Bárbara Bulhosa, from the also independent Tinta-da-China, considers that the Ministry of Culture “has behaved badly”. “Culture is one of the most affected areas. First it is Tourism, of course, but then it is Culture. I think it is ridiculous that there are no serious measures, a strategic recovery plan in the most diverse areas, instead of separate and disparate things. Culture is very unprotected in most cases. There is no stability as in other sectors of the economy, ”he said to the Observer, stressing that, in order to function, cultural industries must always depend on subsidies, public support or patronage. Otherwise, it is not possible to do anything in Portugal.
“I think there should be support, something seriously, for those who want to invest in knowing that their business is not going down the drain. I think that Tinta-da-China has everything to continue, but there must be a market ”, she also considered, admitting to being“ quite scared as an independent publisher. I have nine people working, all effective, with health insurance ”. Of the state support, Tinta-da-China was not entitled to anything. And this week, Bárbara Bulhosa learned that she will not be entitled to the loan she had requested because the credit line created to contain the effects of Covid-19 has run out. Expresso reported the end of support in a news story published in early May, but it was only now that the publisher was informed by the bank, which guaranteed from the outset that Tinta-da-China was eligible for support, that there is no more money available.
Bárbara Bulhosa cannot understand how a company “that has a completely clean record has no support from the state”. “If a company like this has no support, which one will it have?”, He asked, throwing new criticisms at the Government, which considers doing nothing for Culture, a “lapel” sector for António Costa's Executive.
In the opinion of Carlos Alberto Machado, what the pandemic mainly brought was an aggravation of the symptoms of a disease that had been felt for a long time. "We had the symptoms and they suddenly exploded, like those things that we have been sleeping in the body for years," he said, adding that "what was before, is what is now".
“People buy few books because they read little. The biggest problem, which cannot be solved by the work and grace of any government or by the work and grace of the Holy Spirit, is this. Governments could do a little more to try to counter this type of thing, which has to do with promoting reading or with occasional support. There is the problem of libraries, of reading, of giving more visibility to Portuguese books and authors in the public space. It is absolutely vital, and it is not done. The press has more to do and nobody loses elections because there are no books. Nobody cares that much. ”
More than two months after suspending the publication of new books, Portuguese publishers are now preparing to return to normalcy. And how does that do it?
Bárbara Bulhosa believes that, at least in this first phase, there will be “nonsense” of books on the market, because of the great enthusiasm that a return to releases naturally brings. “I am convinced that more books are coming out now. We are all in the mood to resume, to reopen, to return to the activity we used to have. I myself am excited about the new books, ”he admitted. Despite this, there are many doubts about achieving this goal. “We continue to think as if everything is normal, but how will the books reach people? Something has changed here and we will have to reinvent ourselves. ”
In the case of Tinta-da-China, this change goes through a greater commitment to the site – which has been working “beautifully”, although without earning what is necessary – and the creation of new and different content, “in the sense of trying to find alternatives and to seduce readers in the same way ”, but reassuring them that there is no danger and that they“ don't have to take chances ”. For now, there were several books that were scheduled that fell to the ground. “We are going to produce fewer books and there are a number of them that were due to come out in 2020 and that we postponed until 2021”, said the publisher, who has been working, as well as the rest of the Tinta-da-China team, from home. "I will try to be as cautious and restrained in my enthusiasm as to not make management mistakes."