The charm and the challenge of being a bookseller in Ecuador in the 21st century: three testimonies | Books | Entertainment

Client: “Excuse me, I would like to exchange this book that came as part of a blind date; I chose science fiction, but this novel is about vampires”. Bookseller: “Friend, excuse me, but vampires don’t exist, that’s a fiction novel.” It is one of the many anecdotes that have been born in La Madriguera, bookstore located in UrdesaCircunvalación Sur and Ficus.

This cultural space in Guayaquil adopts a book coffee concept that transforms the environment into one of home, either because of its welcoming aroma of coffee or because of the pets that often walk there; La Madriguera is for readers more than a bookstore, a refuge. That is why its owners, María Fernanda González and Steven Espinosa, have thought of the ideal occasion to encourage the public this Friday, November 11. “Discounts on stock selected and a free coffee for purchases over 10 dollars” is the promise they make to readers on Bookstore Day, which is celebrated today.

“Since I live in La Casa Morada, every day is bookstore day,” he mentions gracefully. María Paulina Briones, founder of the La Casa Morada bookstoreanother book store, which is located in Urdesa.

“On this day I visit other bookstores, I love going to new places. I recently met Nevski in Puerto Santa Ana, very nice, it has a cafeteria and they do events too”, says Briones. “Here in Guayaquil we have few spaces”, adds the Ecuadorian writer, that promote the habit of reading. “In this sense, the role of libraries is essential. In a city that has so many inhabitants, it is unusual that there are no public libraries. The Municipal Library, for example, cries for a change to become efficient, but it remains the same, the bibliographic collection is not renewed”, he comments.

Eager to provide a solution, Briones explains that reading is the best way to get others to read. “Every educational institution should have a reading plan. One cannot fail to mention the reading clubs, which are also circles to talk about books and their possible worlds”.

Fabián Luzuriaga does not express himself much in terms of spaces, rather he suggests routines that can be implemented to acquire a reading habit. The creator of the bookstore The Owl Books and Gifts, located in the Paseo San Francisco Shopping Center, in Quito, recommends that parents read to their children, that in everyday life they talk about books “in social gatherings with friends and family. This creates a curiosity and becomes something to discover, usually people end up buying the book you recommend”.

Luzuriaga has been in the book industry for several years and comments on her perspective on the purchase of digital books that is growing more and more. “The paper book will never die, on the contrary, the consumption of the paper book is on the rise, digital books have already reached their peak in the pandemic and have begun to decline. The truth is that our sales in printed format grow more and more every day. So our bet is on paper”.

Unlike guayaca bookstores, The Owl Books and Gifts does not convey a home atmosphere, but a candy store. “Many of our clients come in for a book and come out with three or four, they tell us: ‘It’s like going into a candy store, this is dangerous,’” says the man from Quito. (YO)

The charm and the challenge of being a bookseller in Ecuador in the 21st century: three testimonies | Books | Entertainment