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News 20 Nov 15

Romania Fair Booms in Tough World For Books

This year's Gaudeamus international book fair in Bucharest looks set to attract huge numbers - in spite of the fact that almost 40 per of Romanians no longer read any books at all.

Marian Chiriac
BIRN
Bucharest
Booming book fair disguises reading's death in Romania | Photo: BIRN.

More than 100,000 Romanians are expected to visit the main book fair in the capital, Bucharest, from November 18 to 22 November, which suggest that reading is alive and well in the country.

This year, 300 local and foreign publishers will present their editions to book lovers at special discounts. Some 700 editorial and professional events, including poetry readings, musical performances and interviews with writers, will also take place.

This year’s guest of honor is GADIF, the Group of Embassies, Delegations and Francophone Institutions in Romania.
The fair has also a children’s corner with various programmes dedicated to children’s literature.

Despite a poor economic context, people are still coming to the fair, not only because of the books but for the event as a whole.

"Such an event is a cultural cornucopia. I have the impression here that books and writing and literacy is really important,” says Adrian Vladescu, a literature teacher.

But while big book fairs continue to flourish, industry specialists are pessimistic about the future of reading in Romania as a whole.

The number of people reading literature is constantly falling, official data show.

A study carried out by the National Institute for Cultural Research showed that as many as 39 per cent of Romanians did not read any books at all last year. Another 16 per cent read only "one or two times per month", while only 18 per cent read everyday.

"The culture of reading books is dwindling. In recent years, the situation changed radically, with television and Internet replacing reading as most people's daily habit. We survive on a small market,” says Flori Vitelaru, from a Bucharest-based publishing house.

The average price of a book in Romania is of 30 lei, or around 6.7 euro.

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