Latviski English По-русски
Ceturtdiena 24.05.2018 | Name days: Marlēna, Ilvija, Ziedone

Jumava: book industry’s contribution forms 100 million lats yearly

(+1 rating, 1 votes)

Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RU, Juris Visockis

Juris Visockis

Book publishing effect on education, information, language improvement and design can be assessed at the extent of 100 million lats a year, the Head of the publishing house Jumava Juris Visockis indicates in an interview to the business news portal BNN.

He also acknowledges book publishing industry is alive, because five books are published in Latvia daily. The publisher also hopes to return to the annual turnover of one million lats, which the company managed to achieve before the crisis in 2008.

What has the publisher Jumava achieved during its 20 years of existence?

These have been years of rivalry with the fact the book market conditions become more and more difficult, however, we became wiser as well. Every year it seemed the next one will be calmer and better. But – nothing; even new challenges emerged. Starting with the VAT rise saga, which was a huge mistake of Ivars Godmanis government. We are thankful to Valdis Dombrovskis government for keeping the reduced rate of 12% on books. The VAT increase is not good, but at least now there are opportunities and base for work. Currently, we publish 120 to 150 book titles a year, of which about half is original literature. Hopefully, we will return to an annual turnover of one million lats that we had already attained before the crisis in 2008. The money I turn now will cover loan payments and the next book printing cycle. At the moment, we are improving book sales and distribution infrastructure.

How large is your chain of bookshops?

There are now ten bookstores. This is not really the entire scale of chains; however, we are ready to expand cooperation with L.Grāmata, Jāņa Rozes grāmatnīca or Valters un Rapa, if it is necessary and someone starts the negotiations. The good news is the bookshop sales have stabilized and exited the red numbers.

What type of support do you await from the state and the Culture Ministry?

We are a part of the creative industry such as theater, cinema and others, so book publishing is both business and lifestyle. We should be subsidized by the state, because we give a great value added to Latvia. Book publishing contribution in education, information, language improvement, design etc. could be estimated at 100 million lats per year. Yet, at the time of Godmanis mandate, the state attempted to collect three, six or even seven million lats, but it failed. This shook the industry significantly – everything fell by 50%. The only improving factor is that Latvians have long been a nation of book-lovers with the largest home libraries in the world. Andris Vilks, the Director of the Latvian National Library, told me this. We have a completely open book market, for instance, translated works comprise only 5% of the US book market. Latvia could learn from Norway, where publishers have it more easier, because 1 000 to 2 000 copies are immediately placed on public procurement for national libraries. During the fat years we published around 2500 titles yearly; however, Estonia is ahead of us with 4 000 book titles a year. Now we have about 2 000 books a year. Only about 200 copies go to library funds in Latvia.

We will never achieve the level of Norway’s prosperity. We have to ensure that the procurement does not slip to zero. There was a ridiculous situation right before the elections, when we met with the Finance Minister and mentioned that the state currently supports book procurement with 3 000 lats per year. The Finance Minister wanted me to go over the same statement three times, making sure whether I had meant 300 000 or 30 000 lats. He thought we had forgotten to add some zeros … and he sounded deeply infuriated. However, this sum has not been increased yet.

How are you affected by Zvaigzne ABC’s outlets?

It does and does not affect us, depending on how you look at it. Although Latvia is not a large country, each day five new books are published. This means that the sector is alive. During the 90s, Russian authors were glad that their books were very cheap. However, recently their prices are rising as well. Market segmentation and individualization is taking place; therefore, majority of consumers focus on the quality, the book’s aesthetic enjoyment, not its price. I have tried some discount campaigns, yet they not always pay off. The chain will extend, because soon mass digitization of books will occur, as well as a shift to online marketing exclusively. Publishers’ role will decrease.

What is the average number of print runs?

If five or seven years ago the average novel print run amounted to 3 000 copies, two years ago it was only 2 000 copies. Now print runs have dropped to 1 500 copies. Estonia prints 1 000 copies, this is what awaits us. It is not a tragedy, because publishers and printing houses have already adapted to it. This, of course, slightly surcharges the prime cost of a single copy. Publishers earn with cyclical books. Unfortunately, Latvian authors do not write bestsellers – about what is important for the Latvian people. Thanks to the publisher Atēna that first lifted prices of good, thick books above 10 lats. For ten years we did not manage to enter the market with cheaper polygraphic solutions and soft covers; but, now consumers have become more economical and accept it. Secondary school students and university students come to stores with new buying habits.

How many days do bookstores need to settle payments on the sold books?

It depends. Starting from 30 days. Everything is delayed, including our payments to authors. Of course, not to the extent of dramatic years – 2008, 2009 and 2010. There is a current account deficit. So, we understand shopkeepers having difficulties in settling payments with us.

The first round of the game Grand Prix, which you organized together with Reader’s Digest, has just concluded. What are the summarized results?

Indeed, last year the game Grand Prix was launched here from Lithuania. As a book publisher, I see great opportunity in this book distribution chain, because they have their own database. What they have verified in Lithuania over the five years is that their game players generally do not visit bookshops. This means that we are addressing other audience – stay-at-homes, the disabled, people with other traditions, also the Russian-speaking population. The total prize pool was over 30 000 lats, because the winner got 24 000 lats, replying within seven days. Other winner won a car worth 10 000 lats. This gave visibility to the publishing house Jumava. In future, I wish to distribute Jumava’s books in this chain. So far, they sold translated Reader’s Digest editions. Currently, their earnings are not large, as they are only increasing the customers’ base and market potential.

What do you think of the State Cultural Capital Foundation’s (SCCF) activities?

It is true that the SCCF is granting almost no funding for new books. Its budget has shrunken more than during the first years of its establishment. Over the 20 years, we have received valuable support from the SCCF and are operating due to many benefactors, local governments, embassies and the EU institutions. Rather than seeking sponsors, or beg for assistance of the SCCF, writers will have to start targeting foreign markets. Authors writing novels in the evenings or at nights after their main job, cannot make a living on that exlusively. So a support system for writers has to be created. Where are literature works describing Latvia’s economic crisis turmoils? This was requested at London and Frankfurt international book fairs. They are willing to conclude agreements.

Leave a reply

  1. Marnie says:

    You’ve hit the ball out the park! Incdrieble!

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

Riga City Council decides not to discuss matter of anti-corruption measures in Rīgas satiksme

Failing to reach a consensus on whether or not the matter regarding anti-corruption measures in Rīgas satiksme should be viewed behind closed doors, Riga City Council’s Security, Public Order and Corruption Prevention Committee decided to postpone its review.

Latvian companies in Vietnam to be provided with stable tax payment regime

Latvian businesses working in Vietnam are to be provided with a stable tax-payment regime that will not be subject to amendments of Vietnam’s regulations.

Saeima conceptually supports law amendments to reduce PIT debt formation

On Thursday, 24 May, Latvia’s Saeima approved in the first reading amendments to the Personal Income Tax Law that were proposed to reduce the possibility of PIT debt after application of differentiated non-taxable minimum or progressive rate on income, explains Saeima press-service.

Minister: unemployment is no longer Latvia’s main challenge

Latvia’s main challenge is no longer unemployment, rather the lack of qualified work force, said Welfare Minister Jānis Reirs at the opening of «Employment in Latvia yesterday, today and tomorrow» conference.

MH17 investigators: plane downed by Russian military unit

Dutch prosecutors, who are investigating the tragic crash of the Malaysian passenger plane that fell down in eastern Ukraine in 2014 taking the lives of 298 people, have stated that it has been downed by a missile released by a unit of the Russian Armed Forces.

Latvian Saeima gives green light to improve anti-doping regulation

On Thursday, 24 May, Latvia’s Saeima supported amendments to the Sports Law that provide for improving anti-doping regulation in the country and improve the autonomy of the anti-doping organization through the establishment of Latvian Anti-Doping Bureau, as confirmed by Saeima’s press-service.

Lithuania to host summit of women political leaders

Lithuania and its President Dalia Grybauskaitė will host the 2018 summit of the forum of Women Political Leaders, which is to take place in Vilnius from June 6 to 8.

Green energy becomes more and more attractive for Latvian residents

As technologies continue developing, the use of green energy gradually becomes more and more attractive to Latvian residents. The majority of respondents note that they may start using biomass, solar batteries and even wind turbines in the next ten years, according to results of Baltic International Bank’s latest Latvian Barometer.

Tartu railway routes operating again, system recovery from fire worth millions

In Estonia, railway traffic around the second city of Tartu interrupted last week by a cable fire has been restored with a temporary solution. To fully restore the automatic system, Estonian Railways estimate, millions of euros could be spent.

Committee chairman: municipalities’ involvement in state re-emigration policy is vital

«It is necessary to establish local governments’ responsibility in the country’s general re-emigration policy, because their role is vital. It is also important to involve the private sector. Re-emigration is not just a responsibility for regional coordinators; it is also a complex venture in which we should divide responsibility,» says chairman of Saeima’s Citizenship Committee Ritvars Jansons.

EC nearly to allocate half of next year’s budget to support economic growth

On Wednesday, 23 May, European Commission initiated approval of European Union’s 2019 budget project for EUR 166 billion, making EU’s next year budget 3% larger.

Yulia Skripal in first filmed statement: «We are very lucky to have survived»

Yulia Skripal, one of the victims of the Salisbury poison attack, has expressed her sentiments in her first filmed statement since the attack that has increased the diplomatic isolation of Russia as it is seen by many countries to have been highly likely linked to the attempted murder of Yulia and Sergei Skripals.

Latvia to refinance debt with lower interest rates

Latvia has released simultaneous two-term euro bonds for a total amount of EUR 650 million on international markets, as confirmed by State Treasury.

Italian head of state accepts Conte's candidacy for post of Prime Minister

In Italy, President Sergio Mattarella has accepted the candidacy of a political novice for the post of the Prime Minister chosen by two parties that seek both to lower taxes and renegotiate Italy's foreign debt.

Riga City Council decides not to view gambling hall closure in Riga; says Saeima should do it

Riga City Council has declined opposition deputy Juris Jurašs’ proposal to review matter regarding the closure of gambling halls in Riga. The coalition and one other deputy abstained in the vote, opposition voted in favour.

Fixed MPC portion to drop 27.8% for electricity users in July

From 1 July onward, the fixed portion of mandatory procurement component will decline by 27.8% for all electricity users, as reported by Public Utilities Commission.

Producer price level in industry grew 0.6% in Latvia in April

Compared to March, level of producer prices in the Latvian industry rose by 0.6 % in April 2018. Prices of products sold on the domestic market went up by 1.0 % and prices of exported products by 0.3 %.

70% of residents confident about benefits from European Union membership

According to results of European Parliament’s Eurobarometer study, 52% of Latvian residents are confident their country’s membership in the European Union is a good thing. An average of 60% of respondents across member states agree with this statement; even more positive responses are noted in Lithuania and Estonia – 67% and 69% respectively, as BNN was informed by EP Office in Latvia.

Minister: merging Competition Council and Public Utilities Commission is possible

Merging Competition Council and Public Utilities Commission is possible and is something for the next government to consider, says Latvian Economic Minister Arvils Ašeradens.

Turkish lira sharply loses value this week

The national currency of Turkey, the lira, has lost five percent of its value against the U.S. dollar this week resulting in a 20%-drop in the currency pair in 2018. The Middle Eastern NATO member is to hold early presidential and parliamentary election in June.

Number of companies whose employees sort waste on a rise in Latvia

The battery-collecting campaign organized by AS Latvijas Zaļais punkts, SIA Officeday Latvia and SIA Fazer Latvia has concluded. Over the course of the eight-month campaign, more than 100 businesses managed to collect 1,104 kg of used batteries.

Estonia's Kaljulaid on visit to Ukraine, where warfare has escalated

Kersti Kaljulaid, the President of Estonia, is in Ukraine on an official visit taking place from May 22 to 24m which includes both meetings with senior officials and travelling to Eastern Ukraine, where the Donbass war has entered its fifth year.

Latvian State Audit: it is necessary to sort out retirement pension system

Latvia should finally sort its sensitive retirement pension system, said State Auditor Elita Krūmiņa in an interview to Rīta Panorāma programme of LTV.

24/7 working hours getting popular for Tallinn supermarkets

In Tallinn, the Finnish supermarket chain Prisma has noticed demand for round-the-clock shopping plans to have in the Estonian capital three supermarkets with unlimited working hours 24/7.

Latvian Defence Committee conceptually supports amendments to National Security Law

To further improve legislation in the country’s defence sector, Saeima’s Defence, Internal Affairs and Corruption Prevention Committee supported in the first reading amendments to the National Security Law on Tuesday, 22 May.

Most read

Most commented