The Spanish trade fair marks a turning point in the recovery of pre-pandemic foreign sales figures.
Liber grows in internationality and reaffirms itself as an effective export platform for books
In its 40th edition, Liber has facilitated the expected face-to-face meeting of the Spanish publishing industry with customers from all over the world, demonstrating that the recovery of the level of exports of pre-pandemic books is on track. It is worth highlighting the growth in the internationality of the attendees, which is close to 40% and double the percentage of the last on-site edition in Barcelona in 2018. In an atmosphere conducive to business meetings and the closing of orders, visitors have particularly valued the quality of the novelties and bibliographic collections offered by the nearly 300 participating exhibitors.
Liber is one of the major commercial platforms for books in Spanish that generates, in three days, professional contacts and open negotiations that will result in exports worth more than 110 million euros in the last quarter of the year, according to the Federation of Publishers’ Guilds of Spain (FGEE), which promotes the fair.
The president of the FGEE and of the Liber organising committee, Daniel Fernández, said: “After 40 editions, Liber has shown that it is still very much alive and that it has a splendid future as a meeting and business point for the Spanish book sector. We are very satisfied with the important commercial activity that has taken place at the fair, the excellent participation of Colombia, as well as the attendance at the different conferences where sector challenges such as new marketing models or sustainability have been debated”.
This edition of Liber, organised by Fira de Barcelona, has exceeded expectations and has attracted 8,500 professionals, 40% of them international, from up to 60 countries, mainly from America and Europe. This high percentage of internationality reflects a change of trend in foreign publishing markets, no longer restricted by the pandemic, and an increase in interest in authors and books produced in Spain, both in Spanish and in the other co-official languages. In fact, Spanish book exports represent 3.20% of the world book trade.
Among the attendees, the 450 key buyers and prescribers in the purchase and distribution of books in foreign markets, invited directly by the organisation in collaboration with the sponsoring and collaborating institutions and entities, stand out. It is estimated that thanks to the professionals who came through the internationalisation programmes, more than 5,000 business meetings were held. To this figure must be added the virtual interviews between exhibitors and another thousand selected foreign professionals who have not been able to travel to Barcelona, which can still be held over the next week via the show’s digital platform.
Liber has also attracted a significant number of Spanish professionals linked to the book value and supply chains interested in contacting their suppliers or clients, finding out about publishing catalogues and purchasing new products and services related to the production, marketing and distribution of books.
Colombia, good results
Colombia, this year’s guest of honour, has also gained a good impression from its visit to Liber. The Colombian delegation highlighted the quality of the professional contacts made and the visibility achieved at the Spanish fair to publicise its publishing production, as well as its aid programme for the translation of its authors into other languages. Colombia participated with a stand with 81 publishing houses represented, 50 professionals and various business and cultural activities, such as the concert-reading to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the awarding of the Nobel Prize to its most universal writer, Gabriel García Márquez.
Professional Workshops and awards
Over the last three days, more than 130 speakers have addressed the most immediate challenges for the publishing sector linked to innovation, sustainability, marketing and digital business models for books at 55 round tables. It is estimated that, overall, around 1,500 people attended the Liber Professional Workshops.
Finally, another of the most eagerly awaited activities of the fair was yesterday’s Liber Awards ceremony, awarded by the FGEE in recognition of the career and work carried out by various people and entities linked to the world of books. The author and publisher Pere Gimferrer; the writer Soledad Puértolas; the journalist from Radio Nacional de España, Ignacio Elguero; the film “Pan de limón con semillas de amapola”; the Llibreria Ramon Llull in Valencia and the Historical Library of the IES Isabel La Católica in Madrid were this year’s winners.
Liber 2022 was sponsored by the Ministry of Culture and Sport, ICEX Spain, the Generalitat de Catalunya, the Ajuntament de Barcelona, and the Centro Español de Derechos Reprográficos (CEDRO). The Gremi d’Editors de Catalunya, Acción Cultural Española (AC/E) and the Associació d’Editors en Llengua Catalana have collaborated.
The next edition of Liber will be held from 4 to 6 October 2023 in Madrid and Poland will be the guest of honour.
Barcelona, 7 October 2022
Images (2022 edition) available here
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