Libreria Berkana, Madrid
Introduction for Libreria Berkana
Mili Hernández opened the doors of Libreria Berkana in 1993. Simultaneously, she started a publishing company, Editorial Egales. I recently visited her in Madrid where she often works alone, committed to keeping this important Madrid landmark in business.
Editorial Egales has published some 500 gay and lesbian titles in Spanish since Mili began in the early 1990s. Her achievement is nothing short of monumental and yet so very fragile given the dynamics of globalization and the Internet. Luckily, in Spain, people still enjoy reading books printed on paper. Just take a ride on the Madrid subway and you will see many people are immersed in their current reading material. Most have physical books in their hands.
[You know what they are: rectangular paper objects with a cover, spine, and pages to be turned. A reality that adds a physical dimension to words – which, in digital format, merely float unmoored in cyberspace – fulfilling the needs of our senses, to touch, feel, and savor in response to the flow of text. And, finally, to put on a shelf along with many other books as markers of our identity, and, hopefully, our ever expanding grasp of humanity.