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09 October 2019

The 37th edition of LIBER will show the vitality of the Spanish language book sector

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• More than 400 professionals from all over the world have been invited with the aim of fostering business relationships with the participating publishing companies. The emirate of Sharjah will be the Guest of Honour Country in an edition that pays special attention to digital content, desktop publishing and literary agents. During the fair, the Federation of Spanish Guilds, (FGEE in its Spanish acronym), will be presenting the LIBER Awards to personalities and institutions linked to the world of books.

The International Book Fair, LIBER 2019 returns to Madrid to continue as the great showcase for the book sector in Spanish. Organised by IFEMA and promoted by the Federation of Publishers Guilds of Spain (FGEE), LIBER, which this year celebrates its 37th edition will show, on 9-11 October, the vitality of the Spanish book sector. This area has little by little been recovering from the economic crisis, and this edition will also show how the sector is facing up to the challenges presented by new technologies and the changes in people’s habits regarding their consumption of cultural content. For three days, the fair will bring together publishers, authors, literary agents, booksellers and other professionals linked to the sector.

With 395 companies participating from 17 countries (Germany; Argentina; Bolivia; China; Cyprus; Cuba; the United Arab Emirates; Spain; the US; the Russian Federation; India; Italy; Morocco; Mexico; Netherlands; the Czech Republic, and the Republic of Korea), LIBER will be a beacon for the commitment to bibliodiversity that makes it possible for society to have books and other editorial content in which to present stories, reflections, research, ideas, etc. These are all essential tools for social and cultural development, as well as a significant leisure activity. It also reflects the interest on the part of Spanish publishing companies to maintain a presence in foreign markets.

Throughout 37 editions of the fair, LIBER has established itself as the premier professional exhibition in Europe dedicated to books published in Spanish languages and as the main centre of business and exchange of ideas. In fact, the fair is a benchmark for export activities in the Spanish book sector. In 2018, the turnover generated by the book sector reached €2.364 billion, growing by 1.9%. In foreign markets, it grew by 4.5% to reach €615.41 million, driven by the publishing sector, which grew by 8.9% to €421.20 million. The sector’s trade balance remained positive, following an upward growth curve to stand at €396.26 million.

Buyers and Prescribers Programme

To encourage and promote business relationships with participating companies and promote knowledge about the funds presented at the fair, the FGEE has launched different programmes aimed at professionals from other countries of special relevance. On the one hand, the Buyers Programme will bring, with the collaboration of the Spanish Economic and Commercial Offices and of ICEX Spain Exports and Investments, more than 300 booksellers, distributors and librarians, buyers of Spanish books from more than 50 countries.

On the other, through the Programme of Priority Interest Prescribers, carried out in collaboration with Acción Cultural Española (AC/E) and its Programme for the Internationalisation of Spanish Culture (PICE, in its Spanish acronym), several dozen professionals from the world of books have been invited - librarians, publishing agents, university professors, editors and managers of public bodies - who have the capacity to prescribe, decide and/or purchase Spanish books.

In addition to these two programmes, LIBER will once again host the United States Librarians Mission, in collaboration with ICEX and the Spanish Economic and Commercial Office in Miami.

Over the three days of the fair, all these guests will be able, within a unique space, to get to know the rich and varied Spanish publishing range on offer which will enable them to initiate commercial contacts (the purchasing of rights), to make purchases (librarians and those responsible for public bodies) and/or prescribe Spanish books (university professors and journalists).

Sharjah, Guest Country of Honour

The emirate of Sharjah, one of the seven that make up the United Arab Emirates (UAE), will be one of the big protagonists at this edition of LIBER as a guest country of honour.

Considered the cultural capital of the United Arab Emirates, Sharjah organises an international book fair every year that is actually the third largest in the world, and the largest in the Middle East. Last year, it attracted 2.23 million attendees and 1,874 publishers from around the world. The fair also hosts the largest Publishers’ Conference in the region, which every year attracts more than 300 publishers from around the world, and rewards publishers with translation grants to promote the translation of high-quality literature in different languages.

For leading exceptional initiatives in education, publication and the promotion of reading, the Emirate has been declared World Book Capital 2019 by UNESCO.

Sharjah also hosts the only university in the UAE, which offers doctoral programmes and world-class programmes in Engineering, Science and Business Communication which are internationally accredited.

The presence of Sharjah at LIBER provides a key opportunity to establish relationships with the organisers of this fair, which will allow it to become a commercial benchmark for Spanish companies in the internationalisation process.

Sharjah’s participation at LIBER is headed by his Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, member of the UAE Supreme Council and ruler of Sharjah. The Sharjah pavilion will occupy a central place at LIBER and will actively disseminate the vast heritage and literary achievements of the UAE and the Arab region. Meetings to establish business networks, intellectual debates in the main Spanish institutions, performances and crafts for the dissemination of folklore, interactions between authors, Arabic books in Spanish, and much more, will form a great showcase in Sharjah.

The sectors forum for debate and reflection

In addition to a space for commercial exchange, LIBER is also a meeting point for training, debate and reflection. The FGEE has organised an extensive programme of professional and cultural activities that will bring together personalities from the publishing sector and offer the opportunity to analyse the future of the book sector.

These professional activities will fundamentally address four major challenges in the sector:

  • The Promotion of Books and Reading. In various panel discussions, the whole chain that exists between the author and the reader, ‘From those who write to those who read’, will be analysed. From the perspective of translators, libraries and bookshops, in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture and Sport’s Directorate-General for Books. A proposal for further encouraging reading at school will also be addressed, and inter-sectoral days for Children’s and Young Adult Literature will be held.

  • Opening up to foreign markets. LIBER has organised discussions to analyse the technological tools that help optimise the sale of books or the situation of Spanish in the world, among other panel discussions.

  • Digitalisation and new technologies, with activities aimed at highlighting the most profitable business models in the distribution of content through digital media (ebooks and audiobooks); new subscription platforms or adaptation to new sales channels.

  • The protection of intellectual property, with panel discussions dedicated, among other things, to analysing new forms of digital content piracy or how people in the public sector are complying with the Law on Intellectual Property.

In addition to these and other activities included in your professional programme, (more information and schedules at ), LIBER will also be hosting other cultural activities such as the première of the film ‘Intemperie’, produced by A Contracorriente Films and directed by Benito Zambrano, based on the book of the same title by Jesús Carrasco. The presentation of the European Union Literature Prize is also planned.

LIBER Awards

On the other hand, The Federation of Publishers Guilds of Spain has awarded its 2019 LIBER Awards to personalities and institutions linked to the world of books.

The Board of Directors of the FGEE has awarded its prize for the promotion of reading in the Media to La Sextas Crea Lecturaprogramme. Also, the LIBER Award 2018 for the best audiovisual adaptation has gone to the Fariña series, produced by Bambú Producciones and broadcast by Atresmedia.

In addition, the Reading Promotion Prize for the promotion of reading in public libraries will be presented to the Dr. Ricardo Conejo RamiloMunicipal Public Library in Archidona (Málaga). For its part, the ‘Rafael Albertibookshop in Madrid has been recognised with the Boixareu GinestaAward for the Bookseller of the Year. The 2019 LIBER Award for the most outstanding Hispanic-American author went to the writer Juan Villoro. And finally, the editor Mauricio Santos will receive the Special Tribute of this edition of the Fair. The awards ceremony will take place on 10 October at the Lázaro Galdiano Museum in Madrid.

LIBER 2019, organised by IFEMA and the FGEE, will be held on 9-11 October in Madrid. It is a fair sponsored by the Ministry of Culture and Sports, ICEX Spain Export and Investment, Community of Madrid, Madrid City Council and the Spanish Centre for Reprographic Rights (CEDRO). It is also held in association with Acción Cultural Española (AC/E) and the Madrid Publishers’ Association.