Sales down but visitors up at Brazil’s Porto Alegre Book Fair. The world’s untracked book sales redux

A common theme here at TNPS is tracking the myriad book fairs around the world that pass unnoticed by the Anglophone publishing media.

These can range from huge events like SILA (Algiers International Book Fair happening right now in Algeria. which last year drew 1.75 million visitors), to an untold number of “smaller” book fairs that are often the only places readers buy books, meaning the sales are almost completely untracked by the stats counters that tell us how big the national book markets are.

A case in point is the just finished 63rd Porto Alegre Book Fair in Brazil.

PublishNewsBR has been covering the event, as well as presenting there, and while the value of sales during the fair is not mentioned, but were down 14% on last year, visitor numbers were significantly up, at just shy of 20,000.

For context, that’s almost as many as turned out for the London Book Fair (25,000).

In Brazilian terms it’s pretty small, but these smaller fairs soon add up, and there are an untold number happening in Brazil every year.

The São Paulo Biennial attracted 663,000 (fewer than expected) but sold 33% more books.

Brazil’s São Paulo Biennial disappointed with fewer visitors (“only” 663,000) but they spent 33% more

Another example – the Flipoços International Literary Festival drew a crowd of 85,000 and sold books worth $325,000 during its nine day run.

Brazil’s Flipoços International Literary Festival sees 85,000 visitors, sells $325,000 books in nine days

As with the export deals publishers make around the world –

Book sales up again in Brazil, but another story lies in Brazil’s growing book exports – $700,000 in deals at Frankfurt alone

these sales at book fairs and literary festivals in Brazil – and in countries around the world – go untracked and unremarked by the retail and bookstore stats counters that tell us how big the global markets are.

The true size of the global book market is impossible to estimate, but we can be sure it is much bigger than the retail and bookstore figures tell us.

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