Slovak Publishing Project 2000 – 2002
Under the auspices of the Milan Šimecka Foundation, support was provided for extensive training of publishers and booksellers, small print–run management, libraries subscription programme, and for joint activities of the Index Association of Independent Publishers: Book Club with a catalogue of more than 50 publishers, joint journals subscription, book promotion and book distribution, which subsequently ensued in the excellent online bookshop Knihkupectvo Legenda, offering one of the widest choice of books in Slovakia, and with CEEBP support, in the online bookshop of Artforum.
The Index association of publishers has set up a fund, paid from proceeds of the catalogue and reproduction rights, that has been supporting quality publishing with interest-free loans to enable publishers to invest in new books. After a publication, the loan is paid back to the fund from the revenues of the book to help other publishers.
Legacy of the Slovak Publishing Project 2000 – 2002
The project, launched in April 2000 at the initiative of the Index Association of Independent Publishers, was completed in December 2002. By opening its activities to all quality publishers as well as distributors and booksellers and by involving both the professional and the general press, the project functioned as a catalyst of favourable changes on the Slovak book market. It significantly improved the book-trade infrastructure by enhancing the joint efforts of publishers, distributors and booksellers, and the creation of a number of institutions that have earned a solid reputation in the book-trade, cultural circles, the professional and general press, as well as the wider public.
The Index Book Club and its quarterly catalogue, launched in September 2000, has become a well-established source of information, book promotion, and a supplementary distribution channel for quality publications in a wide variety of genres. Initially launched by the Index Association as a service for seven publishers, the Book Club became a regular supplementary outlet for more than fifty publishing houses of all sizes, enabling them to make their publications available to thousands of readers even in places that did not have a bookshop.
In the course of the project, the Book Club sold more than 53.000 books. According to publishers and booksellers, the sale of books through the Book Club did not lead to a decrease in sales via other distribution channels, which indicated that the Book Club had filled an existing gap in the market.
The Literary Club, launched in February 2002 and held regularly on the occasion of the quarterly publication of the Index catalogue, became a tradition that attracted many visitors and generated a vivid media attention for new books.
The regional promotion of books and reading, organised by the regional representative of Index in schools, clubs, and libraries across the country, developed into a successful programme, including books of all involved publishers. Regional promotional activities spread both across the country and across age categories. Author readings and presentations stimulated interest in books where it had not been observed before and generated new individual and institutional Book Club membership.
The Library program became an established regular part of the Book Club activities, and of the schedule of schools, cultural clubs, and libraries. The program continued with the policy of special discounts for the libraries financed by the Book Club.
The Weekly Literary supplement in a large circulation quality daily, initiated by members of Index, became a regular and indispensable source of information on new books for a wide public, published both on paper and the Internet, and highly valued by readers and professionals alike. It was financed by the newspaper and run by its editorial staff.
The Training programme, which consisted of fifteen workshops for publishers, booksellers and distributors, became a regular feature of the Slovak book trade held in high esteem by the professional community. According to the participants, the training improved general professional standards, enabled many of them to significantly raise their professional level and effectiveness, and improved cooperation between publishers, booksellers, and distributors.
The transfer of Dutch expertise through meetings of the Slovak project management with experts from various book trade institutions in The Netherlands (The Royal Book Trade Association KVB, Stichting Speurwerk (market research), the Book Trade Training VOB, Centraal Boekhuis, Flevo Druk, Gopher publishers, and the Foundation for the Collective Promotion of the Dutch Book CPNB) was invaluable.
CEEBP also arranged for publishers and project coordinators from Croatia and Serbia-Montenegro to participate in seminars in Slovakia and make use of the experience of their Slovak colleagues.
The project was implemented under the auspices of the Slovak Milan Šimečka Foundation in close cooperation with CEEBP, and was co-financed by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, CEEBP, OSI Budapest and Slovakia, the Slovak Ministry of Culture, the Slovak Foundation for Civic Initiatives, and Index.