One of the major objectives of the activities carried out by this Federación is the promotion of books, of their authors and of reading in general.
Since the 90s, the book sector (publishers, authors, distributors, librarians and graphics) has been seriously considering the idea - shared by many social and political sectors of the country and by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports - of launching an ambitious Reading Promotion Plan, which, through a promotion campaign, should be geared to change the reading and book buying habits in Spain and take them to a European level.
The studies done by this Federación since year 2000 have shown that in order to achieve this objective, a continuous action in time was required, as well a direct implication of government and social agents. As a result of these ideas, work began with the aim of creating an strategic plan to develop the Reading Promotion Plan.
Finally, the 5th of November 2001, the Plan was officially launched during a celebration at the Madrid's Círculo de Bellas Artes, with the participation of important personalities from the sector, including the Minister for Education and Culture, and with speeches from the novelist Rosa Regás, the poet Ángel González, the publisher and philologist José Antonio Millán and Antonio Basanta, director of the Fundación Germán Sánchez Ruipérez, who introduced the Reading Orientation Service (SOL) (enlace) and gave a demonstration of its on-line consultation possibilities.
Since then, the Federación has continued to work, together with the Ministry and other private and public institutions and entities in the Reading Promotion Plan.
In 2002, the Federación created the Awards for Reading Promotion with two objectives: to publicly recognise the work done by journalism professionals to promote reading in Spain, and to encourage reading promotion. The Jury for these prizes is composed by representatives from the F.G.E.E., the Asociación de Editores de Diarios Españoles, the Asociación Colegial de Escritores, the Confederación Española de Gremios y Asociaciones de Libreros, the Federación de Asociaciones Nacionales de Distribuidores de Ediciones, the Asociación de Revistas de Información General and the Federación Española de Sociedades de Archivística, Biblioteconomía y Documentación. The prices are awarded at the Spanish International Book Fair LIBER in three categories: written press, radio and television.
The Federación has also created the Prize for Best Initiative in Reading Promotion in Public Libraries (enlace) to recognise and acknowledge the work of libraries in promoting reading.
Finally, it is of importance to note that the Federación has joined the request of the city of Córdoba to become World Capital of Culture in year 2016, with a focus on books and reading and it will collaborate with the city hall in everything to achieve this goal. Equally, by decision of the mayor's office, the city of Barcelona will dedicate year 2005 to the book and reading as a means both to consolidate its character of historic capital of the book and the publishing world, and to encourage reading among the younger public. For this reason, the Federación has requested the International Publishers' Association that Barcelona be declared World Capital of the Book in year 2005.
Studies and Reports
Especially important among the studies on reading published by the F.G.E.E. is the one written by José Antonio Millán titled "La lectura y la sociedad del conocimiento".
Equally, in the middle of 2002, the report "La lectura en España" was published, also co-ordinated by José Antonio Millán, and which has been quite widespread. In this report, there are collaborations from Umberto Eco (Algunas razones para leer), Roger Chartier (Cuatro siglos de lecturas populares), Victoria Camps (La manía de leer), Víctor García de la Concha (Leer para ser), Antonio María Ávila (La oferta editorial), Rafael Martínez Alés (Los puntos de venta y los hábitos de compra), Ignacio Gómez Soto (Los hábitos lectores), Hilario Hernández (Lectura y bibliotecas), José Luis García Garrido (El sistema educativo ante la lectura), Jesús Contreras (La lectura y sus circunstancias), David Martínez Roig (Internet: un horizonte para la lectura), Juan Delval (Del amor a la lectura y sus provechos), Guillermo Castán Lanaspa (Bibliotecas escolares. Retos y planteamientos desde el sistema educativo), Teresa Colomer (La lectura infantil y juvenil), Lola Ferreira (Tribulaciones de la edad tardía. Familia y lectura en la sociedad española), Kepa Osorio (La animación a la lectura: reflexiones y perspectivas), Ignacio Gómez Hernández (La lectura profesional y la gestión del conocimiento), Antonio Rodríguez de las Heras (La lectura en pantalla) and José Manuel Caballero Bonald (De lectores y lecturas), in an attempt to present the situation of reading in Spain and at the same time to establish a basis for debate on the future of reading from all perspectives: from its role as leisure alternative to its role as "key" in the knowledge society.
Among the reports carried out by this Federación, a very important one is the one on book buying and book reading habits, which has been done regularly since 2000. New technologies in communication, information and knowledge have an important impact in the book industry and in the reading habits of the population: the Federación, always responsive to the new circumstances in which publishers develop their entrepreneurial and professional activity, has tried with this report to offer our publishers the latest results on the reading and book buying habits of Spaniards through a survey carried out at a regular basis to obtain the necessary information for both these points, as well as their evolution and the impact of cultural changes in this evolution. This survey allows a constant reelaboration of the information and can be changed so that new questions can be introduced to respond to particular events or news.
The results of the survey Reading and Book Buying Habits, which are presented every three months, offer a wide variety of information on book demand, distribution channels, profiles of the book buyers by education, sex, social status and geographical location, percentage of every day readers, regular readers, occasional readers and "non-readers", among others. In short, a complete study on book demand.
The communication of the results of this survey to the media has resulted in an increase of the repercussion of this information among newspapers, agencies, magazines, radios and televisions. Nowadays, dozens of media from every sphere of the cultural world give information on reading habits and other activities related to the world of reading.
In truth, reading is becoming an issue of national interest and "star" of an intense political debate. Regional and National parliaments often debate about the importance of issuing policies for reading promotion, in which all political parties participate.
SOL (Reading Orientation Service)
Among the activities and initiatives of the F.G.E.E. to promote books and reading, it is of especial importance the Reading Orientation Service (SOL) developed by the Fundación Germán Sánchez Ruipérez, which falls within the actions under the Reading Promotion Plan.
The Reading Orientation Service acts as a reader consultant and as a book "recommender" and was born with the objective of promoting reading.. It is a free space on the Internet that offers quality youth and children books and makes numerous proposals for reading. It is addressed to readers up to 18 years old, as well as to families and professionals of education and the book sector. Therefore, the value of this service lies in the quality of its answer, based on recommendations backed up by the institutions and persons that have created the Web site. The selection of all informative material regarding SOL is based on the work done by the International Centre for Youth and Children's books of the Fundación Germán Sánchez Ruipérez, and that of many prestigious institutions and specialists that have participated in its creation.
The service, functioning since May 2002, can be consulted at www.sol-e.com
In the first step of its development, the project was intended for the children and youth public, and, therefore, designed as a tool in Spanish restricted to youth and children. However, eventually it has been designed to also include all kinds of books for adults and in all official languages from Spain.
Throughout year 2003, the Federación helped to its consolidation and strengthening by including new children and youth books as well as documents related with them (around 3,000) in Spanish, 1,500 references in the different official languages (Catalan, Galician and Basque) and about 1,000 general information books.
At the same time, during 2003 the was a general effort to introduce SOL in the Spanish society, especially in the educational system and library system, with specific support actions in general and specialised media, attendance to congress, meeting with teachers, training courses, off-line editions, etc. As far as its introduction within the educational system is concerned, 22,000 informative brochures were distributed among schools from Spain and 5,000 user guides to 5,000 teachers.
The SOL also has a wide resource base, mostly for adults - families and reading professionals such as teachers, librarians, publishers, and booksellers- with ample and varied information on the world of reading. The SOL has more than 30,000 different informative entries, based on 16,000 child and youth books and more than 5,000 documents.