. We have not ignored the booksellers. The Federation is committed to helping to make an action plan to help bookstores. They will have our support to get out of this situation they are in, which is very delicate.

Q. Any specific measure?

A. We are willing to sit down with the booksellers and distributors to create a viability plan for the bookstores. The editors need the booksellers and their bookstores. But I also think that they need to reinterpret themselves and evolve towards the construction of a space in which you have a reading experience.

Q. What causes have led to the bookstores?

R. Partly, for the free textbooks. We are not against gratuitousness, but the autonomic free programs have provoked and will cause the closing of many bookstores. I do not understand that direct aid has not been established based on the income of the families. The textbook has become a political commodity. That's why I think we should let our skin support the neighborhood bookstores, the neighborhood bookstores. They are not background bookstores, but in them you always find something more than the best-seller.

Q. And the catalog of the bookstores in the background?

R. One of the cultural heritages of this country is the living editorial catalog. You have to protect it.

Q. Do you think that catalog grows too much each year? Do you produce excessively?

R. We say that we produce a lot, but if you check the number of thousands of titles published per year, you will find the diverse reality of this country. Last year 87,000 titles were published, of which 21,000 are not in Spanish, due to the country's linguistic plurality; 19,000 are non-university books, typical of each educational plan of the 17 communities; 13,000 are infantile; 7,000, technical book; and 16,000 are literature. The edition figure is a logical consequence of the Spanish editorial diversity.

Q. Do you understand when booksellers complain about excessive news?

It is necessary to put in value the book, without facing it with the videojuegos, the social networks or the series

A. I understand that it causes problems at the point of sale due to the constant arrival of new products and also creates a problem for the consumer, who suffers when assuming the volume of novelty. But the habitual reader does know what he wants, has the ability to choose. The occasional reader, no, because it is sporadic.

Q. What worries you most about the results of the reading barometer that you have developed?

R. That more than 30% do not read because they are not interested in reading. It does not give them shame to say it either. That is one of the great challenges that lie ahead: persuade. We must encourage the value of reading itself. This is why this sector must strive to get readers, because there are more and more entertainment offers and less demanding. It is necessary to put in value the book, without facing it with the videojuegos, the social networks or the series. Simply, valuing the silence, concentration and intimate time that reading offers.

Q. What does reading offer to Netflix?

R. Imagination, knowledge and diversity. Rest, rest, concentration and a certain peace. In these moments everything is too fast and the consumption is urgent. We have to position the book in the new citizen, who consumes leisure and culture in different ways.

I think that bookstores need to be reinterpreted and evolve

Q. How should the new publisher of the new citizen be?

A. I am not very clear about evolution, but must communicate its proposals with languages ​​and in the digital world. I'm not saying that we acquire digital narratives, but that we learn to move and introduce the product in that environment. Now we can meet our readers.

Q. And how do you think the readers are?

R. The reader is a better citizen. Reading allows the creation of a better citizenship. Reading is the best medicine for concord and serenity. And we are in a very tense and less well-founded world. Reading is an essential basis for good citizenship, to improve social progress, to create a more critical spirit. Reading is the key to educating the citizen.

Q. However, the price of the book grows and access is limited, how will you do to bring the book to the less favored?

R. The library is a key tool in this regard. And librarians are essential professionals in the formation of the habit of reading, just like teachers. In fact, both in libraries and in schools, much more is done by reading among our young people than in families. We publishers must promote other cheaper formats and in that sense digital reading is a good access route.

Q. We have talked about the contribution of reading to the citizen, but what about the publisher what contributes to society?

Reading allows the creation of a better citizenship. Reading is the best medicine for concord and serenity

R. We are the most important cultural industry in this country. The editors look at us in a very reductionist way, because we are not only entrepreneurs with cultural products. We are cultural agents. The editor converts a manuscript into a product, which makes it reach society. We provide diversity and cultural creation. The editor is very identified with what he does, is a committed professional, with a focus of tension between the search for profitability and cultural excellence. That is why it is a market more of supply than of demand, because they are bets that the publisher launches.

Q. In the barometer it is said that 70% of digital readers consume without paying.

R. This topic irritates me a lot. The piracy rates are alarming. It is a lack of respect for the authorship and the rights of the creators. The idea that it is not lawful to make a living as a creator is widespread. At a dinner you meet people who boast of having a hard drive full of free books. It is also widespread among young people.

Q. Does it not strike you that your position has never been represented by a woman?

R. Not only does my attention grab, but when I leave I want to give the job to a woman. The weight of women in the edition is the majority and we must make a change in the institutions and make way for women.


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