The recovery goes by neighborhoods, which helps to understand something the very conflicting data on the economy. We are a country dependent on tourism and AENA’s figures for the first 11 months – released this Tuesday – help us understand what is happening. In this period, 107 million passengers passed through our airports. It is a fantastic 43% more than 2020, but 58% less than in the same months of 2019. At least in tourism, Spain is far from returning to the previous situation. Why didn’t Calviño foresee it in his macroeconomic picture?

But this Tuesday we also learned that the sales of homes – new and used – in October was the largest in the last 14 years. And that in the first 10 months they have grown by 36%. After the pandemic, do Spaniards pay more attention to their homes? This is what seems to corroborate another apparently quite different piece of information. Patrici Tixis, President of the Publishers’ Guild, reported yesterday that 2021 will be the best year of the last decade for the book sector and that sales will grow by a minimum of 15% and perhaps, depending on the Christmas season, by 17%.

They are spectacular figures because the book sector was last year one of the few exceptions to the recession generalized, as its sales rose 0.8%. These data that allowed Tixis to suggest that the book, perhaps as a consequence of certain saturation of the series, He has managed to make a place for himself in the sofa of the homes. Reading on the couch at home would be consistent with the increase in home buying.

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There are more interesting facts about the book. 93% of the books purchased are printed and only 7%, digital. It is true that this last percentage may be lower than the real one because piracy continues to exist, but it seems that the share of digital books is no longer growing and in the United States, which is technologically very advanced, its share is stagnant at 25%. Y bookstores are back in fashion. Mobility in the street has grown more than in airports and 69% of books are acquired in traditional or local bookstores. Although there are also luxury ones, such as the one that Sergi Ferrer-Salat, the great shareholder of Laboratorios Ferrer, has set up in the heart of Barcelona, ​​in the premises that before the pandemic his pampered restaurant Monvinic occupied. And not far away, Tatxo Benet, Roures’s partner at Mediapro, has opened another impact library. And I do not want to fail to quote the Byron, which is also within walking distance. The sale of all kinds of books is growing, perhaps helped by the appearance of new novels by Fernando Aramburu (the one from ‘Homeland’), María Dueñas, Julia Navarro and Arturo Pérez-Reverte, but, nevertheless, the most spectacular high is that of the comics, and especially the manga, its Japanese version. What has fallen, by 6%, perhaps as a consequence of the deflammation of the ‘procés’ –or of the excessive previous saturation– is the sale of Catalan political books.

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But there are also shadows. The book sector will invoice this year about 2,600 million euros, which is still far from the almost 3,200 reached before the 2008 crisis. And exports to Latin America are at a minimum because there the crisis is great. What’s more, the annual per capita expenditure on books is only 20 euros, an amount that is less than half of the approximately 50 euros that both French and German spend.

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It is logical, because according to the Pisa report, 24% of Spaniards find it difficult to understand what they read.

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