Book Publishing in Europe, Vol. 11 - 2004, No. 4
The aim of this paper is to explore some of the issues around why and how governments in Europe support the book. It looks at financial support for the creators, producers, promoters, and readers of printed books, and, while it touches on actions by European institutions, the focus is on national and regional activities. The objective is to try and identify different models of support for publishing and the book, and to compare some underlying cultural attitudes and policy objectives of different schemes. Actions in several countries are used to illustrate the different types of support provided, but there is particular reference to the French and British situations, where a variety of support schemes are operated by different branches of central government and by regional authorities.
Book publishing is a dark spot in social and media studies. Throughout the twentieth century, statistics on book production, distribution and consumption were inadequate and generated randomly, without properly developed methodology. Even more, in comparison with library science and media studies, book and publishing studies are latecomers to the world of academia: they gain a domestic right there as late as in the last decade of the previous century. Due to this lack of research tradition and methodology, comparisons among different European and between European and American book industries that took place in recent research projects sponsored by the European Union open more questions than they provide answers. At the same time, academic interest in books has been predominantly limited to book and publishing history. The paper will analyse what generated such a state of affairs in recent book research. Further, it will analyse those points that, throughout the 1990s, generated interest in book market research and at the same time produced gaps in the methodology used. In its final pages, the paper will propose some new indicators that might be used in measuring and comparing different book industries.
This article argues that research into literary prizes can potentially be extremely pertinent in the understanding of the material and ideological conditions of the production and reception of literature and literary value. As such, the analysis of prizes awarded is similar to the wider project of book history and publishing studies, and in their fusion of cultural and economic capital, literary prizes are thus part of the larger environment in which books are produced, distributed and consumed. Through an examination of the impact of eligibility requirements and the reception of prize-winning books, particularly within the European context, this article examines the vital role of prizes in the creation of communities of writers and the development of communities of readers. The article considers a variety of methodologies for the study of literary prizes. It calls for an analysis both quantitative and qualitative, and that pays attention to both the histories and development of individual prizes, and the wider negotiations book prize culture makes with the publishing industries and culture in general, both on the "common ground" of European and global prize cultures, and in its regional and national differences.
For more than thirty years a debate has raged within Europe: should book prices be fixed or free? Fixed prices are often also called Retail Price Maintenance (RPM) and mean the publisher fixes the price of a book; bookshops and other retailers are not allowed to sell it at any other price. Free prices mean bookshops and other retailers may sell the book at whatever price they choose. The background to this fierce debate is that, in general, the European Union (EU) favours free competition and its member states have in place a competition law that aims at encouraging free prices on all goods, discouraging/disallowing price cartels. In many countries, mainly on the basis of cultural arguments, the book trade has been granted an exemption from this principle of free competition. The aim of this paper is to describe the present situation, especially in the EU countries, and to discover some of the facts surrounding and consequences of different pricing models in the book trade.
In the article that takes as its starting point two of the fundamental European Union (EU) principles regarding the issues of culture, cultural diversity and plurilingualism, the author researches the effects to date of the absence of a common European cultural policy. In two concrete cases n taxation on books and public lending rights n he shows that the absence of a common European cultural policy has resulted in practice in the inadequate implementation of these fundamental principles. Recent moves in relation to the formulation of a European constitution point to an awareness of the need for a more active European cultural policy that actually provides a framework within which member states would be independent in the formulation of their own cultural policy models.
British publishing of contemporary poetry in translation is largely, though not exclusively, concerned with presenting poets to a British readership for the first time: much of this readership must be ërecruitedî through the reliability of a publishing ibrand name.î This pattern sits inside the wider UK pattern of publishing and reading relatively small amounts of literature in translation. Nor is it readily accorded a high profile. For example, in the Saturday Guardian, a national broadsheet with a circulation of half a million, the iReviewî (a forty-page books supplement) for 14/2/ 04 looked at no works in translation. These kinds of figures speak for themselves. UK book culture is notoriously monoglot: there is certainly international writing, but for historical and also linguistic reasons (the end of empire was succeeded by the empire of language) it is dominated by international writing in English: from the Indian subcontinent, Africa, the Carribean, Australia and New Zealand, the US and Canada. Each of these regions contributes big-hitting novelists to the British publishing scene. Faced with these cultural continuities, which are daily reinforced by popular culture in the Anglophone world, it may seem almost impossible for the unfamiliar, highly characteristic and specific literary culture of a country like Slovakia, to get a hearing in the UK. The paper deals with paradoxes and dilemmas that raise from such an enterprise.
The author argues for the need to introduce data collecting and research methods as basic means by which to plan the development of a book industry in Croatia. The article starts by describing the wider social context in contemporary Croatia and identifying the main characteristics and trends in the post-war country, with emphasis on the dominant values of Croatian society and its book market. Recent and actual book market characteristics are described based on publisher activities, state support for book publishing, and legal activities in regard to copyright and education. Attention is given to the media presentation of book production.