The Brazilian National Book Fair has just opened up to the public in Rio and is running from August 29 to September 8th. Every major publisher from South America was in attendance, and there were even special areas for foreign books, notably from Germany and France. Anyone worried that youth are distancing themselves from reading would have been warmed at the overwhelming presence of children and teens. Many were part of school visits or brought by their parents.
One of our readers, Albert Silver, attended the event on Sunday and mentioned, “Digital books had an extremely modest presence, represented by Amazon and Kobo, but the impression was that their stands were about readers and technology. I saw very little mentioned of digital books themselves or the reading experience (dictionary, cheaper books, instant 24/7 buying, etc.) which seemed to be taken for granted.”
The Amazon and Kobo booths were about as far away from each other as possible. Albert elaborated that, “I visited both, and even though it is quite understandable, the only things on display were the readers and tablets. The representatives seemed entirely focused on the technological capabilities, such as resolution and RAM. They also hyped up their financing options, because electronics in Brazil are frightfully overpriced due to 70% import tariffs. Ample prices, converted to US dollars, are the Kobo Aura HD, which retails for US$270, or the Kindle Paperwhite, for US$200.”