Bulgarian Small Print-Run Publishing Project 1998 – 2000

The project supported Bulgarian literary magazines and cultural journals from spring 1998 until September 2000 to assist them in becoming self-sustainable. With the help of funds from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Soros Center for the Arts in Sofia and CEEBP, publishers have been trained in management skills, promotion, and distribution. In order to boost sales of cultural periodicals in Bulgaria, the project team launched the Cultural Journals Catalogue, providing information about 71 quality periodicals. The catalogue, the first of its kind in Bulgaria, was presented at the Sofia Book Fair in November 1998, and aroused great interest in the media.

The project resulted in two main promising developments. The first was the establishment of an association of cultural journals and its lasting co-operation with Artefact Ltd. regarding distribution, marketing, and promotion, resulting in the National Distribution Network for Cultural and Art Publications. Furthermore, Artefact provided a series of individual consultations and training for publishers in the last six months of the project. The second important development was co-operation with the National Library of Sofia, which had agreed to take over the administration of the matching library subscription programme to ensure its continuation after the end of the project.

Matching funds for libraries featured as one of the important elements in the project. Libraries could subscribe to cultural periodicals at a considerable discount and so they did, on a large scale. The first year, in 1998, libraries were offered subscriptions at a discount of 75 percent. In 1999, the discount decreased to 50 percent, but the enthusiasm for subscriptions increased: 150 public libraries took out subscriptions to 65 journals.

A survey showed that it would be unrealistic to expect libraries to continue at that level of subscriptions without outside support. Their budget simply would not allow it. CEEBP and the Soros Center for the Arts in Sofia therefore decided to continue the matching funds program for three more years. In 2000 - 2001, the discount amounted to 50 percent; the following year it decreased to 40 percent and in the last year to 30 percent, with the expectation that the economic situation of libraries and of journals would improve so much that they could do without matching funds from abroad, and that new techniques - such as an electronic version of periodicals - would help bring a solution.

Go Back