Guadalajara returns as a hybrid event

In 2020, the organizers of the Guadalajara International Book Fair (FIL) were forced to cancel the fair in person due to the pandemic and instead opted for a virtual program. This year, the show returns with a hybrid in-person and online event, from November 27 to December 5.

In its previous in-person iteration in 2019, FIL attracted 800,000 members of the public, 2,300 publishing professionals and 300 rights directors. This year will be much smaller, with an approved maximum capacity of 12,500 at the fairgrounds in two different shifts,

From 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., the rooms being disinfected in the meantime. During the fair, the maximum number of visitors can reach 225,000.

Despite the reduced capacity, FIL will still host 255 exhibitors from 27 countries, displaying 240,000 different titles in a 107,000 square foot space. exhibition space with wider corridors than usual and a few one-way aisles. Masks will be compulsory for everyone present. As of November 1, 1,600 professionals from 27 countries had registered.

“We have the approval of the Specialized Health Council of the Government of the State of Jalisco and the advice of the Health Situation Room for Covid-19 of the University of Guadalajara and the Civil Hospital of Guadalajara,” said Rubén Padilla, director of the professional show program. “FIL Guadalajara is considered the largest business platform for the Spanish publishing industry, with a large and diverse number of people in the book production chain who depend on it to establish contacts and conduct business. . It’s a big gamble, but more than anything we want to encourage face-to-face interaction, if possible. It creates opportunities and synergies. To this end, only 30% of the total activities of this year’s show will be virtual.

The value of in-person events

“From my perspective,” says Padilla, “the main change in the various book fairs, including Guadalajara, is a natural contraction due to a lower flow of attendees and exhibitors, caused primarily by the resulting economic hardship. of the pandemic. He noted that FIL typically generates $ 34 million in book sales and affiliate income from attendees’ food, transportation, accommodation and other expenses, according to estimates from the Bureau of Convention and Tourism. from Guadalajara. This number is expected to be drastically reduced this year.

Yet, continues Padilla, “the main attraction of book fairs is to enable the promotion of products or services, to explore new collaborative projects and to see current trends, as well as to share experiences with people of different backgrounds. country. In addition, direct contact with readers allows professionals to interact and see how they react to certain proposals. At FIL, we firmly believe that there is a persistent need for face-to-face contact to build trust and create long-term relationships.

For participants from the United States, two major attractions of the FIL are the opportunity to participate in the International Center for Rights and the Fellowship Program, which brings together professionals from all over the world. Both were canceled this year but are expected to return in 2022.

The 2021 program offers a wide variety of activities focused on books and reading, as well as science, art, culture and philosophy, both at the Expo in Guadalajara, the traditional venue of the fair, and online at

Authors and awards

Six hundred authors will participate in events at FIL, including Paul Auster, John Boyne, Noemí Casquets, Ken Follet, Jonathan Franzen, Christophe Galfard, Miguel Gane, Etgar Keret, Brenda Lozano, Amin Maalouf, Jorge Ramos, Laura Restrepo, Abdelá Taia, and José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero.

Numerous grand prizes for writing in the Spanish language will also be awarded to FIL. This year, Chilean writer Diamela Eltit will receive the FIL Prize of $ 150,000 for Literature in Romance Languages, and Mexican writer Margo Glantz will receive the Carlos Fuentes Medal. The Publishing Merit Award will go to Cristina Urrutia, publisher of Tecolote Books from Mexico. In addition, the International Publishers Association will announce the winner of its annual Voltaire Prize, awarded for the defense and promotion of publishing freedom around the world.

The International Forum of Publishers and Book Professionals of the fair, the main program for foreign visitors, will take place on November 29 and 30 and will focus on the sale of books, creation and sale of diverse content for children and the ‘adaptation of audiovisual content to and from books. Speakers will include Chiara Arroyo, co-owner of LA Librería, a Spanish-language children’s bookstore and distributor in Los Angeles. The literature and editorial culture of Peru, guest country of honor this year, will also feature prominently in the program.

Padilla says this year’s FIL’s goal is to help bring back a sense of normalcy in the industry. “To be completely honest, it seems to me that the big challenge for the industry is to overcome the financial difficulties and get back to the path we had before the pandemic,” he explains. “In this sense, the organization of our book fair will allow us to better measure the feelings of the industry players who participate in it, to better understand their needs first-hand and to adapt accordingly.

Find out more about our coverage of the Guadalajara International Book Fair:

Planeta in the Americas: PW talks with José Calafell Salgado

PW speaks with José Calafell Salgado, CEO of Grupo Planeta for Latin America.

In search of Spanish gems: PW chats with Katie Whittemore

A translator discusses the search for new Spanish voices for English speaking markets.

A trio for translation

Translator Samantha Schnee shares three recent books that she is very happy to see translated into English.

A version of this article appeared in the 8/11/2021 issue of Editors Weekly under the title: Viva Guadalajara!

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