The Board of the Booksellers Guild, organizer of the Madrid Book Fair, has agreed to dissolve itself in order to call elections and thus give rise to a new Board. The team to arrive will be in charge of looking for a new director, as well as rethinking the Fair. On September 30, at the end of the event, the Board decided that the best option would be for Manuel Gil to retire as of December and thus make way for a new direction. The agreement is to carry out “a smooth transition process” between the current director and the future person in charge, according to sources familiar with the negotiation.
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Manuel Gil had expressed his interest in retiring at the end of the year, but had recently changed his mind and considered also directing the Fair in its 2022 edition. The Board of the Booksellers Guild was aware of this change but agreed that the retirement to starting in December was the best option, and he made it known to her on Thursday night. On Monday, October 4, the Board communicated it to the Organizing Committee, in which, in addition to booksellers, publishers and distributors are represented. Gil has declined the opportunity to respond to questions from elDiario.es.
Board sources assure that given the controversy with the location of some publishers on the central island and the need to find a replacement to the management, without having the obligation to call elections until the month of January, it has decided to dissolve now to facilitate the deadlines and the work of the new team, which would enter before the turn of the year. “It will be that Board that will commission a specific project for the Fair in 2022 and choose who directs it,” they say. The outgoing Board has preferred to anticipate the deadlines so as not to be responsible for electing a new director and that it is another team that has to “render accounts” with that future project and person.
According to Enrique Pascual, President of the Madrid Booksellers Guild, Gil will work in the organization of the Book Fair, hired by said Guild, at least until December, at which time he would give “the quiet relief” to a new manager. “It is not turning the button off and on. We want Manuel to be with us until we have a sufficiently trained person,” he explains. Gil has been commissioned to “keep his job” and to complete the steps started at the previous Fair and those in process for the next Fair.
This work is being carried out under the supervision of the Guild of booksellers, specifically with the presence of the secretary, Pablo Bonet. This will be responsible for supervising the change of address and will ensure that important decisions for the new edition fall to the following address. Enrique Pascual considers that it would be “great” for the new management to be led by a woman, and adds: “We are going to work so that both the management of the Fair and the future Presidency of the Booksellers Guild is a woman.”
Sources from the Commission and the Board affirm that the organization has taken up the complaints of the booksellers and the criticisms of the sector. They assure that they are doing self-criticism and that they are working to make improvements. The priority of the organization is that the next Fair goes ahead, at the height of the challenges that are expected of it.