Tag Archives: books

In France, beach-goers don’t have to carry books along, library is open on the beach


The district of Seine Maritime on northern France has invented a fabulous way to delight people who like to spend time on region’s many beaches. In July and August, 12 mini libraries are established on the beaches of towns and villages along the coast from Le Havre to Le Treport. The selection consists of 12 000 titles ranging from novels to comics.
library on a beach in France. photo by Actualitte
The annual Lire a la Plage (Read on the beach) operation has supplied books to beach-goers since 2006. This summer, 13th mini library is open at Transmanche Dieppe-Newheaven, providing book lovers both French and English titles.

Here is a video that shows how the library on the beach works (the clip is in French, but shows the facilities, and how people enjoy it):

The beaches where books can be loaned are located in Fécamp, Le Havre, Sainte-Adresse, Yport, Étretat, Dieppe, Criel-sur-Mer, Tréport, Saint-Jouin Bruneval, Saint-Valery en Caux, Saint-Aubin sur Mer and in Veules-les-Roses.

The summer beach libraries in Seine Maritime are open from July 8 until August 26. Open daily in the afternoon from 2pm until 7pm.

Photos by Actualitte.

Beach library in Seine Maritime. Photo by Actualitte.

Vast majority of Europeans read at least one book a year, publishers claim


The whole media industry, including books, is in fundamental transformation from traditional media to digital products. It is fascinating to follow how some parts of the world adopt new media products faster than other regions. Cultural reasons, traditions, legislation, and the book industry itself affect the pace of change. Many end-of-the-world scenarios have been presented for books that have to compete over audiences’ precious time with other media, like movies and music.

The Federation of European Publishers (FEP) has drafted a report on the state of the book business in Europe. It was published in March 2017, and one of its conclusions is that books are doing fine despite very competitive media landscape.

In many European countries, 60-80% of people read at least one book a year. Czech, Germany, Estonia, Luxembourg, Austria, Slovakia, Finland, Sweden, Iceland and Norway having the highest share of book readers. There are some exceptions, of course, like Portugal and Romania, where residents have something else more worthwhile to do than to read books.

reads one book a year, Europe countries, by FEP
The trend that people are reading less can be seen in the statistics, but it is not the end-of-the-world kind of thing. The trend is somewhat inconsistent: Italy and Germany show an increase in the number of book readers.

The same survey reports that the number of brick-and-mortar bookstores in Europe has increased. At its peak in 2010, more than 32 275 bookstores stocked paper and ink on their shelves for customers. A rapid fall followed that bottomed in 2013 (26 766 bookstores). Since then, new stores have opened, and the number of bookstores in Europe is on the rise again.

Number of bookstores in Europe by FEP
Here is an interesting question: the number of bookstores is growing in Europe, the market share of ebooks is growing, but people read slightly less. How does it add up?

There are many ways to assess and measure how the book industry is doing. One of the most innovative analysts is Author Earnings that primarily tracks sales of large online bookstores, like Amazon, Apple iBooks, Google Play and Kobo. The February 2017 Author Earnings report indicates that 42% of all book sales in the U.S. comes from ebooks, and in the UK, ebooks are 34% of all book sales.

A report published in March 2017 by the Federation of European Publishers (FEP) states that the market share of ebooks in the UK is 17% (in 2015). That’s a huge difference: is the correct market share for ebooks 17 or 34 percent? Two factors may explain a big portion of the gap in numbers: FEP doesn’t include independent publishers and self-publishers in its statistics, whereas Author Earnings tallies up them as well. FEP gets most of its sales data from traditional booksellers, whereas Author Earnings tries its best to get accurate data from big online bookstores.

Sweden’s book city: Gothenburg


Stockholm is the capital and the most populous city of Sweden, but Gothenburg on the country’s West Coast features the largest annual book show of Scandinavia. Maybe it is simply because Denmark, Germany and Norway are not far away from Gothenburg, or maybe the city has traditions in book business.
bookcrossing, slottsskogen, gothenburg, sweden, europeIn the large park of Slottsskogen near the city center you can find books on trees. It was a rainy day when the photo was taken, so someone must have saved the books from getting wet. The message on the plastic box encourages you to change your book to a new one.
bricks-and-mortar, book shop in Gothenburg
bookstore in gothenburg, sweden
Akademibokhandeln bookstore in gothenburg, sweden west coastBookstores in the city center.

book show, gothenburg, sweden.The annual Book Fair in September in Gothenburg attracts visitors and exhibitors primarily from Scandinavia, Baltic countries and Germany.

If you are planning to travel to Sweden or Gothenburg, it is worth knowing that the West Coast region next to Gothenburg is the second most popular vacation destination for Swedes. This travel guidebook covers the essential places, sights and activities in the city and the region.

Book lover’s vacation accessories


It goes without saying that a book lover loads a fresh stack of ebooks on his or her tablet or ereader when packing for a vacation. In some countries the busiest vacation months are also the hottest months for ebook sales. But you also have to think about the destination climate, mode of transportation and technical standards when packing electronics (or paper book) for the trip.

Bookpub has published a great blog post where they introduce 11 products for book lovers who are going to a vacation. The ereader case and stand pictured above is one of the 11 accessories. You can find all the products here.

Book publishers believe ebooks will dominate book sales in 5 years


British book industry newspaper The Bookseller has published the results of its annual Digital Census survey. The survey asks publishers (also outside Great Britain) to assess the major trends that are affecting the business of book publishing. The results for year 2015 indicate that publishers have accepted the fact that digital books are the future.

bookseller digital census 2015

Source: The Bookseller

21% of book publishers believe ebooks will make up more than half of their book revenues by 2020. In other words, in five years one-fifth of book industry depends their businesses on digital products.

38% of publishers expect ebooks to be so significant part of their sales that they would be in trouble without digital products. These enterprises anticipate ebooks will bring 21-50% of sales by 2020. Altogether, 59% of publishers believe that their businesses will rely on digital products in five years.

bookseller digital census 2015

Source: The Bookseller digital census 2015

If we look at the situation today, where the publishers are regarding their ebook sales, next five years will mean a massive transformation for the publishing business. 59% of publisher get less than 20% of their sales from digital books today.

Somewhat surprisingly, publishers expect ebook subscription services to be the most important channel to reach customers by 2020. 37% of publishers regard subscription services as a key business model for the future of book.

bookseller digital census 2015

Source: The Bookseller

The Bookseller Digital Census 2015 also unveiled five strong trends that are shaping book business in the near future.
1. Smartphones become more common ebook reading devices than tablets or dedicated e-readers.
2. Sales of digital books is still growing, but at a slower rate (we believe this concerns markets like US and UK, because in markets like Germany, France, Spain, Netherlands ebook sales are still in their early stages).
3. Self-publishing is slightly losing its appeal (amount of work, costs, marketing, poor sales the primary reasons).
4. Ebook pricing, amount of author royalties and copy-protection of products divides the opinions of publishing professionals.
5. Half of publishing professionals fear that they are not ready for the next big thing in the digital revolution (whatever it happens to be).

More details at The Bookseller.

Books, authors and readers meet at a festival in the garden of a French castle


The town of Tours is located at the heart of the France’s spectacular castle region along the valleys of river Loire. One of the castles near Tours, Chanceaux-près-Loches, has invited authors and readers already twenty times to the castle’s beautiful garden to enjoy books and authors’ debate. French love their authors, who not only get to meet one another and readers, but who also get to pose in selfies and attend author signings.

la foret des livres, Chanceaux

Photo by Actualitté on Flickr.

La Forêt des Livres (Book Forest) is the event’s official title, but it is also known as the Woodstock of Literature. It is a one-day event that features about 200 authors and 60 000 visitors.

The event has its own web page that is worth following if you are traveling in France at the end of August. If you are planning to travel to southern France, get valuable tips for Provence and Cote d’Azur from the travel guide The Gems of Nice and the French Riviera.

la foret des livres, Chanceaux

la foret des livres, Chanceaux

Photos by Actualitté on Flickr.

View video by TV channel France 3 that shows the beautiful castle and the garden where the event takes place:

Festival of Books in Madrid, Spain in Lovely Summer Surroundings


In 2015, la Feria del Libros de Madrid (the festival of books) is organized in the capital of Spain for the 74th time. This time, the festival has attracted 471 bookstores from Madrid and from other Spanish cities to celebrate books. Participating stores will sell books in their stalls in the city center during the first two weeks of June.

Also authors get to meet readers and sign books. If you happen to be in the neighborhood, look for Parque del Retiro in Madrid, and you will find the festival.

El Pais reported that despite the high unemployment and relatively weak economy that has been troubling Spain for a few years, the atmosphere was optimistic.

Here are a few select photos taken at the book fiesta in Madrid.

feria del libro de madrid
Photo by Ahora Madrid on Flickr.

feria del libro de madrid
Photo by deramaenrama onp Flickr.

feria del libro de madrid
Photo by Ahora Madrid on Flickr.

feria del libro de madrid
Photo by manuel on Flickr.

feria del libro de madrid
Photo by Ahora Madrid on Flickr.

Paper Books Recycled: A House Made of Books


A house made of books? It has to be a library. Sure, but Lacuna project is more: it is really a building that has been constructed from books.

lacuna book house

Lacuna is an art installation constructed from 50 000 books. It is also a library where people can walk in, browse the bookshelves, and borrow books. Since the walls of Lacuna are made of books, the building will change as people take and return items from shelves.

The building will open at the Bay Area Book Festival in June 2015 in Berkeley, California.

The video explains the project:

The project is on Kickstarter. The Lacuna story was discovered via Idboox.

Free Ebooks for History and Art Lovers from Metropolitan Museum


Many museums publish beautiful paper books on art collections, historical objects and exhibitions they have. Print books, however, only have a limited life span. When books become too costly to print and keep in stock, they become unavailable. The Metropolitan Museum of Art has solved the availability problem of old books elegantly: the museum has released books older than 50 years as free ebooks.


You can explore the collection of free art and history ebooks here. Ebooks are available as PDF downloads, or you can read them online. Online reading seems to be more convenient option, because downloads are very, very slow.

We are always looking for travel tips, and Metropolitan Museum’s free ebook collection didn’t disappoint. For instance, book titled Al-Andalus: The Art of Islamic Spain shows many magnificent historical destinations in Spain that can be visited today.

metropolitan museum al andalus free ebook