Posts Tagged ‘book fairs’
After 25 years of spending Thanksgiving weekend at the Guadalajara International Book Fair (FIL), it still surprises and overwhelms a veteran bibliographer. This, the most important book event in the Spanish-speaking world, will host over 100 U.S. librarians and countless other profesionales del libro for 10 days.
Intense airport-like security did not deter the many book enthusiasts who crowded the domestic and international aisles on opening day. Commenting on the traffic jams caused by the visit of Israel’s foreign minister, a local taxista noted that he preferred it all than to blame Mexico if anything were to happen to anyone in the VIP delegation representing this year’s FIL featured country. Ya con los narcos es suficiente, alluding to the constant drug-related violence that gives Mexico negative publicity abroad.
This year FIL housed an active space for e-books with on-going presentations showcasing the latest electronic products. Will Mexican publishers sign-on this year? Indeed, Mexico lags behind Spain, Argentina, Colombia and Chile in e-book production. A vendor visiting FIL for the first time was amazed at the variety of publishers not yet available digitally, “I have lots of work awaiting me,” he confessed. We in the academic sector also await a more robust and stable digital content that our eager users expect. Even when the not so eager cling to paper, “los ebooks han llegado para quedarse,” said a fellow Mexican colleague. As they claim a growing presence in our bibliographic holdings, the challenge remains: how to archive them and make them available for future users.
The independent press seemed better represented than in previous years. In addition to the collective stand of Mexico’s “indies,” La Furia del Libro (which we had noted in late 2012) was included in the Chilean stand. Likewise, Colombia’s independent publishers were both at the collective national stand and had their own booth (also noted in an earlier posting this year).
Costa Rica, Ecuador and Peru had larger spaces than in previous years while Spain’s traditionally strong collective stand covered only a fraction of the country’s publishing output, a tangible sign of that country’s ongoing financial crisis. A colleague lamented the fact that Central America’s 2012 highly visible stand was no longer present, only Guatemala appeared to have a small booth.
Aisle “A” with multiple children’s literature offerings could attract the young and not so young. And Mexico’s rich culinary tradition was highlighted in books on chiles rellenos from UNAM’s academic press, to a taco encyclopedia or a glossy book from Artes de Mexico, with a dust jacket suggesting anything but cocina mexicana!
Sometimes surprising finds were unexpected. While waiting for a colleague at the Argentine stand the iconic Mother of the Plaza de Mayo on a book cover caught my attention. Indeed, it was an award-winning children’s book: Abuelas con identidad.
With an overwhelming series of events (conferences, book signings, concerts, etc) often the conversations were just starting to reach a high point when some arrived with a reminder that only a few minutes were left. Such was the case with a discussion of Cartas transpacíficas, an epistolary dialogue among two great public figures, the Lozoya brothers, one a diplomat educated in the US and the other a medical doctor who studied in the Soviet Union. “Tell them we’ll stay for their session and buy their book,” joked one of the panelists when told that the next group (in)patiently waited outside.
The exhibit Hebraica Texts at the Palafoxiana Libray, gathered unique treasures in honor of Israel as FIL’s featured country. The accompanying catalogue provided a window into the rich and unique holdings of Puebla’s noted rare book library.
Even outside the exhibit halls there were other book-related events. A group of bookarts supporters took a FIL break one afternoon to enjoy an exhibit of artist books. Favor de tocar showcased over 100 handcrafted books, product of a series of workshops hosted by Lia: Libro de Artista, a local collective of artists, printers and students of the art of the book.
FIL was to continue for several more days but an expected last minute excursion to the Instituto Cultural Cabañas closed my yearly visit to Guadalajara. Israeli photographer Gael de Cohen’s Amen presented 30 powerful images of Judaism, Christianity and Islam through the lives of ordinary Jerusalem citizens, all with an accompanying text that included the word Peace.
Only a few doors down the hall Pintando la Educación showed 40 paintings from a variety of Mexican artists used to illustrate school textbooks. I still remember the emblematic cover of the patria from my elementary school days in Northern Mexico.
You can see images from a photo album by Mexican librarian Jesus Lau. Spain’s daily El Pais also provided special FIL-2013 coverage.
Adan Griego, Stanford University Libraries
BookExpo no es la feria más apropiada para un bibliotecario latinoamericanista. Destinos como las ferias del libro de Guadalajara, Buenos Aires y Bogotá son mucho más fructíferos para encontrar nuevos títulos, conectar con editores y familiarizarse con nuevas tendencias en la industria editorial latinoamericana.
Este año, BookExpo nos ofrecía algo de interés. Su “Global Market Forum” se centraba en la industria editorial mexicana. Esta ocasión ofrecía una excelente oportunidad para dialogar sobre la situación actual del libro mexicano en la feria del libro más importante de Estados Unidos de América. El programa se presentaba bajo el lema “Reading México”
El programa de conferencias tuvo lugar el 29 de Mayo. Se comenzó ofreciendo un panorama de la industria editorial mexicana. Interesantes los datos ofrecidos por Roberto Banchik Rothschild (Random House Mondadori): el 70% de las ventas de libros se concentran en seis editoriales globales: Planeta, Santillana, Oceano, Random House Mondadori, Ediciones B y Urano. Al 30% restante, se dedicó la siguiente sesión centrada en editoriales independientes mexicanas representadas por editores con diversos años de experiencia en el oficio: Marcelo Uribe (Ediciones Era), Diego Rabasa (Sexto Piso) y Guillermo Quijas (Almadía). En algún momento de la charla, se señaló que la media de títulos publicados por una editorial independiente mexicana ronda los 25. Esta cifra me hizo reflexionar sobre la inexistencia de al menos una copia de estos libros en las bibliotecas estadounidenses. Estamos hablando de pocos títulos. Por lo tanto, esto no es un problema de fondos para su adquisición como de una necesidad de una mejor coordinación y un aumento de los programas de desarrollo de colecciones cooperativos.
Dos de las sesiones de la tarde se dedicaron a la cadena del libro y a proyectos digitales. Con respecto al primer tema, se habló de todo el proceso de producción y distribución. Me resultó sorprendente que no se tratara la cuestión de la distribución de libros electrónicos desde México al resto del mundo. Me pregunto si esto significa que la única manera de conseguir libros electrónicos mexicanos será a través de las grandes compañías que ofrecen servicios bibliotecarios en Estados Unidos (EBSCO, Proquest-Ebrary- , Overdrive) o especializadas en libros en español u otras lenguas como Casalini y Digitalia. ¿Se puede permitir el ecosistema del libro mexicano el lujo de ignorar este eslabón de la cadena del libro? ¿Podrá así sobrevivir su diversidad? ¿Quién distribuirá aquellos libros mexicanos independientes que no sean rentables para las grandes compañías? Preguntas todavía sin respuestas. Durante la sesión dedicada a proyectos digitales, Gustavo Flores presentó una serie de interesantes proyectos en curso concebidos por CONACULTA. Asimismo, Maurits Montañez mostró algunas de las excelentes aplicaciones para dispositivos móviles que ha creado la empresa Manuvo como la versión interactiva del poema “Muerte Sin Fin” de José Gorostiza.
Stand de México en BookExpo 2013
40 editoriales participaron en el stand de México. La sensación subjetiva al pasear por el stand era que la mayor parte de las publicaciones eran de CONACULTA y del Fondo de Cultura Económica. La diversidad de la industria editorial Mexicana se notaba con la presencia de Almadía, Trilce y algunas más pero el número de títulos de las editoriales independientes era exiguo. De todas maneras, es digno de agradecer la presencia de algunas joyitas presentes como la obra “Migrar” de José Manuel Mateo y Javier Martínez Pedro publicado por ediciones Tecolote que narra la experiencia de un niño en su camino migrante a Estados Unidos. Un libro que debería formar parte no sólo de bibliotecas infantiles sino también de bibliotecas académicas. Y la obra “El libro negro de los colores” de Merena Cottin y Rosana Fría publicado también por ediciones Tecolote . Un hermoso libro, todo negro, con dibujos en relieve y que incluye el texto en lenguaje Braille.
University at Albany, SUNY
By the time I arrived in Colombia’s capital for the 2013 Bogotá Book Fair (Filbo) the book festival had already opened its doors to the public, with a group of SALAMistas among those in attendance. A la caza de los libros noted Wisconsin’s Paloma Celis Carbajal as she joined an eager weekend crowd of book enthusiasts.
One of the first stops was Arte Dos Gráfico. Our library already holds a large selection of their artist books, and after a two year absence from the Fair, there were bound to be novedades to enhance ours and the collections of other SALALM libraries.
Thanks to my SALALM colleagues who had already explored the many pabellones, on my first day at the fair I knew I should stop by the aisle housing several independent publishers: Luna, Laguna, and La Silueta that were new to many of us. Their collective output ranged from detective fiction to graphic novels. Along with Tragaluz, they provided a representative sample of quality titles from the independent press.
The ever present e-book could also be found at Filbo, and not just at the “bigigies.” The independents have realized that a new community of readers expects digital content and some of them now sell e-book cards at over 12 bookshops in Bogotá where lectores can buy an e-book and upload it to their laptop, ipad, etc. They are also available for several e-readers. An adventurer SALAMista wanted some detective fiction and bought an e-card on the spot. We hope to hear a report on that experience.
The fair is divided into several pabellones, with some publishers having a presence at all of them, often confusing but also reminding a tired Californian of the variety of Colombia’s publishing output. This year Portugal was the featured country and fair publicity included several allusions to a “sea of books” that “engulfed the reader.”
At one of the booths selling remainders “from the best publishers in the world,” the vendedor seemed certain that my accent was from Spain and asked if I knew the Nobel laureates from the other side of the Atlantic. I named what I could remember (Cela, Benavente and Echegaray) and he asked, “were they any good?” I was tempted to give him the polite version of NPI (no puedo informarle), but opted for “algunos mas que otros.”
Wondering through a sea of books one can find the unexpected, like a cookbook (Cocina criolla cartagenera de Veddá Veddá, OCLC: 757913880) from Transformemos, which has been honored at a culinary contest in Paris, as the radio report notes. An earlier video showcased the proud Cartageneros long before their recetas de cocina were to become an international sensation.
After an exhausting 2 days at the crowded Corferia aisles, a late afternoon excursion to the movies became an adventure through a cartelera dominated by foreign titles, with only one Colombian production that turned out to be the right choice: Roa. The film explores the 1948 killing of a well-known political leader in what became the Bogotazo, that left more than 3,000 dead and ushered in a period of political violence. It’s based on the novel El crimen del siglo and has been reissued with the protagonist on the cover to capitalize on what is certain to become a local hit, which we hope can reach the art house circuit in the United States.
Although he has lived away for many years, Gabriel García Márquez, Colombia’s Nobel laureate, dominates the literary scene and he is being introduced to a new generation of readers via a graphic novel (Gabo memorias de una vida mágica) published simultaneously in Colombia and Spain.
On the last day the weather indicated rain and a visit to Librería Lerner seemed like good way to supplement Filbo’s offering. The Lerner-Norte staff endured the capricious requests of 2 SALAmistas, at times bombarding the knowledgeable Don Willie with an avalanche of non-existent titles: “todas la reinas in the title and published by la gallina ciega,” insisted yours truly. Don Willie patiently looked around and found it, Locas de felicidad (OCLC: 611409632) published by La iguana ciega!
The 2013 Filbo will be open to the public for 14 days. It expects over 400,000 vistors, among them would have been a group of SALALM and REFORMA librarians whose visit was supported by book fair organizers: Cámara Colombiana del Libro and Proexport. The group’s visit was highlighted on the book fair’s blog.
Curator for Iberoamerican Collections
Stanford University Libraries
1) Feria del Libro
2) Hortensia Calvo (Tulane), Teresa Chapa (North Carolina-Chapel Hill), courtesy of Adan Griego
3) E-books, courtesy of Adan Griego
4) Entrance to Portugal’s Pabellón, courtesy of Paloma Celis-Carbajal (Wisconsin)
5) Gabo graphic novel, publisher image.
6) Lerner Book shop staff, courtesy of Adan Griego
7) SALALM librarians, courtesy of Adan Griego
See other images in Facebook
The month of February is shorter this year but it brought plenty of visual stimulation: from the Codex International Artist Book Fair right up to the California Antiquarian Book Fair, with several of the same exhibitors and librarians attending both events.
On the Fair’s opening day private collectors are among the first to arrive looking for one (or several) of the many treasures brought from all over the world, some more affordable than others. This Fair alternates between Los Angeles and San Francisco and one year the rumor was that a Hollywood actor in dark glasses was among those “early birds.”
As librarians, our mission is to document culture in its multiple manifestations. And there we were: Theresa Salazar (Bancroft Library), several other colleagues from as far as England and yours truly, sharing the exhibit hall with SALALM vendors (Alfonso Vijil and Beverly Karno) along with other rare book enthusiasts.
This year there were fewer exhibitors from Europe, mostly from the U.K and Germany, with others from France, Holland and even one from Hungary.
As I made my way through the exhibit hall, I encountered a pristine copy of Album Pintoresco de la Repúbica Mexicana, from a French exhibitor, with a price tag of $30,000 for the original 1850 edition! I asked if I could see it and the vendor was most affable. How can I forget the image of the women making tortillas. Once I had a peculiar reference question: to verify if a similar image by Diego Rivera had a title other than tortilleras. The patron wanted to include it in a textbook to teach Spanish, where the language has to be as neutral as possible and she hoped for another word to reference that culinary art that other visual artists like Carl Nebel captured in their travelogues.
At $1,200 and even $3,500 a copy of the 19th-century California “bandit” Tiburcio Vasquez looked like a bargain! The legendary Californio has been in the news recently after the city of Salinas, birth place of Nobel laureate John Steinbeck, decided to name a school after Vasquez. Interestingly, news headlines used some of the same words from this book: bandit and murderer. Other media venues opted for gang leader, outlaw and even serial killer!
More affordable items could also be found, like Mexican vintage travel brochures for less than $30. Some pamphlets were jointly issued by the National Tourist Council and the railways, while others came from the Pemex Travel Club and were clearly designed to showcase the country’s cultural heritage to tourists. Gone was that 19th century publicity aimed at luring potential foreign investors to mining and agricultural ventures during the Porfiriato when an add referred to the regions of the western sierras as a “sub-tropical Switzerland.”
There were other visually attractive items, like a Spanish Civil War poster. By the last day of the Fair it seemed to have found a home away from the Bolerium Books radical movements collection. From the same period, there was also a display case with several first editions of Hemingway’s novels next to an original matador outfit and photos of the writer and other celebrities at a corrida, clearly when the fiesta brava was considered quite a glamorous event.
Not everything was old, the current can gain new life as unique and rare, like the limited edition portfolio of protest art: Migration NOW, or even a historical map of 1825 North America, reminded us that the region constantly experienced movements of people both North-South and East-West, and this time: North-South.
Adan Griego, Stanford University Libraries.
1) Alfonso Vijil, Theresa Salazar and Clemente Orozco (courtesy of Adan Griego)
2) Beverly Karno and Adan Griego (courtesy of Peter Hanff, Bancroft Library)
3) Las tortilleras (http://brbl-dl.library.yale.edu/vufind/Record/3519047)
4) Tiburcio Vasquez (www.dsloan.com/Auctions/A15/A15Web183-185.htm)
5) Travel posters (courtesy of Adan Griego)
6) Protest prints (http://migrationnow.com/)
When the first Codex Artist Book Fair opened in 2007 it was a bold move, probably questioned by those who saw the future of books in anything but the printed word, much less, those handmade, not matter how artistically crafted. Six years later, opening day for Codex IV experienced such a success that organizers ran out of tickets and had to improvise as the day progressed. An elderly couple wondered what was going on: “it’s a book fair, an artist book fair,” I added, on my way the exhibit hall. They were seen later that day browsing the aisles with almost 200 exhibitors from all over the world.
As in previous years, Europe had the largest contingent but Latin America was well represented with over 10 artists and exhibitors: Mexico alone had eight registered exhibitors. Several of the Latin American artist books are present in many SALALM libraries, like the works of Taller Ditoria from Guadalajara and Catherine Docter from Guatemala. Perhaps less familiar is the cultural production of several other book artists, all of whom have been admired by the more than 4,000 attendees at Codex IV.
Mexico’s varied presence is due in great part to the Codex Foundation’s efforts to reach beyond Western Europe and Anglophone speaking-areas. A recent cultural “encuentro” of California and Mexican book artists was held in several venues: Tequila and Guadalajara (Fall 2011) and Puebla (Summer 2012). That fruitful artistic dialogue has come North. It will soon travel East to our nation’s capital later this Spring at the Mexican Cultural Institute.
Latin America was also present with fellow SALALMista Steven Daiber from Red Trillium Press, who had recently returned from Cuba, also attending from the Caribbean was Consuelo Gotay. Germany’s Eckhard Froeschlin arrived via Matagalpa, Nicaragua. San Francisco’s Luis Delgado Qualtrough and Moving Parts Press augmented Latin America’s presence.
You can check Codex Mexico for more photos of both Codex 2013 and the previous exhibits in Mexico. There will also be updates on the upcoming Washington, DC show that opens in late March and will have a symposium on April 19-20.
See also blog posting from Codex III in 2011.
Adan Griego, Stanford University Libraries.
At 26 you can claim a life of your own and Guadalajara’s 26th International Book Fair (FIL) has certainly lived up to that expectation, having been called the most important book event in the Spanish language by Spain’s leading daily El País, which carried a supplement dedicated to FIL events.
This year Chile was the featured country (also “honored” in 1999) and its book stand experienced such an avalanche of readers that by the second day a young writer said “I want to move to Mexico, here thye read my books,” pointing to her recent novel…clearly on the way to selling out.
Among the profesionales del libro were 100 librarians from the United States as part of the ALA-FIL Pass program, while fewer in numbers than in previous years, they were quite an enthusiastic group of book buyers. Jesus Alonso Regalado (SUNY-Albany) can probably claim to be the single most eager client: he acquired more than 100 new titles at the Chilean stand…and still had several days left!
As usual, the media conglomerates held the largest and most visible stands but there were also signs of other voices with Corredor Sur; Contrabandos; EGALES or Chile’s independent publishers and the more alternative Furia del Libro, all pointing to a segment of the book industry that struggles to remain competitive.
What was to have been a celebration of the literary prize awarded since 1992 became a cause célèbre: this year’s winner, Peruvian writer Alfredo Bryce Echenique, was accused of plagiarism. His name, while barely mentioned by organizers, still appeared in news coverage. With multiple events held in his honor, it almost felt as if the recently deceased Mexican writer Carlos Fuentes had been the winner. In fact, it was Fuentes who had calmed FIL’s boisterous crowd at the opening ceremony six years earlier as it booed the outgoing Minister of Culture.
The current Minister, Consuelo Saizar, has gained more respect than her predecessor. For a recent profile in the popular culture monthly Gatopardo, Saizar noted among her accomplishments the acquisition of personal libraries of several Mexican writers. These collections are housed in the Biblioteca de México “José Vasconcelos and are being made available to users in a state of the art facility similar to that of Guadalajara’s recently opened Biblioteca Pública del Estado de Jalisco “Juan José Arreola.”
This new Jalisco State Library has a capacity for 2 million volumes and among its holdings is the Benjamin Franklin collection of works on the United States. On FIL’s opening day, the United States ambassador presented a book donation to augment this collection at a ceremony attended by several REFORMA colleagues and I. This modest attempt at cultural diplomacy is noteworthy and could be replicated elsewhere, it costs so little and goes so far.
Librarians were not just book buyers: Paloma Celis Carbajal (Univ. of Wisconsin) participated on a panel discussion about the editoriales cartonersas; Patricia Figueroa (Brown University) was busy interviewing new writers for Nuevas Referencias, her bilingual blog; and I presented on
One of the local dailies misquoted some of my presentation but Milenio’s summary of the current e-book landscape in U.S. libraries and the need for additional Spanish language digital content was right on the mark.
I hope to continue presenting with humor and tono jocoso, as the Guadalajara daily complimented this humble experto!
Adan Griego, Stanford University Libraries
For Chilean publishers this has been a hectic month with both the LIBER-Barcelona and Frankfurt book fairs in October, while preparing for the country’s most important cultural event of the year: the 32nd annual Santiago Book Fair (FILSA).
The Fair opened to the public featuring Ecuador’s president not only as the main political figure of the país invitado, but also as an author himself. There followed a one day hiatus for municipal elections where the ruling conservative party unexpectedly lost several important posts. I arrived as the polls had closed and one of the winning candidates celebrated in the capital’s Plaza de Armas.
Unlike previous years, the professional days were held after the Fair’s official opening with Education and Library conferences complementing several panel presentations on publishing. Nowadays, such a discussion cannot avoid at least a round table on e-books.
One of the speakers from Brazil reminded attendees that the future had already arrived and that reality included e-books. Perhaps the engaging appeal to retool from a neighboring Latin American country found an audience more willing to accept that call than those that have previously come from United States or European presenters, where often a local response is: “that’s over there, in our countries….”
Also attending was Amazon’s representative for the Southern Cone, based in Buenos Aires, noting that Chileans are among the top consumers of digital content, with the obvious call for publishers to add their titles to the Kindle’s many e-book options. Interestingly enough, the Fair itself had a space showcasing a Kindle and Nook e-readers, featuring publicity from Buscalibre; Amabooks; and DigitalBooks sharing the same area with the alternative publishers of La Furia del Libro that included several graphic novel titles.
Many of the same media comglomerates seen at other Spanish-speaking book fairs were present, always with the most visible spaces. Even when they dominate the publishing landscape, these publishers don’t always distribute Latin American authors within the hemisphere. So, it was not unusual that Oswaldo Bazan’s latest novel published by Mondadori in neighboring Argentina could not be found either at the Fair or some of the likely bookshops in the city, Metales Pesados and Ulises. One of the few exceptions is Pedro Lemebel, perhaps the country’s best known chronicler who filled up the Fair’s largest auditorium at the launching of his latest book Háblame de amor.
Long distance travels often bring insomnia and late night local TV programs can sometimes lead to great discoveries, as was the case of the young writer ADO (Antonio Díaz Oliva) whose novel La soga de los muertos was the subject of a long interview.
This year, Chile is the featured country at the upcoming Guadalajara International Book Fair and the more than 150 US librarians attending will see a wide selection of publishers and titles. Cuarto Propio’s gender studies and social science/humanities books, Lom’s humanities and social science collection (much of it already available as e-books via Digitalia), and Uqbar’s film studies titles will most certainly be of interest to academic libraries. For the public library sector, Literalia will bring several children’s books. Pehuen will also have children’s titles, along with a series of photography books documenting the indigenous Mapuche culture, which can be of interest to both public and academic users.
US book lovers may soon be able to read some of the same books that the more than 260,000 attendees browsed at FILSA-2012. Check it out at your the nearest library!
Curator for Latin American Collections-Stanford University Libraries
- Alvaro Risso, Hortensia Calvo, and Adán Griego.
Our very own Adán Griego (Stanford University), Hortensia Calvo (Tulane University), and Alvaro Risso (Librería Linardi y Risso) have made the list of top 50 most influential professionals at the Buenos Aires Book Fair. Read more here.
In past years, when the Antiquarian Book Fair comes to San Francisco, the rainy weather has been a welcome incentive to spend a weekend indoors discovering the rare, unique, exotic and colorful. This time, a Spring-like sunny morning welcomed the 200 exhibitors from as far away as England. With names like “Cook Book Lady,” and “Vagabond Books,” it promised “Amazing Adventures” and not to disappoint even the most exigente of collectors.
It was not meant to be a chronological adventure, but the first item that caught my attention was an illustrated manuscript from the early 1700s. The dealer allowed me to take a photo and gave me a catalogue with the full description of the $55,000 item. He was most amiable, even when I finally said I “was just looking.”
The recorrido continued until I could not resist the stare from a Mexican movie poster (Novillero-1937), which claimed to be the first color movie in Spanish. The cast included a young composer (Agustin Lara), whose famous paso doble has become one of the most emblematic melodies we now associate with the fiesta brava. Lara’s fame endures to this day with other songs as Granada, Solamente una vez, and has even made it to Almodovar’s High Heels with Piensa en mí.
The same vendor also displayed the album Central America with watercolors by Max Vollmberg, a British artist who spent several years traveling throughout the region. The portfolio includes seventeen watercolor scenes from El Salvador that were originally published as postcards. The preface notes “…the characteristic types and subjects which the artist had opportunity of encountering on his travels, and the painting of which was often enough carried out under the most difficult conditions possible.” (OCLC: 13972155, 11860892, 651295904).
Other pictorial accounts of travels to our shores (even if less of a real visitor than Vollmberg) included Theodor de Bry’s Brevis narratio eorum quae in Florida Americae…. A pristine copy can go for as much as $70,000. Although missing a few important pages, this one was still priced at $27,500.
- Courtesy of Michael Maslan (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Much closer to home, for the adventurer North of the Border, travel guides described the distant as a very accessible destination. Postcards of those from here, who have visited over there, made that far away place more familiar: “July, 1910…spending my vacation in Mexico and having the loveliest kind of time….” Although, every so often, there is a not so subtle advertencia
Surprises await at any moment, at any corner, at any booth, like some of Gabo’s translations into English. If you have a first edition of One Years Years of Solitude, with dust jacket and all, especially with “no number line at the end of the text, a price of $7.95 and an exclamation point (“!”) at end of first paragraph on the front jacket flap,” you’ll be surprised what a treasure you posses.
Curator for Latin American, Mexican American & Iberian Collections
Stanford University Libraries
The 2011 book fair cycle for Iberoamerica probably started with Havana, whose book festival celebrated its 20th anniversary in February and is often attended by SALALM librarians and book dealers. This year Teresa Chapa (North Carolina) and Eudora Loh (UCLA) were present and went to a satellite book fair in Matanzas, where they also visited Editorial Vigía (home to those colorfully unique hand-made books). Given the commercial restrictions imposed by the United States on the Island, for many of our libraries Cuban research materials have an unusual trajectory of more than 8,000 miles (Havana-Montevideo) before reaching our bibliographic shores.
Mexico City’s Feria del Libro de Minería already in its 32nd year is organized by UNAM and takes place usually in late Winter at the historic Palace of Mines, much smaller than Guadalajara’s FIL (and less focused on “profesionales del libro”). SALALM vendors attend regularly and report that many regional publishers have opted for Minería due to Guadalajara’s high priced exhibit space.
April brings International Day of the Book and Buenos Aires has traditionally scheduled its annual book festival to coincide with this date and can claim one of the oldest (37 years), and largest book events in the Spanish-speaking world reaching more than one million visitors. This year the city was also named “capital mundial del libro” by UNESCO and Nobel laureate Vargas Llosa was a keynote speaker, sparking a polemic, even before the fair opened its doors.
Ten SALALM dealers and librarians were present, witnessing a constant mention of ebooks. It seemed like a continuation of similar discussions from LIBER-Barcelona 2010 six months earlier when the Ministry of Culture’s representative mentioned “contenidos digitales” and “libros electrónicos” several times at the opening ceremony. This year Buenos Aires was no exception and a one day seminar on ebooks was held at the Fair during the professional days. My presentation ended just on time for the 50 attendees and I rushed to hear Argentina’s Telefonica launching of its ebook service.
In May, several SALALMistas arrived in Bogota to participate in the city’s 24th annual book fair. The year before a visionary from MIT had scared participants at the Primer Encuentro del Libro Digital when he predicted the end of “libros de papel” in just a few years. This time a series of presentations included strategies for publishers to market digital content. David Block (Texas) documented some of the collective activities from our group and the Fair’s own blog provided a more detailed account of events.
For the Caribbean, Santo Domingo’s outdoor book festival is always a lively event. As in previous years, SALALM vendor Libros de Barlovento was present and Darlene Hull noted that “there were more booths offering religious publications than in the past. We even found some Christian hip-hop and Rap,” not surprising since the Vatican was the “país invitado.”
By Summer’s end, it was Madrid’s turn to host LIBER 2011 and ten eager SALAMistas landed in the Spanish capital for LIBER’s 19th anniversary. Even before the first “profesionales del libro” stepped into the IFEMA exhibit halls, several SALALM members were already busy sharing professional experiences to a packed audience of more than 150 Spanish librarians.
In between meetings with publishers and cultural outings, our group also visited the Arrebato, Sins Entido, and Tres rosas amarillas bookshops in the mythical Barrio de Malasaña, at times feeling that Almodovar or any of his La Movida characters of the 1980s had just left or was about to arrive.
This year LIBER included a digital corner that showcased all sorts of ebook initiatives, with a ubiquitous Javier Celaya as its most enthusiastic supporter. Former SALALM vendor Maria Jose Acuña provided a summary of this “novedad“.
Back in the Southern hemisphere Santiago celebrated its 31st annual book fair with barely enough time for many of Chile’s publishers to unpack from LIBER and Frankfort . For the first time digital projects/companies like Buscalibros, Dimacofi, and ebookspatagonia were showcased at the main entrance of the exhibit hall held at the former train station Mapocho, now a cultural venue.
On the day I arrived Amazon’s representative for Latin America presented a videoconference and encouraged publishers to enter the digital arena, reminding them all that Amazon would arrive in Latin America soon and will most likely revolutionize the book industry, as it had already done in Spain only a month earlier. A few doors away a two day e-book seminar sponsored by CERLALC was also being held. “If you don’t do it, some else will do it” noted the main speaker to the mostly 40 something audience during the morning session I attended. It seems everyone wants to enter this yet uncharted market with concerns that a Napster-like entity will cause irrevocable damage to book publishing as it did to the music industry.
The year ended with Guadalajara’s FIL “echando la casa por la ventana” as it celebrated 25 years in what has become the most important book festival in the Spanish speaking world. Germany was the featured country this year and Chile will be the “país invitado” for 2012.
It has not gone unnoticed that no Central American country has been given that honor and I could not help but wonder if that was one of the reasons why this year’s international pavilion had a special stand showcasing publications from throughout the region. This, in addition to the “cámaras del libro” and other vendors from some Central American countries, which had separate stands.
The ever present discussion on digital content seemed to continue here as part of the program for the X Foro Internacional de Editores y Profesionales del Libro ‘Analógico / Digital. Dos soportes, un futuro’.
FIL closed on Sunday (December 4th) with a record of more than 658,000 attendees. Probably the event that will be remembered most was the presentation the night before by the telegenic presidential candidate Enrique Peña Nieto who could not name books that influenced him most that was followed by series of jokes through the social networks.
SALALM members were active not only as book buyers but also sharing professional experiences with Mexican colleagues.
Thanks to Patricia Figueroa (Brown), Jesus Alonso Regalado (SUNY-Albany) and Teresa Chapa (North Carolina) who corrected errors/made suggestions in earlier versions of this report.
Adan Griego (Stanford)