More than a thousand books find new readers every day at Livraria Lello

Friday, September 7, 2018

The numbers do not deceive. More than a 1000 books leave the shelves of Livraria Lello every day in the readers’ hands from more than 70 countries. In July they were more than 1200 per day. Spain, France and United States of America are some of the countries who acquired more literary works of Portuguese writers in Portuguese or translated in other languages. There are also curious Portuguese-speaking people who are enthusiastic about their countrymen, with the Portuguese and Brazilians (re)discovering some of their best writers in Livraria Lello.

In high season come to Livraria Lello 3500 to 4000 people per day. Half of them came out with a book in their hand, turning the voucher value on a book. The goal of Livraria Lello is to increase this number fulfilling the function of a well-known international bookshop.

Livraria Lello implemented, by 2015, the voucher whose value can be converted in one of the many thousands inside Livraria Lello, in order to turn visitors into readers. All Livrairia Lello’s visitors are readers. Readers that can leave the bookshop with great classics of literature in special editions, such as Edgar Allan Poe's Selected Short Stories or The Little Prince. This is what the historic Livraria Lello is searching among the touristic boom in the beautiful city of Porto.

The implementation of voucher led to the reduction of overflow of tourists inside of Lello Bookstore and increase in the number of readers. If by 2015 the number of people entering the bookshop and leaving with a book did not reach 20%, now, in 2018, is about 50%. Nowadays, this small (yet big) step has also also allowed the number of specialized booksellers and contributors of Livraria Lello to increase from 9 to 50.

At the same time, Livraria's friend card was launched. The card allows those who purchase it to enter freely, without going through any queue. Livraria Lello created this measure thinking about locals, wishing to be a part of their lives continuously.

Livraria Lello is also a meeting place for arts. Until the end of September, readers and visitors can see – and read – Joan Miró on the iconic bookshop’s first floor. This is the second time that the Miró Foundation has allowed these twelve books to be shown to the public, an initiative promoted by the painter’s Spanish grandson. Also 400 faces of Porto can be found on the same floor. Faces from the most recognizable characters such as Alvaro Siza, Souto Moura, among others to fish sellers, flower girls and butchers from the traditional Mercado do Bolhão. It is Porto’s essence inside the bookshop, it is the face of Porto.

Porto’s artists have also a “gallery” to exhibit their work at Livraria Lello’s shop windows. Rute Rosas is taking over both windows with her Wrapping Skin till the end of September, a piece of work that all the readers can take home “embracing” the books purchased in Livraria Lello.

Since early 2018 till August, more than 40 cultural events took place in and outside of Livraria Lello. Book launches, poetry readings, spoken concerts, exhibitions and the celebration of special dates, all part of Livraria Lello’s almost weekly cultural program. These events are free and open to the public, a gift given to the city, a mission the bookshop intends to keep on doing.
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