The bookstore from inside: Pergamo
Pablo Cerezo, bookseller at Pérgamo: «Although we respect and admire the legacy of the previous Pérgamo, we believe it is also important to move towards new scenarios.
The Pérgamo bookstore in Madrid announced its closure in December 2021. But just one day before the closure of the business, as if by a miracle, a businessman appeared on the premises: Pergamo had been a place of reference for him since his childhood and he could not conceive of its closure, so he communicated to the sisters his intention to continue with his legacy. On April 19, 2022 they signed the lease and today Pérgamo is once again keeping its doors open. We spoke with Pablo Cerezo, its new bookseller.
What was the first thing that crossed your mind when you read that Pergamo was closing?
The announcement of Pérgamo’s closure was a tragedy. The bookstore was an institution in Madrid and its possible closure would have been an infinite sadness. It is unfortunate to live in a world where little by little latent spaces for knowledge and culture have been closed.
How does it feel to have been responsible for the rebirth of an emblematic bookstore?
Pride and challenge. But with the desire to try to maintain the shelves with a careful selection of titles and authors to challenge the empire of the screen and parcel delivery with a space of conviviality and conversation.
What was the reopening day like?
Although we didn’t have a reopening day as such, since summer, even when we didn’t have a cash register and we only had a few dozen books, there were already a lot of people from the neighborhood who came into the bookstore to ask questions. So the opening was very gradual. With the first sale, we only had a couple of shelves full of books. This has only prolonged the meeting with old readers and increased the celebration.
According to media reports, the closure was also motivated by a decrease in sales. Have they increased since you took over?
For now, yes, also because we are receiving the warmth of the people willing to celebrate the reopening of Pergamo. But the idea is that the project continues to grow. For this, we are planning a multitude of events, presentations, and book clubs to make the space more dynamic and attract people.
What has changed in Pergamo during these months?
We try to keep one foot in the classic and the other in the current. So, although we respect and admire the legacy of the previous Pergamo, we believe it is also important to move towards new scenarios. We have expanded our book offerings, betting on small publishers and new projects. In addition, we try to be very active in social networks to attract other audiences that are not necessarily from the neighborhood.
This activity in social networks is noticeable. Being a traditional bookstore with a more or less fixed clientele, how do you manage the coexistence with digital?
Although it is a very demanding job, we enjoy it very much and we believe it is an essential part of Pérgamo’s future. It allows us to access new audiences and has a more fluid contact with the neighborhood, the city but also with Mexico.
What new anecdotes does Pérgamo treasure in this new stage?
Many with dear readers who have become friends, with publishers in complicity and writers who walk the same path.