Polish Book Marketing Research training in Bulgaria ( © CEEBP Newsletter No 6, December 1999)

Within the framework of the Polish Cultural Journals Support Project (1996-1998), the Stefan Batory Foundation in Warsaw developed working relations with consultants from Book Marketing Research (BMR) regarding marketing, distribution, and the training of publishers. It proved to be a successful association.

Encouraged by enthusiastic reactions to BMR workshops in Poland, the Centre for Publishing Development in Budapest recommended that national Soros foundations in other East European countries hire BMR specialists for workshops, and offered to cover half of the costs.

CEEBP, together with the Soros coordinator of the Bulgarian Small Print-Run Support Project, agreed to invite BMR’s Polish trainers, Jacek Wlodarczyk and Mikolaj Burchard, to Sofia in September 1999. They spent two days prior to the workshop visiting bookshops, publishers, and the open-air book market in Sofia.During the next four days, 20 participants (publishers and book distributors from all over Bulgaria), attended lectures on strategic planning in marketing, focusing on product, price, distribution, promotion, research, and advertising. In particular, new ways to outline advertising strategies were received with much interest by the participants.

The workshop’s positive results were partly due to the method of presentation used by BMR during the seminar, linking theoretical knowledge with an empirical analysis of the book market in Bulgaria, and highlighting possible solutions with practical examples taken from Polish experience.All participants were asked to bring a few copies of their journals. After uncompromising comments following a detailed analysis, BMR consultants offered the publishers their professional opinion about the sustainability of each product.

All questions and issues raised during the lectures resulted in discussions and consultation with the lecturers, allowing the participants to benefit from each other's experience. The BMR consultants succeeded in motivating the publishers actively to use and adjust marketing tools for the non-commercial part of the publishing sector. As a direct result of the workshop, several journals embarked upon joint advertising and promotional activities.

By Milena Deleva, Sofia

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