Tuesday, February 24, 2004

The subway was filled this morning with people carrying shopping bags from the various booksellers in town: Today is the start of Sweden's countrywide yearly book sale, a practice that began in the 1920s when publishers wanted to get rid of remaindered books.

In a land where about 40 percent of the population reads a book for an average of 55 minutes on any given day (according to statistics from the Swedish Writers' Union), this sale is a big thing. But we're not talking huge numbers - in a market of some 9 million Swedish speakers, a book that sells 10,000 copies is a best-seller, more or less.

But, you gotta love a country where a book sale is eagerly awaited by nearly half the population.

Me, I haven't bought a thing. All my money is going to the new apartment.

The Swedish word for the day is förlag. It means publishing house.

- by Francis S.

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