After eighty-eight years of existence, Catalonia, Barcelona famous bookstore, will close its doors to be replaced by a fast-food. An alarm that applies to the entire corporation.
Those who have not yet fallen in love with a bookstore should obtain a copy of 84 Charing Cross Road (1970), the book of Helene Hanff (1916-1997) which reproduces the correspondence that has kept American writer for twenty years with the purchasing manager of a bookstore in London, Marks & Co, whose address was given its title to the book. The beautiful story by Helene Hanff us comes to mind when we pass the number 3 Ronda Sant Pere [a few meters from the Plaza Catalunya in Barcelona]. The Llibreria Catalonia, some clients attend fifty years, has announced it will close its doors on January 30.
“There are those who had kept the habit of their grandparents were conducting a monthly payment on which they counted down their purchases,” said its director, Miquel Colomer. Maybe one day someone will write a book about it one of these subtle relationships that were forged between readers and booksellers confidence.
Of falling profits
In the meantime, the alarm is pulled. Catalan libraries would they shutting one after the other? Statistically, the answer is no. The total number of libraries continues. Question turnover, it is another story. The crisis that began in 2008 has collapsed profits. This year, most booksellers consulted record decreases between 1 and 3%, while the cumulative decline in sales over the last three years is about 20%.
We think all this wandering among the shelves what, for a few days, the library is still Catalonia. A library that is based eighty-eight years Borràs Manuel de Quadras. To do this, he had to ask for money from his mother, enlightened bourgeois, who had said: “I’ll give you money, but to be a bookseller as it should.” This was reflected in the entrance to the capital, as a partner, Antonio López Bookseller Llausàs who, many years later, in exile in Buenos Aires, was the first editor of One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel García Márquez novel.
Llausàs already had a settlement on the Rambla. He especially contacts with the best of Catalan intelligentsia of the time, especially with Josep Maria Cruzet, which would form with them the founding trio. The three men went to Paris to draw inspiration and found that the City of Light libraries were not grocery stores, but authentic venues where cultural commitment to reading and thirst knowledge were apparent. Thus, Catalonia has also become a publisher, a print, a newsagent and a place where we had books and where they organized exhibitions.
The Catalonia is La Casa del Libro
The library had to expand, and in 1931 she moved into the premises of the Ronda Sant Pere. There, we heard lectures Lorca, of Baroja, Andreu Nin or Eugenio d’Ors. On the front, a poster proclaimed in Catalan: “El món ed governat pels llibres” [The world is governed by books].
After the war [civil] Borràs there Cruzet continued their activity, but they were forced to change the name of the library Catalan and renamed La Casa del Libro [Home Book]. In the 1940s and 1950s, they encouraged the celebration of Sant Jordi [feast during which traditionally offers a rose and a book], exposing the books in the street. Then they created the Nit de Santa Llúcia [Night of St. Lucia Day Catalan literature].
Work and Borràs Cruzet – who committed suicide in 1962 – was sued in 1974 by the son of the first, Sebastià Borràs still associated. It gave back to the library to its original name, but he had to close after the fire of 1979. He opened in 1982, selling it to Bertelsmann [the German media group] in 1998. But in 2003 he was able to redeem by partnering with Miquel Colomer and four regional libraries.
Do not open a bookstore
Miquel Colomer explains that 2008 was the last year the beneficiary. It excludes open another bookstore. “Today, I would not recommend anyone to start a library,” he says. He recalled that the chain bookstores technical Díaz de Santos or Happy Books
the Pelai have recently closed, and the French bookstore Jaimes, on the Paseo de Gracia, looking for a new location.
Marta Ramoneda, The Central library, said: “The fundamental problem is the collapse of the consumer, not the digital book.” And adds: “We feel that we must work hard to yield paltry and precarious. The more complicated it is to fight for the attention of the public: most people seem to be interested in things foreign to books and culture in general. ”
Sector moves. Central reinvents itself with its new headquarters in Madrid, where the gastronomic offer and related activities play a vital role. Other libraries open cafeteria. Corporation and launches portal Liberdrac, national competitor Amazon, “whose taxes do not go to Luxembourg,” as is the case of the American giant. At 84 Charing Cross Street, London, this is a restaurant that Med Kitchen is installed. In 3 of the ronda Sant Pere, from next summer, there will be a McDonald’s …