While I should be writing

The sad state of books in Brazil

“No one buys books in Brazil anymore”, someone said and shook his head. “The only time someone ever buys books are at event”, someone else added.

Ask anyone that’s ever been involved in the publishing industry – publishers, editors, booksellers, writers – in any country and they will all tell you how difficult the times are nowadays. This has held true in every country and city I’ve ever been to, including Hay-on-wye, where a lady in a bookshop shook her head sadly and said there used to be many more bookshop there. But not anyway. She didn’t think there were more than 25 now.

There’s not quite 25 bookshops in the area close to the hotel, but it’s not that far off. I’ve counted some five just in the immediate area around it. Most of them are part of chains, of course: “There used to be many more independent bookshops, but they are all closing nowaday”, said a third person.

No bookshop in Santos can compete with The Bookseller’s. This Saturday he had organized a little celebration at the bookshop after the events of the day had ended. The doors were open towards the warm evening outside, people were having a beer out on the streets, and a man with a guitar and a woman with a violin were playing inside. And everyone was of course surrounded by books. I even got to go backstage. I miss being allowed into storerooms now that I no longer work in a bookshop. Isn’t it an amazing view?

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