Tuesday, 12 September 2023 10:20

The nineteenth month of the large-scale invasion, the one hundred and fifteenth month of the war. Professional 2

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Book market of the Renaissance.

The second part.

1. About the market. According to various estimates, the book market today is from UAH 1.5 to 2 billion, excluding textbooks and pirates. Unfortunately, there are almost no libraries. In a democratic world, as, after all, in an autocratic one, the share of libraries in the total volume of the market is from 10 to 25%. Moreover, the mentioned figure is usually projected and allows publishers to count on a guaranteed return on investment. This "fork" means that the industry should now receive from 150 to 500 million hryvnias for books for libraries. A lot or a little? The head of the specialized committee of the Verkhovna Rada, Mykyta Poturaev, gave an example: one of the non-regional cities allocates UAH 500 million for the repair of the station and the station area, and for the entire activity of the Book Institute (not only libraries), it is still difficult to find even UAH 50 million. It is about the national level. Let me remind you that culture is financed with the money of Western donors, without competing for our taxes with the military. This is a diagnosis of the system. Those 10-15 percent of the population who actively buy books do not influence the outcome of the election with their votes. The situation in this context has not changed during more than 30 years of independence. Moreover, the share of those who buy books decreases every decade. I am not specifically trying to analyze the dynamics of things today so as not to disappoint anyone. And the math is like this. 10% of 40 million, or 15% of 33 million, is approximately 4 million of the population. 4-5 books per year on average - these are the very modest 15-20 million copies that are the book market today.

2. One of the big publishers said yesterday that his library purchases in sales for the last year and a half are less than 1%. Almost everyone agreed with the statement. This is almost nothing. 1% includes approximately 250 communities where military units are located and military personnel are registered as taxpayers, providing the community with fairly high personal income tax deductions. However, books are not bought for this "hot" money, even in a situation where the general funds of Ukrainian libraries consist of 65-70% of books originating from the Soviet Union, the Russian Federation, and the Republic of Belarus.
The horror of the situation lies in the fact that more than 650 libraries have been completely or partially destroyed in the de-occupied territories and in the battle zone, and the restoration of funds deliberately destroyed by the enemy after the liberation of the territories by the state is not planned in the 2024 budget.

3. I was in Izyum in the first days after the liberation - both district libraries, children's and adult, were completely "liberated" by the Russians from books. Currently, the library's funds are restored by volunteers at the expense of donations and gifts from publishers. One of the descendants of Gianni Rodari partially gave money for the equipment. I was the first to go to the library in Shevchenkov, Kharkiv region, immediately after the liberation and saw the "Ukrainian literature" and "history" sections completely zeroed out, I saw the lists for the destruction of books. After the de-occupation of Kyiv Oblast, I was in the village of Pidgaino near Ivankovo, the destruction of which the enemy began by burning down the club/library with an aerial bomb. The enemy is afraid of our books, understands the importance of libraries in the cultural identity of our people. Last year, I saw two figures for the supply of books by Russians to the libraries of the occupied territories of Ukraine - 1.2 and 0.65 million copies, together - 1.85 million. For this year, according to the data released by People's Deputy Yevgenia Kravchuk, Putin calls the number 2 .5 million copies. After the liberation of the territories, it will be necessary to immediately replace this waste paper with Ukrainian books. Again, so far no state plans provide for this.

4. About bookstores. The discussion about the number of specialized bookstores in the country ended with the number 415-430. Is it enough? This is 1/10 of the European standards, if you don't also count the average area, which, in general, is quite small. As Viktor Kruglov, director of the Ranok corporation, noted, we are constantly publicly happy with every new bookstore that opens, forgetting to sigh sadly when a bookstore closes, which happens almost every week.
The successful cases of Dmytro Feliksov with the "Readeat" bookstore and Oleksiy Yerynchak - with the "Sens" bookstore in Kyiv remain positive exceptions in the zone of statistical error against the background of the problems faced by our colleagues when opening bookstores in regional centers and cities of the East.

5. The Parliament's achievement last year was the adoption of the law on book certificates from the state for parents of newborns and young people, and on partial compensation for renting bookstores. At the same time, these laws have not been suspended by the budget law and have not been financed. The helping hand extended by the state to scribes was removed so quickly that many years later it could only be remembered as an unfinished cultural identity.

To be continued

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Олександр Красовицький

Генеральний директор видавництва "Фоліо"

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