September 21, 2020

The keys to an atypical Sant Jordi, in full confinement by COVID-19



Catalonia will live next April 23 an atypical Diada de Sant Jordi with empty streets and closed bookstores, although many events have been prepared through the networks and also online books and roses can be purchased.

These are the ten keys, as a guide, to keep in mind during a traditionally festive day marked this time by the state of alarm and house confinement due to the COVID-19 crisis.

1- WHEN IS SANT JORDI CELEBRATED THIS YEAR? APRIL 23TH? JULY 23? TWO DAYS?

This year the Catalan Chamber of Books and the Guild of Florists and the flower sector of Catalonia have agreed to celebrate Book and Rose Day on Thursday, July 23, due to the health crisis caused by COVID-19, but They have also encouraged to celebrate Sant Jordi from home this Thursday, either buying books through the networks or participating in online activities with writers.

Looking ahead to July it is not yet very clear how the day will be, because it will depend on the sanitary measures that are implemented within three months.

2- WILL THE CALL THAT SANT JORDI OPENED IN BARCELONA BE CELEBRATED?

Every year, on the eve of Sant Jordi, a proclamation by a writer is celebrated in Barcelona. This year, the guest was the Iranian Marjane Satrapi, comic author known for works such as “Persepolis” or “Chicken with plums”, but the event has been suspended and in its place Biblioteques de Barcelona will offer a Dialogue on the afternoon of the 22nd de Sant Jordi, between the writer and journalist Empar Moliner and the critic Julià Guillamon through Instagram.

3- WILL THE LIBRARIES OPEN ON APRIL 23?

Contrary to other countries such as Germany or Italy, the decree of the state of alarm approved by the Government prevents bookstores from opening their doors, since they are not included in the list of establishments that can serve the public.

However, next Thursday whoever wants to maintain the tradition of buying a book will be able to do so in two types of establishments that Royal Decree 465/2020, which modifies the state of alarm, allows them to be open: press and stationery. They can also do it in some supermarkets, but readers will have to settle, yes, with the titles they have stored, because the distributors stopped operating weeks ago.

There have been editorials that advocate the “adoption” of a bookstore to mitigate the blow, in a day in which more than 22 million euros are usually billed and 1.64 million copies are sold.

4- WHERE CAN YOU BUY THE BOOKS?

The easiest and most comfortable way to acquire books is through the Internet, where there will be greater availability of copies and titles. Amazon, Abacus, Casa del Libro, FNAC, El Corte Inglés, Libelista, agapea.com or todostuslibros.com are some of the platforms where you can buy the book, whether in paper, digital or audio format. In the first case, some of these companies can make an almost immediate delivery.

The purchase can also be made from the websites of some publishers, which redirect the transaction to the same platforms.

In this atypical day, the contradictions of the sector have emerged, with bookstores that bet on platforms such as Libelista to sell their works, others that offer the titles on their website and are favorable to deferred purchase, and large chains that will send, as always, the books to the houses.

5- WILL THE BOOKS BE PAID WHEN ORDERING THE PURCHASE OR CAN THE PAYMENT BE POSTPONED UNTIL THE BOOK ARRIVES?

In general, payment is made at the time of accepting the purchase of the book electronically. Many of the initiatives have been carried out with the aim of mitigating what it means for the entire book and publishing sector that Sant Jordi cannot be held on the street and under normal conditions, and especially bookstores have been taken into account. , considered the weakest link in the chain, so that an effort has been made to encourage the purchase of books in advance, such as the so-called “Llibreries obertes”, which has already managed to raise more than 500,000 euros.

6- IS IT POSSIBLE THAT THE BOOK MAY BE REACHED BY HOME DELIVERY ON THE SAME DAY 23-A?

The books can arrive on the 23rd at the homes of individuals, although a platform such as Libelista, a network of independent bookstores, which offer their digital sales service, has already warned that due to the large volume of orders these days, They can ensure that those made from April 14 arrive on the same day.

On the other hand, there are bookstores such as Barcelona’s Sendak and Atzavara, Argonauta de Balaguer (Lleida), Librerío de la Plata de Sabadell and La Capona de Tarragona that are on this platform but will not send books home until the state has passed alarm.

7-WILL IT BE THE TIME OF THE EBOOK?

The closing of bookstores and the decrease in the sale of paper books has triggered the sale of ebooks and other electronic formats such as the audiobook during the confinement, and in parallel the publishers have intensified the publication of their books in these new formats.

The Nubico book subscription platform has confirmed that the consumption of digital reading in Spanish households has doubled, the total number of books read has increased by 32% and the use of the digital reading service by 30%.

Kobo by Fnac has revealed that in the first fortnight of confinement the consumption of digital readers or eReaders increased in Spain by 140% compared to the same period in 2019.

8-THE DIGITAL DEDICATION, AN ALTERNATIVE FOR CONFINED READERS

The scene of long queues of readers and followers crowding around the booths in Sant Jordi on the hunt for an autograph stamped on the book by the authors will be replaced this year by an almost apocalyptic image, with the Ramblas, Paseo de Gracia and Plaza de Cataluña empty, but an alternative has been opened, the digital dedication.

Grupo Planeta has not wanted to give up the signatures and has requested a dedication from more than 200 authors, which can be downloaded free of charge at Planetadelibros.com along with the start of their respective books to encourage their purchase when the confinement ends. Among these firms, one can ‘collect’ autographs from Almudena Grandes, Santiago Posteguillo, Javier Cercas, Manuel Vilas, Elvira Lindo, Dolores Redondo or Karlos Arguiñano.

9- WILL THERE BE A LIST OF BEST SELLING AUTHORS IN SANT JORDI?

The traditional list of best-selling authors in Sant Jordi, published by the Catalan Booksellers’ Guild, presented according to the language (Catalan and Spanish) or genre (fiction, non-fiction, children-youth) that has not rarely raised suspicions and controversies will not be released, as announced by the Guild of Booksellers, although they will make public the assessment of the day.

Some platforms such as Amazon, todostuslibros.com, Casa del Libro, Fnac, Abacus or El Corte Inglés do however disclose their best-selling books.

10- HAVE EVENTS AND CAMPAIGNS RELATED TO BOOK DAY BEEN ORGANIZED TO FOLLOW FROM THE HOUSES?

The Catalan Booksellers’ Guild has proposed that the action #llibresalaire be carried out at 12 noon and 6 pm on Thursday.

An appeal for everyone who wants to go out to windows, terraces, roofs, patios or balconies and read aloud a text to end a cry that says the name of the usual bookstore of each of the participants .

Also, among other initiatives, one of @SantJordiaCasa stands out, so that the children set up their own ‘stalls’ or ‘booths’ in a corner of their houses and take a photograph with them, which will be published on Twitter and Instragram.

Irene Dalmases / Jose Oliva

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