A sector of the Book Fair organization asks for the resignation of its director

The director of the Madrid Book Fair, Manuel Gil, has launched a smoke bomb. After the statements on the intentional allocation of the booths of the central islet, which have recorded worse sales than the side, social networks burned, but Gil has not given explanations. When he was asked, at the press conference to evaluate the Fair, about the criteria for placing some or other publishers in the center, he replied that “it was a studied decision”. “We put publishers with small catalogues and those who need to join forces with other publishers in the isle”, he added. This response has not gone down well with the publishers who have been harmed.

Since the controversy broke out, the Fair’s Organising Committee has spent “literally 24 hours” studying “the regulations in order to respond to what has happened”, according to internal sources. The Commission is made up of members of the booksellers’ and publishers’ guilds, as well as the main distributors. “There are so many nuances to Gil’s statements that we don’t even know where to start. I hope he is reflecting on how he has managed the situation and, above all, how badly he has communicated how the central stands were awarded,” says one of the members of the organisation, who preferred not to give his name. “Theoretically it had been agreed that the three-meter booths would be on the islet, which would be the ones with the publishers with little depth. Some of them were on the sides and others on the island”, although Gil pointed out in his press appearance that they had not been drawn by lot. These sources point out that the reason for the island to be made up of three-meter booths while the large groups created long stands of up to nine booths together is logistics.

This Thursday is held the Board of the Guild of Booksellers, organizer of the Book Fair, which takes place every time you finish an edition, to assess it and put together possible improvements. “This year it is urgent,” say internal sources. Manuel Gil has not wanted to clarify to this media what his plans are for the Board, but the management of the crisis of confidence leaves much to be desired, according to some medium-sized publishers. Jorge Lago, from Lengua de Trapo publishing house, feels “pissed off” because “after all the noise and criticism” no one from the organisation has contacted them to give them an explanation. “They should recognize that they didn’t know how to manage, or that they did it this way for a reasonable reason,” he says. For Lago, the feeling is that “nobody is at the wheel and they don’t have the slightest consideration” for small and medium-sized publishers.

Cards on the table

“We’re going to lay a number of cards on the table at the board meeting. One of them is that the director should step down,” says the organising committee member. In the publishing sector, “the necessary replacement” and that “Gil retires as soon as possible” resounds. In the 80 years of the Madrid Book Fair there has not been a female director and “it would be appropriate to have a woman at the head, not because of positive discrimination, but because of justice and criteria”, says the member of the Committee. Despite this, the Book Fair assures elDiario.es that Manuel Gil will continue as director.

Several of the publishing houses affected by the logistics of the Fair of El Retiro and the bad sales of this edition -that although only they have descended a 10% at general level, for some it has supposed losses of up to 40% with regard to previous years- are making a manifesto to expose his complaints and “to ask for responsibilities for breaking the Regulation” with regard to the random adjudication of the positions. From the publishing house Libros del K.O., responsible for the publication of Fariña, Emilio Sánchez Mediavilla assures that it has had around 35% less sales. “We are hot because the declarations of Gil seem to us unacceptable and unfair. We thought that the place, which is fundamental to sell more or less, was awarded by a draw in which all of us, big and small, started from the same conditions”, he says.

Christina Linares, from the publishing house Renacimiento, reveals that she returns to Seville “with 80 boxes full”. “The central area has been a ghost zone. I only ask for empathy on the part of the organization,” she adds. With a catalogue of 2,500 titles and three publishing imprints, he doesn’t know why he was given a three-metre stand. “This monumental anger is because there is a total lack of communication. You trust them but you don’t know why they decide one thing or another,” he says. Being a publisher from outside Madrid, outside the organizing guild, Linares has paid more for the rent. “It seems that, as it has been an almost miraculous Fair due to the circumstances, we can only give thanks and not question the ill-advised decisions that have been taken”.

Masterchef” Fair

Santiago Palacios, bookseller at Sin Tarima, has been participating in the Book Fair for 42 years. Next weekend he hopes to take some time to write a text with constructive criticism and send it to the Fair’s management. “I was in stand 33, a prodigiously good place. I had the best Feria of my life. But that doesn’t prevent me from knowing that I had some problems.important efficiencies such as weekends have been blocked rhythms by the signatures of the stars. Palacios assures that “if we don’t take care, the Fair will get out of hand and will end up only in signings of ‘Masterchef characters'”. Regarding the big problem of the capacity limit, the bookseller wonders: “How can there be problems with the capacity and people sitting all morning having a coffee inside? And he suggests that it would be “more coherent” to put the two cafeterias outside.

For the publishing house Alpha Decay, with a community of followers of more than 20,000 users, the fair has gone “regulera”. Julia Echevarría is the editor of the general collection. She disagrees with Gil’s declarations in which he justified that the big differences between the sales of large and small companies were due to the fact that “what you pay for is to have a good brand or a large community behind you”. “I feel indignation because that’s the only thing we small publishers have: community and a reinforced brand,” says Echevarría. “Sales have dropped because the organization was very bad, not only the place, but also the limited capacity and the two-hour queue to get in, which a fan of a youtuber will do, but older people, for example, will not,” she adds. Another editor, who was not in the central isle and recognizes that sales have gone “well for how badly they have gone to others”, says that “the roll of the brand and the community behind it aims to blame the publishers”. “As if to say: ‘You’ve done badly because you haven’t done a good job’. And here we need less marketing and more fair organization,” he says.

The patience of readers

The perspective of the big publishers is necessarily different. One of them, Grupo Planeta, has brought more than 200 authors and 400 signing sessions to the Fair. Nahir Gutiérrez, communications coordinator for Grupo Planeta’s Publishing Division, says that “the measure of the success” of their participation is that all their authors “have been happy and grateful for this reunion with their readers”. For this publishing house, which has not suffered the logistical problems of others, the most impressive thing “has been to see the response of the readers, the patient queues at almost any time of the weekends or the curiosity of a Fair in which, for the first time, it was at night”.

Last Saturday, eleven publishers signed a critical text that they sent to the direction and to which this newspaper has had access. It states that “the time has come to give a twist to the current management of the Book Fair to ensure its future and avoid the follies, errors and bad organization and abuse of power that has presided over the edition that has now ended”. They consider “incomprehensible” that the control of the capacity was maintained coinciding with the relaxation of some restrictions for closed spaces, such as the cinema, decreed by the Community of Madrid with the fair already started. This manifesto considers an “abuse of power” the placement of institutional advertising without prior notice in the booths of publishers and booksellers in Madrid without informing about the economic impact associated with such advertising.

Previous Why are murders in the U.S. up 30% in one year?
This is the most recent story.

Suggested Posts

Bangladesh vs Sri Lanka 3rd ODI Live Streaming: When and

‘Utterly ridiculous, witch hunt has to stop’: Vaughan on investigation

Study finds how dream job and job you get are

Giovani Santillan ready for “big fight” in next outing: “I’m

Andre Ward talks Haney, Stevenson & Lomachenko ⋆ Boxing News

My idea as a leader is to keep everyone together,

No Comment

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.