The International Round Table

‘The International Round Table’ of practicing publishers was held in Kyiv on May 13 in a remote format. The theme of the meeting was “Modern challenges and trends in the field of creative industries.” Absolutely everyone could join the online meeting by following the link on the website of the Ukrainian Association of Publishers and Booksellers.

Among the participants of the conference were respected representatives of Ukrainian publishing houses and other enterprises of creative industries: President of the Ukrainian Association of Publishers and Booksellers Alexander Afonin, Cannes Lions official representative in Ukraine Iryna Kuznetsova, editor-in-chief and co-founder of The Old Lion Publishing House Maryana Savka.

Among the invited guests were also representatives of the Finnish publishing business: Tuula Pere, writer and co-owner of Wickwick Publishing House and Pekka Pere, founder of Wickwick Publishing, based in Helsinki, Finland. The moderator of the meeting was Olena Osmolovska, Associate Professor of Publishing and director of Publishing Center “12.”

The round table had several thematic blocks, the main of which were:

  • Book ecosystem during the COVID-19 pandemic;
  • Mechanisms of reading popularization: Ukrainian and foreign experience;
  • Distance format in university education;
  • Modern approaches to the training of future professionals in the field of creative industries.

Publishers share their own marketing cases, which they use in the crisis period for the publishing industry. All market players are looking for options on how to adapt to modern conditions dictated by pandemic.

Immediately after the introduction of strict quarantine, almost all publishers began to stimulate the market: they made discounts, thematic book sales, the possibility of profitable pre-ordering of publications, free delivery, and so on. The number of online communications around publishers has also increased, including newsletters and company and store blogs, and a number of online presentations, discussions, lectures, and “meetings” around the modern book.

The speakers willingly shared their impressions and experiences of how they started selling takeaway books with coffee in bookstore-coffee shops and promoting their products on supermarket shelves. Now publishers are wondering what else they can do to stay in the market.They really need government support.

For example, Maryana Savka said that there were many challenges and they concerned very different areas of the publishing house: from clear and effective organization of remote work of the team to finding new channels for selling books and merchandise that would insure during bookstores. In the complete absence of live meetings with authors, discussions and presentations, it was important not to lose touch with readers. And it was necessary to look for opportunities and continue to release new products and advertise them.

Personally, I want us to say that the sale of books, especially through physical stores, is an extremely low-profit business in our country, so even without the circumstances of quarantine and the general state of the economy, the government must support bookstores in every possible way.

Undoubtedly, the quarantine came suddenly and forced to adapt to a new life online. And one would think that these are only losses and difficulties for the publishing business, but we must believe that any obstacles can be turned into victories and achievements.

May 13, 2021

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