The evolution of the book at the Lima Book Fair

I am in Lima, Peru this week attending and presenting at the Lima Book Fair  (feria internacional del libro de lima).  The fair runs for two weeks, July 19th through August 4th.  About 120 vendors exhibit at the fair and over 600,000 Peruvians are expected to visit.  Lines to enter the book fair circled the block the first weekend. The Peruvians are very attached to books (print especially), which is evident from the large number of bound materials on exhibit at the book fair.  Bookstores abound as well.

The U.S. Embassy in Lima invited me here to speak about eBooks.

Sue Polanka presenting at the Lima Book Fair
Sue Polanka presenting at the Lima Book Fair

My presentation was very well attended and was part of a seminar for educators, held in conjunction with the book fair.  The attendees were very interested in hearing about eBooks and how the U.S. has been working with them.  Most of the questions I received were about self-publishing, how to purchase eBooks for libraries,and how publishers can start to create eBooks (many are looking for advice and assistance).  But by far, the question I received the most was about the future of the printed book and whether I felt eBooks would take over.  My response has always been the same – not in my lifetime.  I believe print and ebooks will co-exist for quite some time.

The U.S. Embassy has a booth at the fair where they are displaying and discussing the evolution of the book.  Their booth features a variety of tablet devices – iPad, Google Nexus, and Kindle FIRE – displaying books, games, websites, and other educational resources.  For many Peruvians, it is the first time they have seen a tablet device.

picture from Lima Book Fair
Visitors to the Lima Book Fair try the tablet devices at the U.S. Embassy booth.

The Embassy commissioned an app for the fair called “The Evolution of the Book”  It is available in the iOS and Android app stores.  It’s a beautifully designed app showing the past and present of books.  The app is currently in Spanish, but will be released in an English version soon.

The app is available here: