Book fair in Antigua

Book fair in Antigua

La Antigua Guatemala was founded as Santiago de los Caballeros de Guatemala (Saint James of the Lords of Guatemala) on July 25th, 1524 at a location now known as Ciudad Vieja and then moved to its present location in 1543 (about 2 miles to the north from the founding site). I tell you this, so you know why July is the town’s fair and why as part of the fair activities there is a book fair. Books are a luxury in Guatemala and the levels of readership are probably among the lowest in America.

Nonetheless, here are some interesting figures: there are 69 book publishers in Guatemala, 29 are big industrial businesses. There are only 450 points of sale for the whole country, 50% of those outlets are pharmacies. 70% of the editorial market comes from Spain, Mexico and Colombia. Guatemala is the only country in the region that taxes books (12% is the tax at the register). These figures came from a recent interview with Cecilia Baily, president of the Gremial de Editores de Guatemala (book publishers association) in the July 2006 issue of Recrearte magazine (available as PDF download in Spanish). There are two international book fairs that will start on 28th of July in Guatemala City. FILGUA, International Book Fair in Guatemala and FILCEN, International Book Fair in Central America merged on a single huge event; if you can read Spanish you can hop over to my other blog for a longer description of Filgua and Filcen.

Tags: / / / / /

© 2006 – 2017, Rudy Giron. All rights reserved.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
  • The arches are a real focal point in the photo. I appreciate the way you always try to educate us on your photo and country.

  • The arches are beautiful…and of course I love books.

    Do you have a local library?

  • That’s a really high tax for books! The arches are very beautiful.

    Good questions, Sarah! Do you have any libraries?

  • I remember the poet John Whitehead who lived in Antigua [and maybe still does] saying that people there appreciated literature more than is so in some other countries.

  • Kate, I am glad you noticed the arches. I saw two repetitive patterns, the arches and the stacks of books. On the other hand, I do not try to educate anyone here, I am simply trying to share the information I come across.

    Sarah, there are probably 6 or 7 public libraries in Antigua. In most of them, you have to read the materials on site; they don’t have check-outs. The library at the Compañía de Jesús building which belongs to Centro Iberoamericano de Formación (Cooperación Española) does have check outs, so that is the one my wife and I use.

    Carol, 12% is the sales tax in Guatemala. We have really high sales taxes in Mexico and Central America. Income tax is low though, somewhere between 5% and 10%. Irony is that Guatemala is the only country in Mesoamerica that taxes books.

    Gerard, you are right, the people that do read here have a better and larger universal knowledge of literature.

  • Rudy — What a coincidence! I posted on the same day on my non Daily Photo blog, Passante’s World, about a book market in the cloisters of the Vieille Bourse building in Lille, where I was a couple of weeks ago.

  • Pingback: Antigua Guatemala Daily Photo » Blog Archive » Spinning tops()