Tag Archive: Librería Caliope

Editorial Campana is pleased to announce the first event for MARCH 2009.  In Celebration of International Women’s Month with Margarita DragoJacqueline Herranz BrooksSonia Rivera Valdés(Casa de las Américas Award winner) and  Paquita Suárez Coalla.  The authors will read from their new works and chat with the audience. The event will take place Thursday March 5th, 8:00 p.m. at Librería Caliope, NY. PLease visit editorialcampana.com for more information and for directions.




Lets go back in time for to the year 2007. Why this date? Librería Lectorum shut down in September as well as Librería Macondo.  These were latino bookstores located in Chelsea. Librería Lectorum had been in business for about half a century, while Librería Macondo shut its doors after 35 years. What was to come from the closing of these bookstores? In an article written for the daily news, concerns were expressed regarding the closing of these spanish-language bookstores and how resources for spanish literature were shrinking. 

‘“I am in total shock,” said Raquel Chang-Rodríguez, a professor of Spanish-American literature at CUNY’s Graduate Center and City College. “We live in a city that is supposed to be the capital of the Hispanic world in the U.S. and we lack two of our main Spanish-language bookstores. What can we do?”’

For others (especially stores that fell into the same niche as the two stores mentioned above), the closing of these stores would help to increase their popularity and therefore their sales. In the same article, one owner stated the following:

‘“Now I can’t refer people to Lectorum anymore,” says César González, the owner of Librería Caliope, on Dyckman St. in the heart of Washington Heights. “It means more business, but so much work.”’

So even though west 14th St. in lower Manhattan lost a bit of its history, others gained some publicity and were able to benefit. However, with the rise of the internet, what would come of these other stores? Many stores have seen their sales plumit as the internet has taken more and more momentum. This may be the number one reason why bookstores geared toward specific people (such as spanish bookstores) have become highly endangered. An article from the New York Times noted the following in regards to the internet’s affect on bookstores, specifically spanish bookstores.

“In a city — and a country — that has seen dozens of bookstores close in the face of online competition and dwindling customer traffic, the demise of Lectorum comes as a particular blow to the Hispanic literary community in New York.” 

On the flip-side, the internet may help to bring back spanish bookstores. Once, when we were limited to buying spanish books from stores such as Librería Lectorum or from going to a Spanish country, we are now able to go online, search for any book that we want and buy it. No longer do we need to search bookstore after bookstore in search of our favorite author or to find rare books. Even book clubs and outreach clubs have benifitted from the internet. One might even say that the internet has helped organizations such as Editorial Campana to be where they are today. True that the internet has helped Editorial Campana’s publicity. Our books are  available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble since there is no physical store for Editorial Campana. With prices the way they are today, affording rent for a store that may or may not sell a lot of books is a gamble that nobody wants to fund. The internet has allowed stores, where by other means, there would be no access.

This all would seem to point us in the direction that soon there will only be online stores and physical stores will be a thing of the past. The comes La Casa Azul, which just recently celebrated the launch of its website. So just like Barnes and Noble, La Casa Azul has a physical building and an online store. But better than many popular bookstores, La Casa Azul is geared toward books from and for the latino community. There are other stores out there such as, Librería Caliope, Librería Continental, Barco de Papel, Cemí Underground, Librería Cuarzo, and Librería Donatina.

Yet the fact remains that if you go to Barnes and Noble or Boarders, how much of a selection do they have on hispanic literature and how easlily can you find a rare book or an author that is not as popular a Gabriel Garcia Marquez (author of 100 years of solitude)? In fact if you go to any major bookstore, there is no “real” section for spanish books, the ones available have been incorparted into the shelves with similar books. A different article in the New York Times noted that,

“Chain bookstores carry few Hispanic titles. There are no important best-seller lists.”

What the internet is allowing chain bookstores to do is look as though they have a huge spanish library without having to give up their physical shelves. This makes it seem, to the consumer, that when you go to the online bookstore, you can find many titles that would be otherwise difficult to buy. At the same time, the internet is allowing stores such as La Casa Azul, to prove that even though the internet is enough, a physical store helps to reinforce what hispanics pride themselves on- community. These stores allow for book readings, places to meet, networking with real people, and an actual place people can relate to. These are the stores that we need and the internet should not replace them nor should larger and more popular bookstores take advantage of the internet to promote themselves as something they are not.