While some of us spent the pandemic working our way through the Netflix back catalogue of films and TV series, others opened a book. According to figures released yesterday by the Valencia government, 58% of the population read books during lockdown, an increase on the normal reading levels.
Speaking yesterday at the opening of the 56th Valencia Book Fair, regional president, Ximo Puig, said that there had also been an increase of 11.25% in the use of e-books edited in the region, almost double the national average of 6.11%.
The book fair, which is held in the Viveros gardens, runs from 14 to 24 October and boasts 60 exhibitors, 83 stands and 800 authors signing their works, as well as offering nine round tables on intersting subjects, among other cultural activities related to books and reading.
Puig also announced a 25% increase in the budget for activities to encouraging reading along with proposing a ‘readig pact’ between the book sector and public and private institutions. That translates as more than 4.5 million Euros to improve and consolidate reading levels. The Pactem per la Lectura will be led by the government working with universities, local administrations and entities within the sector with a commitment to work together and adapt to the demands of the readers, increasing rates of reading, supporting authors and ensuring benefits across the board in the book industry: libraries, publishers, bookshops and distributors.
The initiative will be one of the first actions in the second phase of the Valencian Plan to Encourage Books and Reading, and will begin once the current 2017-2021 plan comes to an end. Under that plan the Valencian government has invested 25 million Euros during the past five years.
Puig commented that “books and literatire break down the walls of ignorance, which generate intolerance, ” which is why he encouraged reading given that it helps generate “citizens who are free” and a society which is “fairer, more empathetic and more progressive”.
The book fair is the second largest in the country, both in terms of commercial volume and visitors, and it is organised by the Valencia Book Fair Foundation with the Valencia Guild of Bookshops.
For more information visit https://firallibre.com/