Great success of the Professional Sessions
A new edition of the annual rendezvous of the publishing industry ended leaving four days of rich meetings for professionals in the publishing world. Like previous years, more visitors participated in the program of activities and the couriers dispatched more kilos to other places in the country and abroad.
Free national logistics service
- 27936 kg sent (2088 boxes), 22.92% more than the previous year / 2018. 22185 kg / 2017: 18000 kg / 2016: 13800 kg
- 306 clients (librarians and booksellers in Argentina), 14.17% more than the previous year / 2018: 268 / 2017: 231 / 2016: 197
International logistics service, with the support of DHL
- 10212 kg sent, 38,50% more than the previous year / 2018: 7373 kg / 2017: 6263.4 kg / 2016: 3540 kg
- 366 dispatches, 46.4% more than the previous year / 2018: 250 / 2017: 276 / 2016: 98
Day 1 – Tuesday 23 of April
The 2018 Academic Publishing Sessions began in the Julio Cortázar hall. The first day, organized by Editorial de la Universidad Nacional del Litoral, Editorial de la Universidad Nacional de Quilmes, Eudeba, Cátedra de Edición editorial de la UBA, and Fundación El Libro, began with a conference by Gino Roncaglia, from the University of Tuscia, about the present and future of academic publishing, coordinated and translated by Patricia Piccolini.
Roncaglia’s exposition revolved around the integration of paper and digital media in the publishing work with academic texts. These have not changed so much in terms of structure, Roncaglia explained, though there is a tendency towards making them shorter.
In order to no not lose the characteristic complexity of this kind of text and yet adapt it to the possibilities of the digital environment, the italian speaker proposed the rethinking of content organization.
At the same time, the VII Professional Sessions for Illustrators began in the Tulio Halperín Donghi hall, with Alejandro O’Kif’s presentation about the processes and ways to become a book illustrator.
The Rosario-based writer told the process of approaching illustration from an early age, the importance of following one’s calling, and the road he took from political and adult illustrations to becoming a children’s illustrator.
“You need to have fun, because it shows in the final result”, said O’Kif, and he adviced to tap into working with other illustrators in order to keep learning. When it comes to the digital realm, he recalled his transition was imposed by the magazine for which he worked. He explained that in the present day he draws on paper and he scans the material in order to work on the digital version. Although he acknowledges the advantages of new technologies for his work, he prefers to continue drawing by hand. Before finishing, the exchange with the audience provided more insight on his history and his take on the activity.
Around noon in the Domingo Faustino Sarmiento hall, Iñaki Vázquez Álvarez gave his lecture “Strategic Management in the publishing industries. Opportunities and diversity in business models”. There, he proposed a strategic kind of management, which defines the specific purpose of each particular company to base its development in its competitive advantages. Based on this and the contribution of updated statistics of the book world in Argentina and Spain, he provided tools to enhance them.
In the afternoon, in the crowded Carlos Gorostiza hall, the seventh edition of the cycle Views on the Publishing Industry kicked off with the round table How to think about publishing in multiple supports.
Different professionals from the book industry took part in the cycle and shared their different experiences. One of them was Editorial Gerbera, the only one in America that publishes children’s books with friendly typography for dyslexics and Braille ink. “There was a very big demand, it did not exist not because there was no desire to do it, but because it is very expensive. It is zero profitable, but it is a pride, the way people react to it is a caress to the soul”, said Fabiola Nolla Portillo, journalist and director of the label.
From a personal experience with a blind child, three years ago Nolla Portillo contacted the Tiflonexos Foundation and now together with Jimena Basabez manages this project, which they want to be able to replicate: “We want more publishers that want to bring their titles closer to the blind people” said Portillo during her speech.
Basabez mainly focused on talking about the work process, the printing system, the grammage and type of paper that this type of publication requires. In the project she is in charge of putting together the books that they sell ringed in order to facilitate children’s reading.
Mardulce Editora, the publishing house of writer and editor Damián Tabarovsky’s, also narrated the process of creating their collections in the voice of his editorial design team, Darío Katzev and Paula Rodríguez from Estudio Sleigh. They have been working in the industry for eight years. And, although the digital era has given way to other formats, from its paper trench they defend their object with the greatest value: the printed book. “The interesting thing about paper books is that they continue to convey issues of the physical world: texture, smells … The paper book has its fans and this Fair is almost a monument to that,” said Rodríguez.
Tabarovsky meanwhile quoted César Aira when he recalled that “the back cover is a cover against one” in order to emphasize the importance of visual communication: “Readers come to books also for designs, covers.” In this sense, Katzev added that for an independent publisher “the cover should have a very strong presence so that readers remember it and recognize it”, since that is their only means and letter of introduction.
In its second appointment, the cycle continued with the table How to conceive a collection, with Alberto Díaz, Juan Carlos Kreimer and Norma Huidobro. A little later, The Hispanic American book space 2018 was presented in the conference Overview of publishing in Latin America. It is a publication of the Regional Center for the Promotion of Books in Latin America and the Caribbean that offers a panoramic view of the region, Spain and Portugal. José Diego González, coordinator of the Ecosystem of the Book area of this Unesco organization, debriefed the document.
The figures he revealed inform that the participation of authors-editors in the ISBNs requested in Latin America represented 12% in 2017, the last year of reference for the study. The report also points out that the printed format continues to predominate and that the trend of the publishing market is to continue producing titles, even if profits are reduced. González said that when the report talks about titles, it actually provides a “shallow” estimate since it is not talking about unique titles, but it can be the same title that under different ISBNs can be published in different formats.
Day 2 – Wednesday 24
Day of fairs, perspectives and women of the book world
After a successful opening, exchange of experiences, analysis and debates took place on the second day of this edition of the Professional Sessions.
During the morning, the Adolfo Bioy Casares hall hosted the 8th Meeting of Book Fair Organizers in Argentina. The meeting began with an overview of the Argentine book sector outlined by Oche Califa, Cultural and Institutional Director of the El Libro Foundation.
After that, Nelda Abed, from the Córdoba Book Fair commented on the new city ordinance that guarantees the Fair’s continuity beyond the municipal administrations of different political parties.
Daniel Vleminchx, Culture Secretary of Comodoro Rivadavia, arrived from that city in order to review the five years of of the Fair during his administration. Among the main achievements, the event in the patagonic city went on to be fifteen days long in its next edition from June 27th to July 9th from an original duration of a single weekend.
Then it was Laura Pencherz and Teresita Valdettaro’s turn, from the Zapala Popular Culture and Book Fair. The organizers of that fair explained the difficulties of not having direct flights from Buenos Aires. In order to solve that, they resorted to coordinating with the Neuquén Fair in order to make the fairs in adjacent dates, and facilitate the participation of exhibitors and writers. This experience was taken as a good example for other fairs in small locations. The next edition will be from September 12th to 15th.
María Magdalena Católica and Graciela Manzione arrived from Bragado, and expressed that in the first editions, their fair was targeted at the educative community, while in the last ones, it became oriented towards the general public. Like in other places, the municipal impulse is fundamental for the event’s continuity each year. The next edition will be from July 10th to 14th.
After that, it was the turn of Ricardo La Sala and Valeria Resenite, from the General Roca Municipal Book and Reading Book Fair, whom at first were thankful for the help from the Cámara Argentina del Libro and the Fundación El Libro for its organization. They considered that their city’s fair is very important so that local people get to know some personalities of national and local culture. There, the city hall also has a role in promoting books and reading by sustaining its own publishing fund and continuing the organization of the Fair every year. The next edition will be from September 18th to 22nd, and they wish to not charge the exhibitors. Also, they will try to work in coordination with other fairs in the area (Neuquen, Zapala) in order to organize them in close dates.
After projecting the video of the Uruguayana Fair (Brazil), Hugo Maradei, from the Museum of Drawing and Illustration, introduced himself and proposed the organization of art exhibitions during the vents. Around twenty thousand original graphic humor works belong to the institution, which at present is a traveling museum, commented Maradei. The exhibition offer is free, he assured, but the fairs must fund the transfer and care of the material. If the municipalities wishes it so, after the fairs end, the exhibition can continue in a museum or a place designated by the city, he surmised.
In closing, it was the turn of Alejandro Dujovne, CONICET researcher on subjects related to the book world and publishing. Argentine book fairs in perspective, was his presentation, which encompassed an analysis of the events and the role that they can exert. Dujovne analyzed the fairs as expressions of the state of the industry, but also as instances for their development. In his exposition, he added that a fundamental role in these events is putting the book problem in the center of the public agenda, and that its power should grow working with all the actors in the sectors. Moving forward, Dujovne proposed a possible study agenda of the fairs in the rest of country, in order to typify them and analyze the tension between the cultural and the commercial dimension, characteristic elements of the publishing industry.
“We do not give up, and we move on”, affirmed Oche Califa, closing the activity and inviting to continue and develop more book fairs in all the country.
In a crowded Victoria Ocampo hall, Daniel Benchimol gave his conference The publishing industry facing the year 2020: challenges and opportunities. He began outlining an overview of the sector in relation with other creative industries, defined as an “era of overabundance” of production in relation with sales. In this context, he wondered about the role of the publisher/bookseller, and he proposed some ideas to go through this moment in a better way.
Centered on the concept of “content”, he extended an invitation to diversify productions, incorporate other languages (like audio), explore digital platforms for crowdfunding and publication of stories.
Benchimol also proposed to migrate to a dynamic centered on the reader, for which he claimed that the analysis of data and social networks as a space where the public “speaks” are fundamental.
Regarding, libraries, the incumbent of Proyecto 451 proposed to leave behind the transactional in order to generate an “experience”. This means to go from being a mere point of sale to offering the public much more than buying a book.
In closing, he proposed a kind of manifesto for the 2020 industry: it has to be multiformat and multichannel, more collaborative, more efficient in distribution, it has to listen to its audience, stay away from “the tyranny of novelty” and explore new business models.
In the Domingo Faustino Sarmiento hall Britta Juergs (Aviva Verlag, Berlin), Raquel Menezes (Oficina Raquel, Rio de Janeiro), Ana Ojeda (Editorial Paidós, Buenos Aires) and Constanza Brunet (Editorial Marea, Buenos Aires) talked in the conference Now that we are read. Women of the book world in Argentina, Brasil y Alemania.
Raquel Menezes began by explaining that her label publishes literature written by women. In order to synthetically describe the gender inequality, Raquel claimed that while a woman writes, she does housework; when a man does it, he just drinks coffee… The brazilian writer added that in executive roles women are a minority. “When there is a lot of money, we don’t get to make decisions”, she concluded.
Following that, Britta Juergs recalled that she began publishing women from the 1920s and 1930s because other publishing houses would not do it, and also, because she is interested in recovering the feminine part of history and culture. In relation to the place of women in German books, Juergs affirmed that they are more present in executive roles, but she focused on a study on book reviews, and the great majority were written by men. According to the dominant stereotypes, she added, there are subjects that seem to be well addressed by men only.
Ana Ojeda, of Editorial Paidos and until 2016 of the independent label El Octavo Loco, wondered if a female CEO guarantees that the company is feminist. “Maybe it changes the internal culture, the way of organizing it, but not necessarily the cultural product”, she affirmed.
Ojeda added that the place of women in literature also depends on its circulation. The circuit would be like this: there invisible women because they allegedly don’t have readers, but they don’t have readers because they haven’t been published. “Inequalities are absolutely taken for granted”, she concluded.
Constanza Brunet added that according to the Cámara Argentina del Libro, 24% of publishing house are run by women.
Then, the speakers had an exchange regarding the experiences of women that organize for equality in culture, inclusive language, and sexual and racial minorities.
In the Carlos Gorostiza hall took place the second day of the Ciclo Miradas with round tables on subjects central to the activity.
First, it was Marketing editorial’s turn, with Antonela De Alva, from Guadal, Florencia Ure, from Redacción y and Iñaki Vázquez Álvarez (Spain), from Valor de cambio.
After that, took place the table Diverse forms of distribution: self distribution, national distribution and abroad, and digital distribution with Anibal Ilguisonis, from Ediciones Journal, Maria Belen Marinone Soriano, from Indie Books/ Bajalibros, Abel Moretti, from V&R editoras, and Manuel Rud, from Limonero.
Day 3 – Thursday 25
Education, neurosales and two special libraries
For the third day, the Professional Days continued with the agenda of meetings where attendees exchanged opinions and were trained to enrich their work.
In the Adolfo Bioy Casares hall, the Forum of Ibero-American educators was held. It was a meeting between educational publishers in Latin America to find solutions to the common problems of the sector, with the participation of Jorge Muñoz Rau and Jaume Vicens, of the International Publishers Association (IPA).
The table dealt with the situation of educational publishing, the role of new technologies and copyright. This led to a a debate with the audience about the consumption of digital content when technology and connectivity are not accessible, as it happens in some regions of our country.
Another point of exchange occurred when the Uruguayan Book Chamber reported on the State’s initiative to produce educational materials and distribute them free of charge to primary schools throughout the territory. The measure, which is repeated in other countries of the region and Europe, was defined as unfair competition between the states and the publishers.
In closing, the speakers invited the attendees to form an IPA Latin American space, with the aim of diagnosing the situation and looking for common and particular lines of work for each country and publisher. The concrete proposal is to build a network and meet again at the Guadalajara Fair.
In the afternoon, in the room Carlos Gorostiza the Booksellers meeting was held. First, it was the turn of the Neuroventas Workshop applied to the Bookstore given by Pablo Braidot. During the two hours of the activity, Braidot explained central concepts in order to provide tools and tips applicable to sales. With this objective, the workshop had two instances of play.
Due to the emphasis on the emotions of the buyer, Braidot proposed to work with “somatic markers” (aromas, music, for example) in order to generate a pleasant sensation in the visitors to the bookstore. In the same sense, he proposed a series of negotiation techniques applied in order to reach a better deal with the buyer.
In closing, the speaker synthesized some recommendations: make a relaxing environment, list the benefits of the product, remember the previous agreements with the buyer, and know how to close the sale at the right time.
Then, in the same room, it was the turn of the round table The booksellers of Barcelona, with the presence of Antonio Ramírez, of La Central and Isabel Sucunza, of La Calders.
Both began referencing Saint George’s Day, when every April 23 the Catalans celebrate their patron giving away books and roses, and Barcelona becomes a great bookstore in the streets.
Regarding his bookstores, Ramírez defined them as two different times in the city. La Central was born in the mid-nineties, when Barcelona was in full re-boost after the 1992 Olympic Games. La Calders, on the other hand, was founded in 2014, when the economic crisis that began in 2008 had not ended.
About La Central, its owner recalled that they started as a specialized bookshop and became a “special” bookstore, where they curate the sales catalog carefully. Then they grew and became a chain of five bookstores that maintain the criteria of selection, always oriented to philosophy and social sciences.
On the situation of bookstores in Barcelona, Ramírez commented that the commercial hubs in the city changed because the big fashion brands settled in certain places, made them more expensive, and forced other shops to be located in areas of less circulation. On the other hand, online sales grew. In this context, he wondered what a library can do. The answer was to give a personal touch to the place in order to attract the flow of the public and its permanence. That is why they propose an agenda of workshops and “paid” activities that increase audience attendance beyond the purchase of books.
Meanwhile, La Calders began at a time of boom sales of objects complementary of books. Given this, Isabel Sucunza recalled that they decided to sell only books. In relation to the catalog, he noted that they also have a selection criteria, in their case of literature and poetry, with a curricula according to their activities. Since the bookstore has a specific place for poetry, he commented that the place became a reference space for the poets of the city.
Before closing, both booksellers discussed some strategies to attract public through social networks.
Day 4 – Friday 26
An intense closing day
The Professional Sessions reached its last day, and like the previous ones, they were not short of opportunities to debate and train.
In the morning, the second part of the Seminar on Copyright Management for the Publishing Industry in the Digital Era began, organized by the National Directorate of Copyright (DNDA), CADRA, the National Endowment of the Arts, Fundación El Libro Foundation, the Argentine Chamber of Books and the Argentine Chamber of Publications.
On the table Adaptations and derivative works. Communicating glasses between audiovisual works, videogames and literature with the participation of Gustavo Schotz (DNDA) and Marcelo Piñeyro, (scriptwriter and film director).
The talk dealt with the implications for the defense of copyright in literary works reproduced in movies, video games, and other languages. The forms of adaptation, creation and ownership of the characters were central themes addressed by the panelists.
To address an adaptation, Schotz said, it is important to take into account the ownership of the characters, and the more detailed their description, the less margin the interpreters will have to modify them. As an example, he cited the case of “Minguito”, a character whose authorship was shared between the author and the actor who played it.
Then it was the turn of Stella Maris Rozas (Editorial Heliasta) at the table To infinity and beyond. Foreign trade of literary editions. In his presentation, Rozas gave a detailed explanation of the export process and then a brief review of the import process.
Books with special bindings aimed at babies are, with very few exceptions, printed abroad (China, Korea, Singapore, United Arab Emirates) because of the high cost involved in making them here. These are considered imported even thought their intellectual production takes place in our country.
In the Julio Cortazar hall, Contec Argentina 2019 took place throughout the day, a space organized by the Frankfurt Book Fair to exchange experiences among publishing professionals and other cultural industries.
In the afternoon, first it was the turn of the round table New (digital) business models. Moderated by Carlo Carrenho, from Publishnews (Brazil), participated Elena Bazan, from Bookwire (Mexico), Miguel Ángel Sánchez Maza, from Podiprint (Spain) and Cynthia Spaggiari, from Leiturinha (Brazil).
Bookwire provides a service of digital distribution of audiobooks and eBooks, explained Bazán, and emphasized the importance of data analytics to better understand what is sold and to whom. He added that in times of crisis, the digital business is a first step to find other types of businesses. For those who doubt that type of distribution, he said that “it is a possibility to reach other markets,” as with the Spanish book.
Meanwhile, Sánchez Maza reviewed the history of the companies that preceded Podiprint, a “one to one” printing service. His business offers the publisher to leave the classic paradigm, and switch to the logic “sell first, then produce”, he illustrated. When it comes to the doubts regarding the quality of digital printing of very low print run, he assured that the technology being used is apt for works of high complexity.
In turn, Cyntia Spaggiari explained that Leiturinha is a readers club for children in Brazil, via a system of distribution of children’s content by subscription. It is sold online, and each month they send the Leiturinha kit to the child’s name. The content of the kits is purchased from the publishers, organized by age and selected by a group of professionals, with attention to the parents’ opinion. Thus they managed to generate a boom of readers’ clubs, which are in danger of extinction in other parts of the world. “Success lays in listening to the reader’s wishes,” said Spaggiari, adding that based on that, every month they evaluate. “Many parents began to read from their children’s readings”, she shared with excitement. Before the consultation on whether this model is possible in Argentina, she explained that due to inflation it would be very difficult for it work, at least in the short term.
Following that, took place the round table Metadata. Relevance for sales and how to proceed, with the participation of Francisco Goyanes, from Librería Calamo (Spain), Carlos Rojas, from Metabooks (Mexico / Germany), Ignacio Artola, from the Red de Editoriales Universitarias (REUN) and Juan Izquierdo Brown, from Riverside-Agency (Argentina). The table was coordinated by Daniel Benchimol, from Proyecto451 (Argentina).
At the table there was a debate on how data management makes commercial practice more efficient. The existence of common platforms saves work time. “Processing data takes time from our specific work” informed the bookseller Goyanes.
From the publishers, generating a collective base of catalogs is also helpful, which was done in REUN, informed Artola. Their platform allows them to cross information and articulate books by discipline.
Regarding who should do the work, all agreed that publishers should undertake it. “It should go through entire publishing process” marked Artola. Izquierdo Brown added as a counterpoint that “the publisher knows the book but the bookseller knows the reader”. This implies that they cannot remain totally alien to the metadata development process. “The curatorship of the bookseller is fundamental, the classification can never replace the human criterion of a bookseller” said Rojas to emphasize the importance and prospects of a profession which at present is in crisis.
Also on Friday was the Conference for Designers Design for Reading, organized by the Chair of Typography III of the Facultad de Arquitectura, Diseño y Urbanismo, Universidad de Buenos Aires and Fundación El Libro.
Carolina Silva, participant of the business rounds: “It is a possibility to socialize the books that one produces. We, Cará Catá, are a very small, independent publisher of children’s books. We have two books and we are in the process of a third and we have already participated in previous years and the truth is that reception is always good and the possibility of showcasing our books. “
Gabriela Vargas, commercial director of Los Muchos Libros: “For us it is very important. It is an opportunity that first shows you how is the publishing industry here in Argentina. I come from Mexico and our job is to attend different university libraries on the one hand, and on the other hand, to make purchases for bookstores in the United States, so this round of business allows us to know the world and to make purchases without intermediaries, to get to know and interact with the people from the publishers allows us to do our work “.
Sandra Martínez, librarian of the José C. Paz Institute school: “The professional days are very enriching. I am a librarian and it is good to know the publisher changes, such as when one publisher buys the other; the presentations of new books, new activities in different areas that I think is great to work with the kids. You get to know about projects or new congresses that are going to take place during the year and it’s very good to know and that’s why I always come.”
Francisco Arguelles, managing director of Editorial Arguval, Malaga, Spain: “I come every year. It is one of the best fairs in America. For the publisher it is an opportunity to meet with my distributor here in Argentina and be able to see many of the distributors and buyers from the rest of the countries in the area because here I have opportunities to see all the buyers of Peru in a couple of days, Ecuador, Panama, practically of all Hispano-America.”
Cecilia Palacios, representative of Penguin Random House in contracts and foreign rights, participant of the Rights Area: “For us it is the first time that we are participating and we have expectations that people who are wish our catalog was available in other languages so that they can be translated and the work of Argentine authors can be disseminated in other countries of the world that are not Spanish-speaking.”
Alex Correa, president of the US company Lectorum Publications, participant in the presentation of librarians from the United States: “We come every year to the Buenos Aires Book Fair because it is definitely one of the most important fairs of books in that exist in the world and we always come with a group of librarians and academics to look at all the Argentine publishing production that is very rich and very important “.
Alejo Avila, director of Editorial El Naranjo and vice president of the Professionals Commission: “For us, the Fair and the Professional Sessions are very important because it is where we connect with our national and international buyers and explore new business possibilities”.
Monica Arizcun, in charge of the booth of the Federation of Publishers Guilds of Spain: “We have brought 36 publishers and all of them will be working these days. Each one already has its own fair distributor, some are looking for distribution and for us it is quite important because the publishing sector of Spain has a lot of presence here in Argentina.”