Lisbon Book Fair: fewer visitors, but more people buying books

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The Lisbon Book Fair, which ended on Tuesday, welcomed fewer visitors than in 2022, but “more people buying books”, Pedro Sobral, president of the Portuguese Publishers and Booksellers Association (APEL), told Lusa today.

“Our feeling is that we had fewer people than last year, but more people buying books. This proves that Lisboners are increasingly interested in books and reading”, said Pedro Sobral, in an initial “extraordinarily positive” assessment, still without any concrete data.

The 93rd edition of the Lisbon Book Fair followed the traditional schedule of May and June, with 139 participants, over 980 publishing houses and the same 340 pavilions as the 2022 edition.

On the first Saturday, the organization had to bring forward the closing of the fair, for security reasons, due to the celebrations of Benfica’s victory in the soccer championship.

However, the fair was extended by two days, until June 13, allowing the events that had been cancelled to be rescheduled.

“According to the results we obtained, the overwhelming majority [of publishers present at the fair] were in line with last year and all were well above 2019”, before the pandemic, said the APEL president.

In 2022, the Lisbon Book Fair welcomed around 772,000 visitors.

According to Pedro Sobral, “two phenomena” were confirmed at this year’s fair: “A lot of new people who weren’t going for a walk, but who were looking for a certain type of book and a certain type of writer. […] The second phenomenon is that, more than a fair, it’s a big book festival that attracts a lot of people who don’t read”.

For 2024, the organization is once again setting the calendar between May and June and with the desire to extend the fair’s perimeter, to meet members’ requests for more pavilions.

“We are studying with Lisbon City Council this growth, which could go up to twenty or thirty additional pavilions”, said Pedro Sobral.

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