Argentina: the crisis can make books scarce

The publishing industry falters facing Argentina's economic crisis. A 45% drop since 2014 has affected the market, the government is disinterested

Argentina: the crisis can make books scarce

Bookstores closed, low sales, little editorial production, and other negative effects are the concern of the Argentine publishing industry, which has been in decline since 2014.

Leer en español: Argentina: la crisis puede hacer que escaseen los libros

In the latest version of the International Book Fair of Buenos Aires, it has become evident that small and medium publishing houses and the production of books by universities have declined substantially under the indifferent gaze of government institutions.

A resounding fall

According to the Fundación El Libro, who organizes the Fair, the suspension of the editorial production is a first effect of the crisis, which is partly due to the lack of interest in reading, the economic and intellectual crisis in Argentina and the cost-effectiveness.

"The situation is alarming: the numbers are negative and the fall seems to have no end," the Institution said in a statement endorsed by other organizations such as the Argentine Society of Writers, the Argentine Chamber of Books, the Books and Magazines Sector of the Spanish Chamber of Commerce and the Argentine Federation of the Graphic Industry.

The fall compared to the previous year reaches 40%, according to the Chamber of the Book, since in the first semester of 2016 there were 10.6 million books in Argentina. This year 6 million books were printed. What would represent a "too loud fall", as expressed in the statement.

"Since 2014 the fall in sales varies between 45% and 30% in units, according to the point of sale. To this we must add that the irrational increases in services and management costs enhance the fall," said Ecequiel Leder Kremer, director of the Hernández Bookshop at La Vanguardia newspaper.

He adds that there is fear of the increase in prices according to the inflation of the Argentine currency since it would mean another factor of loss in sales, suggesting in turn, that the economic crisis that the country is going through is another cause of the deficit. facing the book industry.

Also read: Latin America: Is the Argentine crisis contagious?

Government helplessness

The indifference of the Argentine government is one of the points that the statement of the Book Foundation critics, ensuring that the Ministry of Education has cut the budget for the purchase of school books and reading plans. At the same time, they report that the National Commission of Popular Libraries, of the Ministry of Culture,  has not made its traditional centralized purchase of books, due to the budget cuts allocated by the National Government.

The call made by the Book Foundation to the deputies of La Nación, before the debate of the public budget, is based on " a genuine concern and request for reconsideration due to the decrease of the different figures refer to Culture in the National Budget 2019 that It is debated. Especially the publishing sector and bookseller is in a difficult situation, in which the promotional role of fairs, festivals and campaigns to encourage reading should be reinforced. "

"We hope that they take into account this issue, in which the present and future of a central tool is played, which strengthens culture, is essential in education and expresses the identity of Argentines in their own country and in the world", they added in a statement obtained by the EFE Agency.


LatinAmerican Post | Jorge Becerra

Translated from: 'Argentina: la crisis puede hacer que escaseen los libros'

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