The world of the book meets again from this Friday in the Retirement park in the 80th edition of the Book Fair of Madrid, which will be inaugurated by the Queen Letizia, a highly anticipated event by booksellers, publishers, writers and readers after two and a half years and that will be held with capacity control by the pandemic.
For weeks the installation work of the 320 booths that will occupy the Parque del Retiro in Madrid from tomorrow, Friday 10, until Sunday 26 September. Last year it could not be held at the Retiro (it was an online fair) and in this edition it was delayed from June to September due to health forecasts.
With a daily capacity of 3,900 people, a total attendance of 300,000 visitors is expected, who will be able to walk through the booths and attend the book signing of their favorite authors or the talks and a multitude of scheduled activities, including those organized by Colombia, which is the guest of honor this year.
In all areas of the book sector The fair is faced with great hope and several managers consulted agree that the fact that it can be held is already very good news.
This is what the president of the Federation of Publishers Guilds of Spain (FGEE) assures Efe, Patrici Tixis: “We are confident that this fair will be a success. The fact that it can be held again is something we should be happy about.”
And although it develops with sanitary restrictions, “It will continue to be the space where readers meet writers and their books, also in a place that already has a total connection with the letters, such as the Retiro park, “said Tixis.
However, Enrique Pascual, president of the Madrid Libraries Guild, considers that a mistake would be made if they tried to compare the data from this year’s fair with those of previous editions because, they are not the same dates nor will there be the same number of visitors. “But it’s going to be fine, good numbers are going to be done“, especially for exhibitors, publishers and booksellers, who rely on their catalog rather than large firms.
Pablo Bonet, secretary of the Madrid Libraries Guild explains how they are looking forward to the first weekend to meet the public, although he acknowledges that there is some caution because the maximum capacity allowed means that sales do not reach the figures of other editions. “But we hope it’s a good fair“, he insists.
For Belén López Celada, editorial director of Planeta, Ariel, Crítica and Peninsula, the fact of being able to celebrate the Book Fair is great news: “It is an opportunity that will help many booksellers to balance their accounts. The Fair facilitates contact between authors, readers, booksellers and publishers, and this gives us a lot of information and charges our batteries“, he tells Efe.
However, he adds, the restrictions due to the pandemic have limited one author signing in each booth instead of two, which reduces the number of writers who will be able to do so: “A great effort has been made to accommodate as many as possible. of authors, placing signatures during the week and establishing new signature time slots. In this way we have achieved that the reduction of authors in signing is only between 15 to 20 percent compared to a prepandemic year. ”
It will be a different fair, acknowledges the general editor of Siruela, Ofelia Grande: the change of dates from June to September, capacity restrictions, reducing the size of the path … But this challenge, which has been enormous for booksellers, publishers, distributors and institutions “has not diminished the enthusiasm” with which they all come. We will have to wait until the end to see the volume of sales, but the fair is not only that, since it is one of the great cultural events in Madrid, he adds.
From tomorrow, Colombia will disembark in Madrid as a guest country at the Book Fair, of which the Colombian poet will deliver the opening conference Dario Jaramillo and that the president of the country, Iván Duque, will visit.
Among the many activities that make up the fair will also be tributes to Carmen Laforet or Emilia Pardo Bazán.