Readmagine 21 was a “European edition” of this annual professional meeting.
The trends after the Corona crisis were analysed by a qualified group of experts.
A document with proposals for the policymaking was published.
The Director General of FGSR addressed the participants of Readmagine 21 during the opening session. Luis González showed a big picture of the empty streets in Madrid during the spring of 2020: when the meeting should take place. Instead of convening at the Casa del Lector’s auditorium (as previous years) the FGSR and IPDA had to use internet tools such as videoconference and remote canvas.
From this experience the FGSR/IPDA’s team learned many things: for instance, they should collaborate and that is why decided to join forces with the Digital Publishing Summit. González added «We also realised that people needed to talk and understand the meaning of what was going on»: more than 500 professionals participated in a series of conferences during two weeks and leaders shared their insights with them.
It was a success, but they were more ambitious and decided to work together in three remote collaborative groups, because the organisers of Readmagine’s last year’s edition aimed to understand the impact of this exceptional crisis on business models and behaviours, as well as the sort of new policies for the publishing industry that should be introduced in the European agenda. He added: «In short, we wanted to learn from this situation and discuss strategies to emerge stronger from the crisis…»
Although, as Mr. González admitted, in those days they feared that the impact on the market could be catastrophic, finally it is clear that «when people were confined at home for months they used reading books as a survival resource and that the proportion of frequent and intense readers has increased and remain higher than before the lockdowns».
The data of the book market in Europe in 2020 were not catastrophic (even quite good in some cases) and that those related to the first half of this year continue in a striking trend of increase.
Following those remarks Luis González mentioned his personal experience: «Yes, many people took refuge in books. But it is clear that they also sought answers from them. In my case, for instance, I wanted to find clues in some books that I had already read a long time ago and I revisited the Jaspers’s ideas, because I wondered if we could be witnessing one of those axial ages he wrote about… or Brown’s The world of late antiquity to find parallels with this time. A time in which we feel that we are on the border of another stage».
From those experiences and from those elucidated readings the FGSR and IPDA invited the Readmagine community to participate in this new edition «A very European edition of Readmagine. We invite you to think that we are citizens of the «Roman Empire», of a new Roman Empire that is mutating and taking shape as a European society…»
Finally, González showed the image of the new edition and concluded: «And this is the reason why we have used the Roman god Janus as a symbol of our meeting this year. Because he was the god of endings and beginnings, of transitions, of doorways , but also of dualities… The next few years could also have two faces and because of that, we think it’s useful to have this wakeup call for the European system of books and reading».