Business & Economy

Fed up with pandemic, eager bookworms celebrate Madrid book fair return

Madrid, Sep 10 (EFE).- Readers in the Spanish capital Madrid on Friday enjoyed the first day of the city’s renowned book fair as it returned after two years away from the Retiro park due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Queen Letizia inaugurated the event, as bookworms gathered around the stands scattered across the Retiro park, recently awarded Unesco World Heritage status, in search for new volumes.

The Covid-19 pandemic forced organizers to hold the fair online in 2020, and the 2021 edition of the event, which is traditionally scheduled for June, was delayed to September in accordance with health precautions.

Editors and booksellers were anxious at first over the uncertainty surrounding turnout, but high attendance from the first hours of the event lifted spirits.

Face masks and a rinse with hand rub sanitizer were mandatory to enter the fair’s premises, which was filled at over 50% capacity of the maximum 3,900 people allowed.

However, the fair this year was graced by a smaller number of stands, going from 360 to 320 booths.

Sergio Bang, owner of the Grant bookshop, could barely contain his excitement at the sight of people rushing to buy books at the fair.

“Other years, the first day of the fair is more of an institutional act, but this year we have a lot of public attendance,” he said. “It’s impossible to say that a limited capacity will not reduce the overall turnout, but the organization is good enough to allow in anyone hoping to enter.”

“We had to come, whatever the cost,” he said. “It’s not even about sales anymore, but a question of principle.” EFE


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