Publishing in the European Neighbourhood - Presentation and Discussion at Frankfurt Book Fair 2013

10 October 2013, Frankfurt
The biggest in the world professional gathering of publishers and all sorts of book people features hundreds of events within its five days. This year, one of them was organized by the Book Platform to present its studies on the book sectors of Armenia, Georgia and Ukraine.Tricky as it may be to have three so different countries in one presentation, the event still managed to give flesh to the pure numbers and a hint on the country-specific issues in publishing. After a short overview by Ruediger Wischenbart who has been overseeing the local teams during the studies' execution, the panelists had but a short time to answer the moderator's questions. Annetta Antonenko of Calvaria Publishers in Ukraine spoke of the competition from Russia on which Ukrainian publishers can only answer by offering high-quality products. Nerses Ter-Vardanyan, an adviser at the Ministry of Culture of Armenia, focused more on the role of the state in the country's publishing, a role that seems to be more decisive about the outlook of the book sector than in other countries. Zaza Shengelia, a publisher from Georgia, touched upon the topic of the vitality of Georgian publishing today and the proliferation of new small entities.

The event had to compete for attention with several parties serving food and drinks at the end of a busy fair-day, among them - sadly, also the reception at the Georgian stand. The project panel was nevertheless better attended than some of these parties: some 35 publishers, experts, cultural organizations, writers and funders came to Forum Dialogue at hall 5 to listen to the panelists and raise questions. Vladka Kupska,
Sales Manager at Frankfurt Book Fair for Central, Eastern and Southeast Europe, Caucasus, and Central Asia, called the project event "the best organized public presentation".

Further, the project's contributions to "mapping" both translations from and translations into the languages of the three countries was highlighted by Yana Genova at the annual Frankfurt gathering of translation funding agencies. Still, the most effective way to spread the word on project activities remains making its results, such as its studies on publishing, readership and translations, known to (discussed by, referred by, criticized by) audiences both in the target countries and in Europe. "I had read the draft electronic version of the Georgian Publishing study before going on a visit to Georgia", said Tobias Voss, director of International Department at FBF, in a conversion with Yana Genova, "and I have found it extremely useful".

The discussion on the studies is not over yet: everybody can comment on the project activities and outcomes at the relevant section on the project website or get in touch with project partners.


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