Tucson Festival of Books give Tucson an economic boost

Published: Mar. 13, 2022 at 10:33 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - The Tucson Festival of books is wrapping up after a successful weekend.

The festival is back this year after a hiatus due to COVID-19. Each year, the festival brings in thousands of people to Tucson, and this year was no exception.

Executive director of Tucson Festival of Books, Melanie Morgan, says the turnout for the weekend exceeded her expectations.

“The hotels are full, our restaurants have lots of people eating at them, in addition to all of the local vendors that come out to sell at the festival,” Morgan said. “So, the economic impact, I believe of years ago it was estimated between $3-5 million for the weekend. I really think that’s a lot higher now.”

Morgan was concerned the festival might be smaller this year because of COVID concerns. Despite all that, nearly 300 authors came to Tucson to take part in the festival.

“A lot of them are local authors this year or authors that have driven in from not too far away. But, we do have authors from all over the country, and actually I think there’s one from as far away as Argentina,” she said.

After holding the event virtually last year, authors were overjoyed to be back in-person.

“We are selling a bunch. We actually have a lot of people coming up asking how they can get published. We’re selling our stories,” Tucson author Rebecca Black said.

Black says the in-person event gives them a chance to engage more readers.

“This takes it event to a higher level of going into a bookstore. This allows you to interact with somebody’s story and you can ask them, why? What inspired you?” she explained.

Author Bill Markley is from out of town, but he’s participated in the festival for eight years. He said this weekend was a big win in his book.

“We’ve sold a lot. We’ve had lines of people standing here to buy books. So it’s been a great event. I’ll be back next year,” he said.

The final numbers for the weekend aren’t in yet, but Morgan said this year has been a huge success and she is already making plans for next year’s festival.

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