Books about the Far East. Thematic photo. Photo: IA PrimaMedia
Publishing in the Far East is going through difficult times, but not so bad. The very fact of holding an online conference “Actual problems of publishing in the Far East” (12+), organized by IA PrimaMedia as part of the new season of the All-Russian Literary Prizes “Far East” them. V.K. Arsenyeva (12+), speaks of the desire of the participants in the literary process in the Far East to consolidate efforts.
Curator of the Arsenyev Prize, President of the LiTR Festival Opening the Round Table Vyacheslav Konovalov (Moscow) noted that the Arsenyev Prize was a notable event in the literary sky of the country.
– They talk about her, argue. She is awarded every year. But who is rewarded? Reward the author, reward the book. But a book is impossible without a publisher. Therefore, it turns out that by rewarding the author, we are at the same time rewarding the publisher who published this book. And what is a publishing house, really? In fact, the publishing house is a bridge between two characters. One is the writer who wrote the book, the other is the one who reads it. So, without this bridge, without a publisher, there can be no literature, no literary life, no awards – nothing. Therefore, if you look at this triad – the reader, writer and publisher – the main link, perhaps, is the publisher. These are the people who shape, if you will, the literary field of the country. And, accordingly, form the field of the Arsenyev Prize, – said Vyacheslav Konovalov.
Publishing problems are common problems
The publishing business is currently going through difficult times, the participants of the online conference agreed. Prices for paper and printing inks are rising, and as a result, the cost of the book itself is rising. Publishers always have to look for additional sources in order to implement a project. But, as it turned out, publishers in the Far East have their own specific difficulties.
– If, for example, we talk about the publishing house “Hunter” and Magadan, – said its director Pavel Zhdanov, – we do not have a printing house that could perform most of the projects that we implement. The machines are old, their technical and printing capabilities are limited. Today it is cheaper to print a book in Novosibirsk or St. Petersburg than in Vladivostok.
It is possible that the situation will require a reorientation to the Chinese market, and then printing books in the Far East will be cheaper, Pavel Zhdanov suggested. However, it is too early to say for sure.
– We have a children’s publishing house, and our first book “This is Vladivostok, baby” was intended for children from Vladivostok. Both the author was from Vladivostok, and the illustrator was from Vladivostok, and the Vladivostok Publishing House was involved in the project. And we tried very hard to publish the book in the Vladivostok printing house. But with a direct comparison of prices, even taking into account the delivery of heavy goods from Moscow to Vladivostok, to print it in the Moscow region was much cheaper, – confirmed the founder of the publishing house “Literature” and the bookstore “Game of Words” Diana Luther (Vladivostok).
To publish is half the battle, the book still needs to be distributed
The issue of distributing published books for Far Eastern publishers is by no means idle. Recently in the Far East began to appear really interesting and cool in all senses of the word publications. However, for some reason they do not find their reader. Which is both insulting and wrong.
Pavel Zhdanov reminded that the topic of selling books about the Far East and those published in the Far East had been raised repeatedly at various conferences and round tables.
– But I had this idea: why not create a store in Moscow or St. Petersburg, which would be called “Vladivostok” or “Far East”, whatever, where we could present and sell books that publish Far Eastern book publishers, – suggested the Magadan publisher.
Curator of the Arsenyev Prize Vyacheslav Konovalov agreed that such an idea is interesting, but, in his opinion, one store, in principle, will not solve anything.
– It would be much more interesting to create a corner or a certain shelf in every metropolitan store, which would be called – “Far Eastern Literature”. If we work with such large book chains as “Read the City” and “Bukvoed”, the task, I think, would be quite feasible, – he said.
What do you need for this? First, desire; second, appropriate funding; third, serious marketing training. Before distributing Far Eastern literature, one must first make it known that it exists. We need some reader motivation.
– We need not only the festival “Literature of Pacific Russia”, which takes place in Vladivostok (again, not in Moscow), not only the Arsenyev Prize. I think we need relevant news blocks in the federal media. Radio channels, including state and federal, can be connected to this work. Because a book can be published, a book can be delivered, you can agree with book chains to put it at home, you can even agree to put it well. But a man who accidentally looks at this shelf, not knowing what awaits him there, will pass by. So it is necessary for a person to go to this regiment purposefully, – said Vyacheslav Konovalov.
According to the director of the Kamchatka Regional Library Tatiana Dikova (Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky), you may need to start with the Far Eastern shops.
– Moscow, St. Petersburg – this is understandable. But are there shops in the Far East where there is a Far Eastern regiment? – she asked a fundamental question to the participants of the online conference.
A journalist, writer and television director agreed with her Alexander Smyshlyaev from Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky.
– Yes, in principle, we do not even know each other’s literature. What is happening today on Sakhalin, in Vladivostok, in Khabarovsk, in Yakutia? We do not know this, our reader does not know. Of course, Moscow is Moscow, but rightly Tatiana Anatolyevna says that it would be good to replenish our stores with literature from neighboring Far Eastern regions, – said Alexander Smyshlyaev.
Speaking about library receipts, Tatiana Dikova reminded that in Soviet times there were so-called “thematic sheets”, which were used to order books from libraries. These thematic sheets were sent to libraries, and libraries could choose the books they needed, including Far Eastern ones. Unfortunately, there is no such practice now.
– Today there is no single information system of the database, which would unite and inform about the latest innovations in the Far East. In Kamchatka, we resolved this issue. We have a mandatory copy, which comes to our library, and we further recommend purchasing literature published in Kamchatka to other municipal libraries. In the Far East, if we talk about Far Eastern literature, this scheme does not work, – complained Tatiana Dikova.
First of all, you need to start with your city, Diana Luther agreed with her colleagues.
– We have two retail stores. In the children’s bookstore there are shelves of authors from the Far East, and in the adult bookstore there is even a separate closet, which we fill with books on the Far East and books by Far Eastern authors. We are open to any authors, some bring their books to us on their own, – she said.
Not so bad
Today, probably the largest number of books in the Far East are published by university publishers, and they publish books not only for university professors, but also for everyone, for everyone who loves books, who wants to print, who wants to work with publishers, noted the director of the FEFU publishing house, the head of the educational program “Publishing” Tatiana Prudkoglyad.
– We have no problems with orders in FEFU. Other seaside publishing houses that operate on the market (Rubezh, Russian Island, Dalizdat, and Far Eastern University Publishing House) publish a number of interesting and worthy books. But I want to say that the forecasts are good. Moreover, now there is a program in the regional Ministry of Culture, which supports both the publishing house “Border” and the publishing house “Russian Island”, – said Tatiana Prudkoglyad.
Summing up the results of the online conference, Vyacheslav Konovalov noted several important points. First, today the reader knows little about Far Eastern literature. And this applies not only to the all-Russian, but also to the Far Eastern reader. Second, the Far Eastern publisher needs government support. Without such support, the reader will not have books, and the author will be able to convey it to the reader. Accordingly, it will not be possible to raise children on the example of good, modern literature.
“And a lot of it.” Every year I read 100-150 books about the Far East, 30% of them if not masterpieces, then talented, good, cool literature. Where is she? Where is the good literature on the Far East? Of course, these are issues that we cannot resolve at the round table. But it is necessary to talk about it, it is necessary to outline problems, and, of course, it is necessary to be engaged in internal cooperation on places, – Vyacheslav Konovalov told.
It will be recalled that the All-Russian Literary Prize “Far East” named after VK Arsenyev was established on the initiative of the Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation – Plenipotentiary Representative of the President of the Russian Federation in the Far Eastern Federal District Yuri Trutnev. The winners of the Prize were first named in December 2019. It happened as part of the “Days of the Far East in Moscow” in the building of the Russian Cultural Foundation.
The main purpose of the Prize is to support Russian and foreign writers who dedicate their works to the Far East and contribute to the formation of a single cultural space of multinational Russia.
Over the three seasons, more than 300 applications were received from writers from 24 regions of the Russian Federation, as well as from compatriots living abroad.
Each year, the jury of the Prize determines the best works in three nominations: “Long Prose”, “Short Prose”, “Prose for Children”. Winners receive cash prizes and valuable prizes.