By Jay Forte, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Residents of São Gonçalo, the neighborhood north of Niterói across the bay, will gain a new unit of the Mais Leitura (More Reading) book program on Tuesday (June 28th), thanks to the Imprensa Oficial (Official Press) of Rio de Janeiro. The government sponsored project offers popular books at discount prices, which range from R$2 to R$4.
The residents of São Gonçalo, which with over one million residents is the second largest city in the state, can find titles by the best publishers from Monday to Friday from 9AM to 6PM, and on Saturdays from 9AM to 1PM. The opening of the new unit will be on Rua Coronel Moreira César, in the Centro of São Gonçalo.
“The return to São Gonçalo is significant for us. We received great feedback from citizens and this shows the importance of the project and how it has been recognized and approved by the Rio de Janeiro public,” said Haroldo Zager, head of Imprensa Oficial.
He adds, “The Mais Leitura is important because it opens the horizon of people and provides access to information and learning, and form new readers.”
Deputy Secretary of Economic Development, Science and Technology of São Gonçalo, André Luiz de André explained “The site was chosen to serve the general public, especially the students, since it is in a point of the city surrounded by schools.”
This month, the Mais Leitura project also celebrates its five years of its foundation with four million books sold. With the slogan: “Inside a book, we find more than stories”. The program focuses on the importance of democratizing access to reading. The project now has three fixed locations and a “pop-up” which travels the Fluminense municipalities.
For Julia Michaels, an American expatriate living in Rio, who is a journalist, blogger and author of recently released, “Solteira no Rio de Janeiro” (“Single in Rio de Janeiro”), said, “[Mais Leitura] sounds like a good program!”
She adds that in Brazil, “Families in general don’t have a reading habit and, as the internet makes inroads, we see the same trend as in developed countries: less reading, more online time. […] Book sales rose as more people left poverty in the last fifteen years in Brazil, but much of this was government purchases.”
In terms of the book publishing industry in Brazil, she explains, “prices are relatively high, but costs are too, volume needs to grow to bring down costs.”