Bookpublishing in Estonia

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Transcript Bookpublishing in Estonia

Bookpublishing in Estonia
Tauno Vahter
Tänapäev Publishers
Basic facts
 „publishing“ as one area of activity – about 1000 companies
 In reality there are
 around 120 companies, which actually are book publishers
 about 25 publishers who publish more than 20 books a year
 VAT on books was raised in 2009 from 5% to 9%
(also on textbooks). Regular VAT rose from 18% to 20%
 As market dropped also due to other reasons, it is difficult to say how
much of the drop was because of the VAT change
 Other main problems: libraries don´t get enough money, lack of
publicity in TV & media, problems with quality translators etc (for
instance: no young translators from Russian).
New titles
Total print run
1654 23 million
1557 16 million
1965 12 million
3090 6 million
3466 6 million
3458 5,3 million
4040 7,2 million
4685 7,2 million
4551 6,8 million
 are mostly done from English (66 %)
 8% from German
 5% from French
 4 % from Russian and Finnish
 Not enough local authors.
 Most succesful export character is probably Lotte. New
novelists have not been so succesful abroad.
In recent years
 we publish about 4500 titles
 total print runs have dropped
 average print run is 1000 copies
 for translated new authors often even 500-600
 quite small translated books are very expensive – print run is small
 For instance – a 300-page paperback fiction book can cost 25 euros
because copyright, translation and printing costs the same but print run
is less than usual.
Estonian bookmarket in total turnover
 There is no clear estimate, how big the market is.
 Considering turnovers of biggest publishers and estimates
from retailers, total market size is probably around 500
million kroons (30-35 million euros).
2008 financial data
 By turnover biggest publishers are:
 TEA + Ilo 5 million euros (vocabularies, reference, textbooks,
language school)
 Avita 4 million (textbooks)
 Varrak 4 million (regular publisher + bookclub and some shops)
 Koolibri 3,75 million (textbooks)
 2009 data is not available yet, but according to rumours turnover
has dropped 20-40 % for different publishers
Biggest publishers by number of titles:
2009 2010 first 4 months
Ersen (ca 235)
Varrak (201)
Varrak (53)
Varrak (ca 225)
Ersen + Amor (ca 195) Ersen + Amor (43)
Sinisukk (203)
Koolibri (180)
Tänapäev (42)
Koolibri (203)
Tänapäev (125)
Egmont (33)
Tänapäev (125)
Egmont (121)
Sinisukk (39)
Ilo (105)
Sinisukk (84)
EPL (25)
Egmont (94)
Ilo (84)
Koolibri (25)
Ajakirjade K. (84)
Pegasus (76)
TEA (24)
TEA (74)
EPL (75)
Ajakirjade k. (24)
EPL (69)
Ajakirjade k. (69)
Eesti Raamat (24)
Total growth 7%
- 26 %
- 18 %
Media firms and publishing
 In last years, most (mainly newspapers) have also started
 Eesti Päevaleht started selling re-prints of old books:
 they are sold for a cheap price for one week
 and then scrapped (or should be)
 It may be one reason why translated fiction print runs have
dropped in last years
 Most of wholesale operates through two big companies:
 Apollo (owned by Finnish company Rautakirja, SanomaWSOY group)
 Rahva Raamat (Estonian-based), lately changed ownership.
 They also own the biggest retail bookshops
 This is not a good situation for publishers: wholesaler and retailer are
the same company, so they can put a lot of pressure of publishers
Both have a turnover of approximately 15 million EUR
Both have lately invested heavily in new bookshops in different towns
As supermarket sales are growing, competition between chains is big,
who gets a better deal. RIMI very negative attitude on books.
In 2009
 about 15% is sold through supermarkets (and growing)
 internet bookstore sales generate about 7% from total sales
 Estonian authors are usually more popular than translated
 This changed in about 2000-2005
 After that a revival of new local authors – people seem to
want to read about local context
What sells in Estonia? (according to Apollo sales)
 1. Urmas Ott (biography). (About 18 000 copies in total)
 2. Sofi Oksanen „Purge“ (fiction on Estonian Soviet history) ca 9000 +club
 3. Mihkel Raud „Musta pori näkku“ 8000
 4.-7. Stephenie Meyer „Twilight“ parts I-IV (about 6000-9000 copies each)
 8.
Jeremy Clarkson „Clarkson on Cars“
9. Andrus Kivirähk „Poo and the Spring“ (children book)
10. Mister Fred (book on Fred Jüssi, naturalist)
11. Eino Baskin biography (actor, humorist)
12. Cookbook of a Smart Housewife
13. Olavi Ruitlane „Naine“ (scandalous fiction)
14. Justin Petrone „My Estonia“ (foreigner talks about Estonians)
15. Seppo Zetterberg “History of Estonia”
 1. Sofi Oksanen „Purge“ (about 9000 in bookclub, 9000 in retail)
 2. Olavi Ruitlane „Woman“ (abound 5000 copies)
 3. Sofi Oksanen „Stalin´s Cows“ (about 4000)
 4. Andrus Kivirähk „Stories of God“ (humor)
 5. Stieg Larsson „Girl With a Dragon Tattoo“
 Sell usually about 4000-5000 copies
 At extreme cases up to 10000 copies
 in last years bookclub sales have dropped significantly.
 Used to be there were two bookclubs, now the only one
belongs to Varrak
 The bookclub for business books has almost stopped
 business books have been lately selling very poorly
New trend last 3-4 years:
„soft“ biographies on local celebrities
 Sales have been up to 35 000 copies
 But are dropping now (still quite high)
 Most succesful of these have sold 20-35 000 copies
 Majority over 10 000
 „hardcover interviews“ - not very high quality content, short text,
lots of photos
 quite a lot of bad publicity - not considered very high profile, but
fast money projects
 Women heros sell more than men
 Also a trend of books based on internet blogs:
 i.e “every text can be a book”
 some very succesful, sold over 5000 copies.
Biographies on local celebrities
 Many celebrities joke, that 5-6 different publishers want their
 Some don´t want even a „good classical“ biography, because
the genre has got a bad name.
 First popular bios were all on actors
 after the drinking memoirs of a local singer (35 000 copies sold)
publishers started to look up people, who are known as
alcoholics. These sold less.
 Wholesale usually adds 15-20 % to publisher´s price
 Bookshop gets 25-30% from retail price
 Most people working on book (author, translator, designer
etc) are all on contract
 they do not work in publishing houses
 usually only textbook publishers employ designers and layout
Money :
 Contracts are based on print-runs
 author fees are very different by popularity of the author and book
 A very rough estimate is about 1000-2000 euros for the first printrun.
 Translations are paid as advance and royalty from retail price
 Usual advance for a first print of 1000 copies is from 500 to 1000
 As sales have dropped, very often advance is actually more than the
royalty would be (7-8 per cent from the retail price)
 As there are many publishers, competition is tough.
 Prices get high for a very wanted translated title
 A translator for a 300 page fiction book gets about 1500 euros
 An illustrator for a children book around the same
 A text editor and proofreader about 500 euros
E- book
 First e-books have been published
 usually sold as pdf-files
 first book is available now also as download for iPhones.
 As far as we know, sales are very small, less than 50 copies.
 There are 5-6 different businesses (IT-companies, bookshops etc)
trying to explore possibilities for e-book market
 There will probably be a bigger launch this autumn, but sales are not
expected to be significant for several years
 One issue is translations –
 foreign publishers want a minimum advance sum for e-book
 as the sum is too big, so all first e-books will be local editions
 most – (about 80 %) is still printed in Estonia
 Publishers print also in
 China
 Central-Europe
 Latvia
 Lithuania
 Scandinavia
 2-3 printing plants have invested heavily in last few years, so
probably situation will stay the same and people are not
looking for new possibilities so much. Printing prices
dropped in 2009, but lately paper prices have risen again.
 has not been a very big problem last 12 years
 still some smaller publishers occasionally try to publish
copyrighted books for free
 mostly translations
 does not happen very often
Internet piracy
 There is some piracy in internet
 people have uploaded pdf-files and scanned books
 so far this has been a small issue
Fighting against internet piracy
 Occasionally we scan book names and book databases with search
 Tell the service providers to shut down problematic internet pages
 Usually we first give the owner a warning and say if they don´t take
material down then we will ask the service provider to shut down
the whole page.
 Problems seem to be biggest right now with handicraft
 for instance this forum has a lot of book material:
 If server is abroad, things take much more time.
Publisher and the state:
 State regulates publishing mostly through VAT
 Textbooks which can be bought from municipal/state money given to
 must be certified by a special comittee
Publisher can apply for support for some projects
Main organization for that is Kultuurkapital (Cultural endowment)
 takes application 4 times a year
 usually their support for a bookproject is around 1000-3000 euros
 helps to lower the cover price in shops about 20-30 %
Ministry of Culture and Ministry of Education also have some other
programs, but these are more specific.
Use of EU projects is not popular
 quite high level of bureacracy
 slow process of finally getting the finances from them to your bank account
(may take years in some cases)
Electronic services
 ISBN center giving ISBN codes full electronic service
 Library data (
 National Library has started archive for print files
 Most important bookshops: