26 June 08 | Chad W. Post

Not sure how I missed this when it first came out, but this piece in the Independent is fascinating:

House sales have plunged, automobiles have tanked, and credit is throttled, but Spain is experiencing an unprecedented boom in books. Once the nation that read fewer books than any other in Europe, Spaniards have become voracious readers, devouring more books than ever before.

Spain’s book trade has not only escaped the downturn afflicting the rest of the economy, but is spectacularly bucking the trend. Publishing houses say business last year broke all records, and they predict even better results for 2008. The sector was said to be euphoric [. . .]

Funny—“euphoric” is the last word that I would ever associate with publishers and/or any discussion of a nation’s reading habits. . . .

And these stats!

Even with the leap in literacy of recent years, Spaniards were slow to adopt the reading habit. Not so long ago, more than 50 per cent said they had never read a book, nor had one at home. Now 57 per cent claim to read regularly.

Everything about this stands in stark contrast to the situation here in the States, where Cody’s goes out of business and we’re constantly talking about the decline of readership . . .


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