Monday, 6 June 2011

Visiting the Madrid Book Fair

This weekend I visited the Feria del Libro, Madrid's annual book fair. Last year I had a great time and so of course I went back! Sadly, my friend and successful novelist Claudia Gray didn't make it this year but hopefully I'll pass through Chicago sometime and see her.

Despite the economic crisis the book fair was packed and there were hundreds of stalls for publishers and bookstores. My son got rewarded with a bilingual story book about an alien and I picked up a few things for myself.
One publisher was selling beautiful reproductions of rare medieval manuscripts. I love these things but have never coughed up the money for one.
The comics pavilion was well attended. There was some excellent art on the walls that only the adults were looking at. The kids were busy with the free video games and candy!

I got an egoboost at two military history stands that carried my Osprey Publishing titles. Now I just have to convince my publisher to translate them into Spanish. The Medieval Handgonnes book is an obvious sell, and the American Civil War Guerrilla Tactics would probably do well too. People are interested in the American Civil War over here.
I hovered around the stall of my favorite Spanish small press, Ediciones Escalera, which has an interesting list of translated Beat Generation works and other oddities, including El Mismo Río (The Same River) an Estonian novel I picked up and am currently enjoying. I and one of the owners commiserated over the demise of Entrelíneas Librebar, my favorite literary cafe where I first discovered this publisher.

While the economic crisis may have killed a great bookshop/cafe, publishing will survive. It's a rocky road at the moment, to be sure, but people like to read. As I discussed in my series on the London Book Fair, these shows simultaneously give me hope and leave me feeling daunted. So many books, and they all have to be written by someone like me! So many books, how does one get noticed?

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