This data was given to ECO by the president of the Portuguese Association of Publishers and Booksellers (APEL), Pedro Sobral, showing that this market is slowly following the recovery of other sectors of the economy. Even so, he claims that “public policies are needed to encourage reading and purchase of books, such as a greater reduction in VAT applied to books, so that price is not a barrier”.

“The Portuguese market lives on low reading and literacy rates”, far below other European countries, according to the president of APEL.

Pedro Sobral added that “in the first year of lockdown, that is, 2020, the market lost 17% in value, which is a huge and sudden loss for a sector, which is already fragile, and very dependent on private consumption indices”. But 2021 proved to be a year of return with better sales rates. “Despite the harsh confinement with the total market closure for 10 weeks and partially for two months as well as the restrictions during the Christmas season, 2021 ended up recovering the 17% it had lost in 2020”. Which turns out to be a breath of fresh air in the sector, given the impact that the pandemic has had on book sales. “It ended up cancelling out the loss suffered in the first year of the pandemic,” he said.