When books saved us from grief




The voice of Galicia

ana abelenda

writing / voice

07/03/2021 05:00 h

Bestsellers have weathered the pandemic year well and the book world has also weathered. Judging by the weak decline in sales and loans compared to other areas, literature is an island invulnerable to crisis, or a peninsula embraced by a sea of ​​loyal readers. The loss, at the national level, in independent bookstores from 2019 to 2020, was 8%, and in Galicia, 1%, points out the bookseller lvaro Manso, spokesman for Cegal, which brings together 1,600 booksellers from all over Spain. A descent, yes, but hopeful.

Of the lifelong bookstores, most of us have a bookcase and a trash can. Many others sell newspapers. These bookstores were always open. Those dedicated exclusively to the sale of the book closed in confinement for a month and a half, recalls Pilar Rodrguez, president of the Federation of Booksellers of Galicia, which indicates that booksellers have adapted to the restrictions with initiatives such as home delivery of books. From the entity this novelty was launched that worked well, distance selling. And bookstores like Gloria Fuertes, from Lectocosmos, from Lugo, they even serve the books to their customers.

Was more sold sometime in 2020? There have been peaks, and it is not that you sold more, but you sold …, clarifies Pilar Rodríguez. Word of mouth worked a lot, go on, and platforms like All your books, that allows you to consult at any time which books are in the top of sales and to know in which bookstore in Spain you can get the copy you are looking for. The platform was launched on November 13, the day of the bookstores, and went from having 30,000 users to 148,000 today. Readers and booksellers, or librarians, have been searched, and found. It’s undeniable.

Libraries and bookstores have been the other intensive care units in this pandemic that pushed to change the social perception of the book. Social networks have helped a lot. Books are talked about again naturally. Reading will not tell you that it is fashionable, but it is no longer something that is hidden …, he says Esther Gmez, of Much Tale, in A Corua. 2020 has seen some closure (due to a situation prior to the pandemic, Manso points out), but it also saw openings of bookstores, such as second-hand Follas Vellas in the coruesa Plaza del Libro, that expands a family business with a great fund, where you can find the treasure of first editions of very valuable Galician authors, in addition to vinyls.

With 30% capacity, the Galician libraries reopened in February, which has mitigated the lack of the more social dimension of the book with the GaliciaLe platform and initiatives such as reading clubs online for diverse audiences, such as people with functional diversity. There was a rebound in loans before and after the restrictions. The phrase of the people was: ” That this does not catch me without books! ”, Share Maru Cardiel, from the Gora Library, an impression also carried by the librarians of Florencio Delgado Gurriarn, of O Barco de Valdeorras, which has survived three floods since 1957.

Books are not wet paper. His role today is discreet, but essential. They have not stopped being – concludes Cardiel -, they have not stopped weaving their support network. They are a great shared refuge.

Jol Dicker, Almudena Grandes, Ken Follet and Prez-Reverte are in the top sales of 2020 in Galicia. Among them, a surprise, the essay Infinity in a reed, by Irene Vallejo, which reaches 200,000 copies. And he puts the point (never ending) to this love letter to books, which saved us a bit from grief.


The booksellers Manso, from Burgos, standing since 1948


lvaro Manso, national spokesperson for booksellers: Books have become valuable objects

The book lives almost a miracle. He is the least punished in culture, the librarians and booksellers agree. The bookstores are fortunate to have the type of client they have, assesses the Cegal spokesperson. Third generation of the family of booksellers at the head of Luz y Vida, in Burgos, lvaro Manso ensures that the role is coming out of this crisis strengthened. Books have really become valuable objects, he argues online with bookstores likeSabela Martnez, of Versus, in Vigo, TheEsther Gmez, of Much Tale, which warns that readers, especially young people, have recovered.

Whoever reads reads more, pointsLuz Gallego, from Librera Seijas, from Pontevedra, which as a recipe for those who seek to reconcile with reading proposes, for example, the friendly bookLemon bread with poppy seedsby Cristina Campos.

You read more and you buy more. We have noticed, adds the Versus library. People stay at home, there are not many leisure options and many who had abandoned reading have returned. The total confinement gave in general a little more time to read and now that dynamic continues, points out who says that the number one in the top sales of his bookstore in 2020 is for Irene Vallejo withInfinity in a reed.

Children are like entering a confectionery…, adds Manso on what he observes in the new bookstore for small readers that he opened in Burgos. There is a reader appetite. We want stories, especially novels, he points out. Following the closure for the March lockdown, the return to the bookstores has been spectacular, no doubt. The relationship between bookseller and reader is a relationship of loyalty that makes the ups and downs in sales not abrupt.

It is a fact that readers have recovered and new readers have become, says Manso, as the return of people to local commerce. The regular customer, if he had a book before, today buys two or three, the booksellers point out. Has the reader’s profile changed, and their tastes? Women are the ones who read the most and the ones who buy the most. The novel is elsummum, the one that sells and supports you. And there is an editorial commitment to quality. Books are better now: paper, edition and design are taken care of like never before, says Manso, who notices that paper is experiencing a peak and recommends novelty to any reader.Take me home, by Jess Carrasco (beginning to run out in bookstores … at least in A Corua).



1. Elenigma from room 622

Jol Dicker. Alfaguara

2. The infinity in a reed

Irene Vallejo. Siruela

3. Frankenstein’s mother

Amudena Grandes. Tusquets

4. The darknessand the dawn

know Follet. Plaza & Jans

5.Lineof fire

Arturo Prez-Reverte. Alfaguara

In the position number 10 of the best sellers in Galicia is, according to data from Cegal, Extra !, album book by Paco Nogueiras.

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