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Brazilian booksellers face wave of closures that leave sector in crisis

11 December 2018

From The Guardian:

“These are dark days for the book in Brazil”, one of the country’s leading publishers has warned, after crises at the country’s two largest bookstore chains have left many worried that many towns may be left without a single bookstore.

After announcing the closure of 20 stores in October, book chain Saraiva announced in late November that it was filing for bankruptcy protection, citing a crisis in the publishing market that combined steady declines in the price of books with rising inflation. Rival chain Cultura has also filed a reorganisation plan to avoid bankruptcy this autumn. Brazil is in the middle of its worst recession in decades, with the October election of the far-right populist Jair Bolsonaro as the country’s next president sending ripples of fear through the country’s cultural community.

In a widely shared “love letter to books”, Companhia das Letras co-founder Luiz Schwarcz has laid out the stark reality of Brazil’s current book market, urging readers to buy books this Christmas to help the sector survive.

“It remains impossible to predict the full extent of the knock-on effects of this crisis, but they are nonetheless already terrifying … Here, many towns are about to be left without a single bookstore, and publishers are now faced with the challenge of getting their books out to readers and have to deal with significant accumulated loss,” wrote Schwarcz, who won a lifetime achievement award at the 2017 London book fair.

He added: “Publishing houses in Brazil have already been launching fewer new titles, dropping slow sellers from their immediate plans, and letting staff go. With Cultura and Saraiva in receivership, dozens of stores have been closed, hundreds of booksellers laid off and publishers’ revenues slashed by 40% or more, leaving a massive hole that threatens to engulf the publishing market in Brazil.”

. . . .

 Brazilian writer Paolo Scott told the Guardian that the crisis had had an enormous negative impact on writers’ lives: “Their book releases are being postponed, their book sales are not being passed on to them, publishers have been much more cautious about what they are going to publish.”

Link to the rest at The Guardian

Books in General

3 Comments to “Brazilian booksellers face wave of closures that leave sector in crisis”

  1. It looks like the “bookstores are back” message hasn’t been translated to Portuguese…

    The weak economy, high discounts to attract the consumer, high costs to maintain stores and disinterest for reading are some of the reasons that explain the delicate situation of bookstore networks. Amazon’s arrival in Brazil in 2014 brought another dynamic to the book segment: online sales and lower prices.

    The cash situation is so complicated that Cultura and its rival Saraiva, for example, can no longer sell Bookwire e-books, the main distributor in Brazil, because they have not paid for the catalog since January. Mythos, a publisher specializing in comics, also suspended supplies for the two retailers. Even with large market share, they have been suspending payments and renegotiating deadlines with suppliers.

    For Eduardo Terra, president of the Brazilian Society of Retail and Consumer Affairs, bookstores need to reinvent their business model. One of the alternatives is to bring more supply of food, services and events, since the margins with sale of books are low.

  2. “{He added: “Publishing houses in Brazil have already been launching fewer new titles, dropping slow sellers from their immediate plans, and letting staff go.”

    Now where have we heard that very same song and dance of woe from?

    Da interweb thingy is BAD because it’s putting all these poor people out of business! Please buy books (but only from our stores) to save our business.

    Adapt or die.

    MYMV and you not give gift cards for places that close before they can be redeemed. 😉

  3. Brazil was *the* emerging book market for several years, with stories of impressive growth. So it sounds like some of these chains just outpaced their cash flow.

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