Romania’s Gaudeamus International Book Fair opened its doors in Bucharest earlier today, and over the course of the five day event some 125,000 visitors are expected to squeeze through its doors.
The Gaudeamus event, not to be confused with the bigger Bucharest Int. Book Fair that took place in May, is organised by Radio Romania and runs November 22-26.
Facts and figures about the Romanian book market are sparse and contradictory, but from the AldusNet overview from late 2016 we can guestimate the value of the Romanian book market at about 60 million euros ($70 million), while other sources suggest as much as $115 million.
Similarly one report will state Romanian publishers are focussed mainly on Romanian authors, while another will state 50% of Romanian book sales are translations from other countries, with English language accounting for 20%.
There are two main bookstore chains Carturesti and Humanitas and numerous smaller bookstores, but concentrated in the bigger cities.
An inevitable consequence of this is that the book fairs – and especially the two big events, Bucharest BookFest and Gaudeamus – are where a lot of the country’s books are sold.
Whatever the exact numbers, the market is on the rise, both in print (inc. book fair sales and online) and as ebooks, and Romania is a book market that ought to be on the radar of small presses and indie authors looking to expand their reach.
I’ll return to the Romania market as the Gaudeamus Fair continues, and look further at some of the opportunities unfolding in central and eastern Europe.