David De Vita announced late last week that his famed bookstore, Adán Buenosayres, would be going out of business due to the economic strain caused by the recent dramatic fall in sales of print books. The shop, named after the iconic Argentine novel by Leopoldo Marechal, has been in business for 30 years.
A line of people about 50 meters long could be seen outside the unassuming bookstore after news spread that Buenosayres would be liquidating its stock and offering huge discounts. After so many years in business, De Vita has accumulated more than 60,000 books. He says that having to close up shop was certainly not something he expected, and he is only looking to cover the cost of severance pay for his three employees with the book sale.
The problems for Adán Buenosayres began in January of this year. Rising rents and falling sales made the bookstore not only unprofitable, but also not even sustainable as a business. De Vita attributes this to the fact that lamentably, people today have financial priorities that don’t necessarily include buying books. There is no set date for the shop’s final day, but it will likely be at the end of July, since he still has a great deal of inventory to sell.
Unfortunately, its closing seems to be part of a trend and not an isolated event. It comes after the recent closings of the bookstores Prometeo in Palermo and the subsidiary of Distal in Caballito. These are marked examples of casualties of the worst economic first semester in ten years for the industry in Argentina, and a staggering 15% drop in sales compared to this time last year. This isn’t necessarily a result of a move towards digital media, but more of a reflection of the economic situation in Argentina. Falling discretionary income is affecting spending in all areas of culture and the arts according to David, but it doesn’t make the blow any less severe. The bookseller says that despite the fact that his store will be closing its doors forever, he will be a librarian for the rest of his life. He calls his vocation, “an eternal profession.”
Finding any sort of solution to such a complicated problem is not easy, but heading to Adán Buenosayres in the coming days to buy a few books and to show support may help ease his burden.