The bookstore from inside: Librería Códex
Vicente Pina, owner of Librería Codex: «It is not so important to recommend a title, but to make readers».
In our recurring tour of bookstores in Spain, we went to Orihuela, in Alicante, specifically to Librería Códex. There, we asked its owner, Vicente Pina, about the day-to-day life of a bookstore that has been a fundamental axis of culture in this Valencian city for more than 20 years.
What did you think the first day you opened Librería Codex?
It’s probably more interesting what friends and family thought, «Why not open a computer store? We are talking about the year 2000, the beginning of the new century when the projection of new technologies was already booming.
For my part, it was all illusion and nerves because I was entering a world that as a reader was already dizzying and I was not wrong. But I was happy with that decision and with the twenty-two years of my career, for the time being. Thirty-seven years old at the time and with a pleasant experience as a self-taught reader, married, with a daughter, leaving my job and embarking on a dream is always risky, but it has made me happy, even if it sometimes takes away my sleep.
What does this bookstore bring to Orihuela?
Orihuela is the second city in the Valencian Community with the largest number of monuments and historical elements, in addition to the figure of our poet Miguel Hernandez. There is a whole social and cultural network, and from the very beginning, Librería Codex has been close to Orihuela and has been a collaborator in many initiatives. It has been too long since this city had a bookstore dedicated entirely to the dissemination and promotion of books and reading, and that has been our pillar of action from the beginning. A meeting place with presentations, talks, and book clubs.
What are the titles most in demand by customers?
I would highlight three main lines:
– Local authors and local history.
– Miguel Hernández
– and children’s and young people’s literature
It is complicated to say titles when we are constantly receiving new titles from almost all publishing groups and independent publishers. Logically, the bestsellers of the moment are always in great demand.
To recommend a title, I think we should all read or reread The Man Who Planted Trees by Jean Giono. I have read it more than thirty times and I recommend it whenever someone tells me that they are a person who does not read much or that they have not yet found the book that will drive them to continue reading.
In which titles have you observed an increase in sales?
More than titles, we have had a great increase in the comic genre and especially in manga. We have incorporated new furniture and set up a larger space for this genre.
Is there now a demand for a specific genre in your bookstore?
In addition to the increase in our comic area, I would highlight crime novels and science fiction. Although we have room for all genres and have a varied clientele in terms of literary tastes. Being a generalist bookstore, we have spaces for history, social and political essays, poetry, classics, popularization, and knowledge… Without forgetting our wide area of illustrated albums and collections by subjects and ages for the youngest, both in Spanish and Valencian.
Now that the Internet has become another showcase for many businesses, how do you manage this coexistence with the digital?
Quite well, although with little time to be more active in social networks, embarked on interesting projects such as Todostuslibros, Bookshop, or Libelista, in addition to our website to which we continue to incorporate constant improvements. Digital should not be an inconvenience to promote reading on paper, but an ally. It is common to hear from young people in the bookstore that even if they have read a book in digital format, they buy it because having it on their shelves at home has added value.
What would you recommend about your bookstore to someone who has never been there?
First, they visit us if they travel through our area, they will be well received in our bookstore and our beautiful city. And second, when they read, any book, it is not so important to recommend a title but to make readers.
Cover photo: vegabajadigital.com