A Press Conference About the State of the Book Market

Listen to the audio recording from the debate. 

How did publishers and booksellers survive the crisis and which new methods of promotion, presentation and sales will influence the future? What changes will we witness within the Slovak book market come fall? LIC (The Literary Information Center) has organized a press conference in Martinus. Host Michal Hvorecký discussed topics related to the future of book selling with his guests, the head of The Association of publishers and booksellers of the Slovak Republic Juraj Heger, publisher and bookseller Vladimír Michal, director of LIC Miroslava Vallová, cultural-events organizer František Malík and Gabriel Hushegyi from The Arts Council.

Miroslava Vallová talked about supporting the publishing of Slovak literature abroad, which continued despite the pandemic. "Books published by international publishers have been and are still coming and we have to provide the financial support to honor our previous agreements. However, we received no money from the Ministry of Culture for these activities, so we had to reroute money intended for other use." The situation was bleaker in living culture, e. g. festival book presentations and other.

From the point of view of a bookseller, Vladimír Michal talked about the book market being shut down, mostly due to closing of bookshops that proved fatal to many of them.

František Malík pointed out that cultural organisations were struck first, as the absolute ban of all cultural events was among the first steps to prevent the spread of the pandemic. Going online helped partially, however, cancelling all upcoming events, small and large, cost the organisations a lot of effort and administration.

Gabriel Hushegyi of The Arts Council stated priorities of the fund in an attempt to react swiftly to the situation. Among those priorities were recognizing online events as valid outputs, or rerouting funds to libraries for buying more books from local, small booksellers, thus helping the entire book market.
Juraj Heger talked about how the book culture and its professional workers missed meetings that normally lead to starting new projects.

All discussants shared their hopes that the whole book market and literary community grow stronger after the crisis. Miroslava Vallová confirmed Slovak participation at the International book fair in Frankfurt that will take place under significant restrictions. In a similar vein, František Malík confirmed that literary events, such as the literary programme at Pohoda in the Air, will continue. Gabriel Hushegyi mentioned the possibility of upgrading the status of artists in today's society, Vladimír Michal expressed hope that customers return to their favourite bookshops. Autumn and Christmastime will be of utmost importance.

You can listen to the audio recording of the discussion here:


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