MADRID – Book lovers throughout Spain celebrated ‘Día de las Librerías’ on Saturday, November 11, a day specially dedicated to the appreciation of books and bookstores.
This initiative, by the Spanish Confederation of Bookstore Guilds and Associations (CEGAL), honors the unique charm of bookstores. Furthermore it revives the traditional experience of browsing and purchasing books in physical stores.
Why November 11?
The choice of November 11 for ‘Día de las Librerías’ is not entirely clear, but the tradition began on 11-11-2011. Since then, this day is annually marked with various activities, especially focusing on encouraging local bookstores, notably the independent ones.
Significance for small bookstores
In an era dominated by online sales and giants like Amazon, ‘Día de las Librerías’ holds particular significance for smaller bookshops. It emphasizes their vital role in communities and the importance of preserving these essential establishments in towns and villages.
Across Spain, from Madrid to Zaragoza and from Valencia to Bilbao, bookstores organized diverse activities. In Madrid, events included book presentations, author visits, signings, and lectures, as well as special events for children and young adults. Moreover, many bookstores hosted story sessions, meet & greets with authors, and offered special promotions.
The book market in Spain
According to the “Book Market in Spain 2022” survey, the Spanish book market is witnessing an annual growth of 1.1%. This upward trend spans various genres, with comics and graphic novels leading sales (30%), followed by fiction (29%), children’s and young adult literature (28%), and illustrated books (4%). Madrid has notably seen a 7% increase in book sales in 2022 compared to the previous year.
Reading trends in Spain
The “Barometer of Reading and Book Purchasing Habits in Spain 2022,” by the Federation of Publishers (FGEE), reveals that 35.2% of Spaniards seldom or never read, citing reasons like lack of time, interest, or preference for other forms of entertainment such as series or films. Nearly a third of the population also prefers spending their free time on activities other than reading, such as walking or resting.