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Publishing in Russia

Publishing in Russia

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Published by Publishers Weekly

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Published by: Publishers Weekly on Aug 04, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Special Report 2011
A young and aggressive market focused onmore cross-cultural exchanges andcloser ties with the global publishing community
Publishing in
Publishing in Russia 2011
are concentrated in two cities: Moscowand St. Petersburg. One can easily meet85% of the industry players just in Mos-cow and take an 80-minute plane ride ora three-and-a-half-hour fast train to St.Petersburg to see the rest. No multiplecity–hopping itineraries required.In Russia, a print run tends to coverthe whole lifespan of a title and indicatesthe success of a title (or author). Publish-ers usually do not keep any inventory,preferring instead to push all ontoshelves. Reprinting is a new concept nowthat print run has come down and pub-lishing has become more demand-based.Here is a country where cloth-boundchildren’s books are more common thanthose in paperback. There lies the snobappeal, as paperbacks are perceived tocater for the lower-income brackets.These unique characteristics have pro-duced some challenges along with oppor-tunities within the industry. And no oneknows better, or can offer clearer observa-tions, than the insiders.Andrew Nurnberg, of the eponymousrights agency (the first to set up shop inMoscow), says, “Smaller publishers havebeen having a tough time trying to keepahead of the game, not leastbecause the large companieshave deep pockets when it comesto author advances. Yet some of these publishers, by virtue of having a smaller output, havebeen able to invest time, energy,and marketing resources to goodeffect. For example, they havebegun to invite internationalauthors to Russia for promo-tional tours. The quality of theirtranslations is improving, as arejacket designs and overall pro-duction. But the Russian pub-lishing industry is sufferingfrom poor distribution—in fact,some distributors even got intofinancial difficulties—as well asfrom high production costs andlow retail prices. Russian readers, how-ever, have been privileged to be able tobuy cheap books, and it is a true pleasureto see bookshops filled with readers pur-chasing five or six books at a time.”
Broadening its presence abroad whiletransforming its domestic infrastructure
The Dynamic RussianBook Market
By Teri Tan
Talk about transformation. In a span of 20 years, the Russianbook market has made a 180-degree shift, from state-ownedpublishing and distribution to privately held (except for a fewexceptions) and increasingly client driven. Every componentof its book market was created overnight, after state-ownedpublishing and the infrastructure supporting distribution andretailing collapsed.
vices and online distribution. These ser-vices are in turn offered to smaller pub-lishers.It is also worth noting that, for a coun-try so vast, publishing and distribution
uch transformationhas resulted in sev-eral characteristicsunique to the mar-ket. For instance,one will find hugepublishing conglomerates pro-ducing a staggering number of publications in a single day.Eksmo and AST, the two behe-moths that control nearly 45%of the market, have publishedmore than 600 titles per monthin recent years—somethingthat is unheard of in the rest of the world.Big publishers have alsointegrated vertical chains thatmay include wholesaling, bricks-and-mortar bookselling, online retailing, anddigital content aggregation. Growth inthe e-book segment, meanwhile, hassome branching out into digitization ser-
On display at Moscow Dom Knigi are translated titles including Michael Ondaatje’s
The English Patient
, Mary Higgins Clark’s
IHeard That Song Before
, Kathryn Stockett’s
The Help
, JackKerouac’s
On the Road,
and Elizabeth Gilbert’s
   C   O   V   E   R   P   H   O   T   O   ©    I   S   T   O   C   K   P   H   O   T   O   /   M   I   K   I   E   1   1

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