Saturday, May 9, 2009

Librex International Book Fair

Over the past few years it became sort of a tradition to go to the book fair in the spring and return home with a bag full of books. The tradition also says that Dad pays for them. This year he kinda cheated, meaning that he went ahead to prospect the market and got his art books before we could all go. The Librex fair opened on 6th of May in Iasi and it was supposed to close on Sunday, on 11. We waited for the weekend to go there and see the offers. Saturday afternoon seemed like a good time to do it, the weather was great and there was still Sunday ahead to do the reading and enjoy our purchases.

As we walked down the street leading to Sala Polivalenta we couldn’t help notice that among the people coming up the hill towards the Palace of Culture were very few those who carried bags with what looked like books inside. What we feared became true once we got inside. Although there was a decent amount of visitors and discounts on every other stand, the number of actual buyers was considerably small. It was enough to look at the vendors’ bored faces to figure out the sells didn’t do well.

We started to the right, glad that we didn’t have to battle the crowd for a change. With a little patience, we could stop by each stand and check out the titles without being squeezed upon or breathed down our back. A voice was coming out through the speakers, too loud to the point of being annoying, a book launch or something, but that didn’t interest us, we were there for the books.

And books there were. Last year I missed the fair because of a cold, but before that the fair seemed to be smaller when it was hosted inside the Palace. Now there were over 100 publishing houses and a dozen of importers attending, or least that’s what the papers said. The numbers seem a little blown up to me but the place was nicely filled.

We did a full tour not missing one stand, big or small, important or not, interesting or not. From those that did interest me, I would have to say that Nemira was disappointing, from an aesthetical point of view but regarding the content as well. I was familiar with most of the titles, and those that might interest me I had to restrain myself and remember that I still had six coupons waiting to be used so I better spend my money somewhere else. The two boxes with books with a ridiculous high discount were rather tacky. No need to say people didn’t even look at them.

RAO looked good, it was probably one of the largest rented spaces, with classy bookshelves and small tables in the middle, on one of them the Twilight series being displayed and we gagged as we passed by it. Surprisingly, the place was almost empty, rarely one or two people entered to look at the books.

Vis-à-vis from it, Corint Junior looked nice and inviting full of colors as it was.

About an hour or so later we found ourselves approaching the exit and realized that we hadn’t bought a single book. Shock, horror, bitter laughter. Sadness. No, that would not do. We went back in because after all we did have to support the book industry. Long story cut short, I ended up getting The Time Traveler’s Wife and a couple of Neil Gaiman novels while little brother picked some fantasy books with a sexy chick on the cover, cause of course he didn’t bother to read the abstract on the back.

So now it’s not only the book industry, and world in general, that is going through a crisis. I have one week to finish a website and five books are winking at me from the corner of the desk. Feel free to guess what I am going to do tomorrow.

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