Liber20 in Barcelona Moves to All-Digital for Its Program in October

In News by Porter Anderson

Having worked, as did Frankfurter Buchmesse, to develop a physical-and-digital hybrid trade show in October, Spain’s Liber20 announces now that it, too, will have to be entirely a digital offering.

A meeting with buyers at the 2018 edition of Feria International del Libro in Barcelona. Image: Fira de Barcelona

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

Barrero: ‘A Commercial Meeting Point’
We reported in July that Spain’s Liber20 would stage a hybrid digital and physical rendition of tis  international book fair in October.

As it has happened, that program—which alternates its venue each year between Madrid and Barcelona—has had to make a decision similar to that of Frankfurter Buchmesse’s this week, moving to an all-digital evocation of its offer.

Promoted by the Federation of Publishers’ Guilds (FGEE), the Feria Internacional del Libro—which drew some 11,200 visitors and 450 exhibitors in 2019, according to the Aldus Network—is moving its dates to October 27 to 29 in an all-digital program structure.

The 38th edition of the show, organizers say, is being staged “with the aim of helping the sector to recover its commercial momentum, especially abroad.”

Organized by Fira de Barcelona, the new plan will present products and publishing collections from at least 200 exhibitors and 400 publishing houses, Publishing Perspectives is told, “with business meetings with invited buyers and subscribers from more than 60 countries, as well as meetings with different Spanish professionals from the book world.”

In addition, Liber Professional Workshops are being developed to look at issues directly related to the pandemic-strained market and what may be best practices going forward.

The Liber program sees itself as the leading international professional trade show for books in Spanish, and thus feels the pressure to the market’s stresses in a way that a mostly public-facing event might not experience.

Miguel Barrero

Liber allows us to establish and maintain contact with clients and subscribers both in Spain and in international markets, especially in Latin America,” says FGEE president Miguel Barrero in today’s (September 11) news messaging.

“The current circumstances resulting from the pandemic have made us adapt the fair so that it mainly serves as a commercial meeting point for Spanish editions with distributors, librarians, booksellers, and customers for whom we’ll have a powerful platform.

“In addition, we’ll continue to hold professional conferences that can be followed virtually, which will allow us to exchange opinions and experiences resulting from the current situation.”

International Rights Trading

On a stand at Liber18. Image: Fira de Barcelona

One of the FGEE’s initiatives that might play into the plans is the new Books From Spain platform, a forerunner to Frankfurter Buchmesse’s Guest of Honor Spain in 2022. That collection of titles from Spain is hosted on IPR License, the digital rights trading marketplace in which Frankfurt holds controlling interest, with additional investments from Copyright Clearance Center and China South Publishing & Media Group.

And the program being developed around the importance of international rights trading and other business elements of the industry will stress the internationalization effort that the Spanish market is embracing as a counterweight to the internal impact of the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.

And as part of its programming, the fair will be running professional workshops and webinars, to help strengthen publishers’ responses to the virus and their planning for recovery in a more stabilized future.

Alyssa McMurtry is reporting for Reuters that as of Thursday (September 10), “dozens of schools across Spain had registered fresh coronavirus cases during the first week of classes” and a total 10,764 cases had been registered across the board–a record high since the onset of the pandemic.

At this writing, the 5:28 a.m. ET update (0928 GMT) of the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center cites Spain as ninth in the world for caseload–not good news–standing just after South Africa, with 554,143 infections and 29,699 fatalities in a population of 47 million.\

A reception at Liber18. Image: Fira de Barcelona

More from Publishing Perspectives on the Spanish market is here, and more from us on the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on international book publishing is here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.