Image for A novel idea: the plan to support Spain’s bookshops through the pandemic

A novel idea: the plan to support Spain’s bookshops through the pandemic

In Catalonia a project has been launched to help neighbourhood bookshops stay afloat during the lockdown

In Catalonia a project has been launched to help neighbourhood bookshops stay afloat during the lockdown

Times are tough for independent businesses that have been forced to shutter their stores as part of the response to the Covid-19 pandemic. But in Catalonia, eastern Spain, local high-street bookshops have been given a lifeline.

That’s thanks to the Llibreries Obertes (‘Open Bookstores’) campaign, which is raising funds to make sure neighbourhood bookshops can open again after the lockdown is lifted.

Although bookshops are currently closed in Spain, the initiative allows people to buy books from their local stores now, which they will receive once shops re-open. The stores can then use the funds to cover urgent payments.

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The campaign, which launched on 23 March, was started by SOM, a co-operative of publishers in Catalonia, and Mortensen, a digital design agency in Barcelona, which are not taking commissions on the sales.

As of 1 April, more than 3,000 books had been sold, according to the Llibreries Obertes website, and 300 shops had signed up, mostly in Catalonia but also in nearby cities such as Valencía.

Last March, 800,000 books were sold in Catalonia, according to the campaign’s website. Likewise, April is typically a big month for book sales, as Catalonians traditionally buy books as gifts to celebrate the Diada de Sant Jordi or St George’s Day. The campaign’s initial target is 30,785 books – the equivalent of one day’s sales in March 2019.

Main image: Dustin Tramel

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