Madrid book fair opens today

Madrid is one of the art capitals of the world, with amazing museums like the Reina Sofia and El Prado. What many visitors don’t realize, however, is that it’s a major hub for publishing too. Many of Spain’s large and small presses are based here, and the countless bookshops are a bibliophile’s delight.

Now book lovers are getting an extra treat, because today is the opening of the 69th annual Feria del Libro, Spain’s national book fair.

The book fair hosts the usual things you’d expect–readings by authors, a chance to meet the famous and not-so-famous, workshops, lots of events at like-minded cafes and bars, etc. While these are all great, the majority of events are in Spanish, although some writers from the English-speaking world such as Claudia Gray will be there.

The best part for the casual visitor (especially one who’s only Spanish comes from Taco Bell commercials) is the collection of bookstalls. More than three hundred publishers, bookstores, and rare book dealers have congregated at Madrid’s lovely Retiro Park. Books on every subject and every language will be on sale here, from cheap paperbacks to one-of-a-kind medieval manuscripts.

The Feria del Libro runs until June 13 and most events are free. After perusing the books all day, don’t forget to go out and enjoy Spain’s nightlife, assuming you haven’t spent all your money on books.

Image courtesy Feria del Libro.