By Hannah Johnson
ROMANIA: For five days, June 17-22, publishers and the general public gathered in the Romexpo-Complex in Bucharest for the 2009 Bookfest, Romania’s book festival. Visitors had free access to the show’s 13,700 square meters of exhibition space to browse and buy the 25,000 titles on display. Publishers expressed satisfaction with this year’s festival and sold more books overall then in 2008.
However, the successful book sales contradict the declining numbers of the festival. Cristian Juncu, the General Director of the Romanian Publishers Association was quoted in the Romanian newspaper Evenimentul zilei as saying, “Exhibition space was down 20% over last year and there were 15% fewer exhibitors, whose overall income has dropped by 25%.”
Consumer sales at Bookfest also highlight another serious problem in the Romanian book market, namely the lack of a distribution system. People come to the festival to buy books that are sometimes not available elsewhere. There is still no national wholesale network, so publishers must create their own countrywide distribution system.
TRANSLATE: the Bookfest 2009 website into English
CONTACT: the Romanian Publishers Association, the main organizer of Bookfest
Information for this article was contributed by Andrei Anastasescu.