Even though Barcelona is known worldwide as a touristic hotspot thanks to its climate, gastronomy and touristic heritage, the city also plays a major role in another business sector: printing industry. The city is a gravity centre for Spanish-speaking literature market, whose turnover is comparable to that of tourism.
Every April 23rd the city conmemorates Cervantes and Shakespeare’s deaths by celebrating El día del libro (Book day), when ephemeral bookshops pop-up at Las Ramblas and everyone walks around with a book and a rose. It’s a major festivity for literature and the hugely present printing industry around it. Barcelona’s branch of the sector accounts for almost half of the Spanish’ business and its two major companies are headquartered in the city: Planeta and Penguim Random House, that own many medium-sized historic publishing houses such as Alfaguara, Tusquets or Grijalbo. Smaller, independent publishers, like Malpaso or Sajalín, are also based in Barcelona. Sheltered by this situation, a whole interdependent network composed by booksellers, printers, binders and many other professions has developed.
Readers are the sector’s final expression, the ones buying books and using a broad scheme of libraries and bookstores distributed all along the city that, in spite of all the problems set out in the last years ―e-books, huge delivery companies, etc.― stays healthy.