Nevertheless, this year’s Antwerp Book Fair didn’t break any records. Visitor numbers were down on last year’s 184,000 visitors, a record in the fair’s 75-year history.
Bookstores in Flanders saw a rise in turnover during the first week of the Book Fair (31/10-6/11). Turnover was up 4% in Flanders, while Dutch booksellers’ turnover fell by 7% during the same period.
The literary website boek.be reports that "These figures don’t include books sold at the Book Fair. This means that the Fair has had a positive influence on book sales in Flemish bookshops”.
A survey of the 101 traders at the Book Fair reveals that most are either as satisfied as or more satisfied than they were last year.
Around half of the book-sellers questioned said that sales were either up on or the same as at last year’s Book Fair. They cite the presence of best-sellers, book-signing sessions, a lager stand or new presentation methods as the main reasons for their buoyant sales figures.
Book-sellers that saw sales fall blame the good weather, too few best-sellers, a lack of book-signing sessions and the economic crisis.