Lisbon Book Fair back in May starts today with “biggest offer ever

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The 93rd edition of the Lisbon Book Fair begins today, at Parque Eduardo VII, with what the organization describes as the “largest offer ever”, in what is a return to the traditional dates between May and June.

Despite being forced to “keep the same space as last year” due to the preparation for World Youth Day, as said Pedro Sobral, president of the Portuguese Publishers and Booksellers Association (APEL), at the fair’s press presentation, the event will have the “biggest offer ever”.

Today, for example, there are autograph signings by Isabela Figueiredo, José Milhazes, Alice Vieira, and João Pedro George, among many others.

Another highlight of this year’s edition is the National Reading Plan (PNL), represented for the first time at the Lisbon Book Fair and with a daily program.

“We have opened a reading clinic for readers and non-readers, from 0 to 100. All the members of the NLP team, including the commissioner and the deputy commissioner, will suggest books for different states of mind. Those who visit us in the west auditorium of the Fair, between 6:00 and 7:00 pm, on weekdays, will be entitled to a moment of dialogue, a poem to read and listen to and a leaflet with suggestions for fiction, non-fiction and children’s books,” revealed the PNL, in a statement this week.

This year, the Lisbon Book Fair will have 139 participants, more than 980 publishing houses, and the same 340 pavilions as in the 2022 edition.

For this edition, “many more writers” and “more international authors than last year” are also expected, said the president of APEL, who has seen an increase in “proactivity in writers, who say ‘I want to be’ at the fair”, instead of simply waiting for invitations.

Pedro Sobral expects, therefore, that this year will increase the contact with writers and the affluence, which in 2022 was between 770 thousand and 790 thousand visitors.

This expectation is directly linked to the growth of the book market, which has been going on since 2021, and which at the end of the first quarter of this year was at 12%.

“Besides the recovery [post-pandemic], there is a change in reading habits. Portugal is one of the countries with the worst reading rates, but there is a growing interest in buying books for one’s own reading,” when, traditionally, most of the books bought were for offering, indicated the responsible.

Pedro Sobral said that there is a “movement of new readers, between 18 and 30 years old, leveraged by the social networks.

The “Hora H” will be maintained, but the fair’s hours will change slightly: instead of closing at 00:00, it will close at 22:00 on weekdays, and at 23:00 on Fridays, Saturdays, and holiday eve.

On weekends, the opening hours are 11:00, while on weekdays the fair opens at 12:30.

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