Letter From Madrid

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Copyright Clearance Center is proud to present Victoriano Colodron’s “Letter from Madrid,” a video report on the publishing industry in Spain during the pandemic.

Hola from Madrid, Spain. I’m Victoriano Colodron with Copyright Clearance Center.

It’s a rainy day here in my city, and, let me tell you, I’m a bit sad. Not because it’s raining -actually, I do love rain- but because I spoke with a friend of mine earlier today and she had bad news.

My friend is an editor working for one of the largest publishing houses in Spain, and she was just notified that she would be included in the company’s temporary downsizing plan due to the financial impact of the COVID-19 crisis.

She is one of the close to 4 million Spanish workers impacted by this kind of downsizing plans since the Coronavirus lock down started here in mid-March.

So, yes, I’m sad, and as so many other people around the world, I’m also trying to cope with worry and uncertainty these days.

Uncertainty and gloomy prospects indeed for the publishing industry in Spain, one of the largest in the world. After being severely hit by the 2008 financial crisis, it went back to good annual growth in 2015, and now… is it back to square one?

Now, everyone in the publishing industry in Spain is looking with some anxiety at the situation of bookstores, because they certainly are a cornerstone of the entire ecosystem, not only from an economic viewpoint but also because of how important they are to what we like to call “biblio-diversity”, that is, the existence of a vibrant community of small and medium independent publishers.

Until a few days ago, around half of the bookstores in Spain could only serve customers through fixed appointments, but that has since changed. In all regions, bookstores can now open their doors if they wish to do so. The question is, will we be willing to go back to all bookstores as frequently as we used to do it? Probably not.

Some say that the rise of online book purchasing in Spain during the confinement will stay, at least to some extent. And many fear that only large bookstore chains and e-commerce platforms will benefit from the new situation.

What will the “new normal” look like for the publishing industry in Spain? I just hope that not everything will give us reasons to be sad, and that my friend will get her job back as soon as possible to continue doing good, quality editing.

And then I’ll be able to truly enjoy the rain in Madrid.

Warmest regards from Madrid

Victoriano Colodrón

Author: Victoriano Colodrón

Victoriano Colodrón is senior director of international relations at CCC, where he manages relationships with sister organizations in other countries. With a university degree in romance philology from the Universidad Complutense in Madrid, Victoriano started his career in Spain working at the National Library and the Ministry of Culture. He tweets on copyright and publishing at @vcolodron.

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