From June 10 to June 12 the Book Fair was held during the Platonov Arts Festival. Tents with a great choice of literature were installed in the Soviet Square again. It’s for the sixth time since representatives of independent publishing houses have arrived in Voronezh. Many of them have a large experience in book fair participation all over the country.
When the fair was over, we asked the publishers to share their feelings about the festival, the city and Voronezh readers.
I’ve been working in the «book» industry for over 30 years and I can say for sure that at the moment Voronezh Book Fair is the best in Russia. As for its results, we have the objective control – the sales. As far as I know, the turnover is twice as high compared to St. Petersburg despite the fivefold city population difference. I dare to say that Voronezh is the most reading city in our country. I claim that without any flattery.
Last year during the Platonov Arts festival closing ceremony Mikhail Bychkov asked the publishers about their wishes. Without any prearrangement everybody said the same thing: “Could you, please, leave everything as it is?” As for me, this is right: the most important thing is to stay away from innovations. It is difficult, but it is a must. I feel that Voronezh Book Fair is being developed. Last year it reached its peak and, fortunately, this year it has not become worse. Platonov Arts Festival Book Fair is the best in the country, and I wish it to remain the same.
We've been participating in the Book Fair within the frameworks of the Platonov Arts Festival only for the second time, but we can’t stop being surprised about the fact that Voronezh readers know us and like us. I was also pleasantly surprised that Voronezh is a reading city where books are the best friends of children and teenagers. Besides, readers are not just curious, they are knowledgeable, they keep track of our publishing house novelties and usually come to buy exact books. My personal experience shows that it’s not typical for the regions, so, from this point of view, Voronezh is terra incognita for me.
There are not so many publishing houses coming to the Platonov Festival Book Fair as it can be, for example, at the capital’s fairs. Nevertheless, there isn’t any kind of “dispersion”, when a reader tries to be everywhere in time and ends up to be nowhere. In that respect, the city is especially interesting for us: here we find our target audience. By the way, in comparison with the other regions it is Voronezh to which I would give the priority in terms of sales: the average purchase amount here turns out to be much higher.
The Sovpadenie Publishing House has been participating in Voronezh Book Fair from the very beginning. During the VII Platonov Arts Festival we discussed the matter with the publishers and decided that the festival is one of the best places to hold the Book Fair for many reasons, including those of marketing nature. First of all, there are visitors who come from some other cities apart from Voronezh and it makes the target audience much broader. Secondly, we publishers have an opportunity to talk both to professionals, writers and literary critics and to readers. By the way, many of the publishers noticed that even on the very first day and in such a rain they managed to sell more than during the recent book festival Red Square in Moscow.
Why do we love Voronezh? Because people here are ready talk about what they’ve read, they’re open for discussion… It’s not only business that keeps us together, we are also friends. The city itself a great energetic vibe. For me, Voronezh Book Fair is almost a family matter. Also, there are two people from the directorate who I must mention here – Vera Borisovna Guseva and Lyubov Mikhailovna Pristinskaya. They make all of us feel so comfortable here.
We’ve come to Voronezh Book Fair for the fifths year in a row and I can say, it has the most intelligent, cultured and kind audience, and it is also the most effective one from the point of marketing.
We are a rather specific publishing house as we issue literature dedicated to rehabilitation of special children. Unfortunately, people normally don’t talk about this often, but I have seen it plenty of times that our books save lives. The guests of the Book Fair, who are gradually becoming my friends, share the information and when I come to Voronezh today I know I’ve been waited for. People come to consult and ask questions. I personally know authors of the books I sell, I attend seminars and I have something to share. That is why live communication means so much to me – and the Book Fair gives me that chance. On the other hand, for the visitors it is an opportunity to buy books that might cost a lot at a price much lower than in book stores.
I like Voronezh Book Fair on the emotional level. Smell of limes, the beautiful green city, wonderful and friendly people. It always feels so festive to me. This year the weather is not really good but it didn’t ruin the impression. Even the first (and the rainiest!) day of the Book Fair was the most fruitful one: some of my colleagues didn’t have a single book left by the evening. It means Platonov Festival Book Fair is growing and evolving constantly.
We’ve been participating at Voronezh Book Fair since the first year of its existence. In fact, for me Voronezh has become a baptism by fire: it was my first “big” trip after the first working week at the publishing house. Since then I return every time to this city with a great pleasure. Usually every year the maximum number of guests attend the Book Fair on the very first day, no matter if it’s a weekend or a working day. We are very pleased to realize that we’ve been waited for the whole year. Despite the fact that our books can be bought in the city, people come to us to communicate, to share their opinion and impressions about what they’ve read. We’ve already had our regular customers circle formed. These are people who have been our friends for 6-7 years and whose children are growing up before our eyes.
I notice that Voronezh residents have already used to the Platonov Festival Book Fair. If in the first two years there were lots of citizens who came round to the fair by chance, then now people know that the fair “lives” within the festival for 3-4 days per year and is open to the public approximately at the same dates. I saw the capital’s book fairs that often become a market without anything but trade. What makes Voronezh Book Fair outstanding is its specific mood: it is friendly, kind and positive. As for the readers, they are very open-minded. We publish specific books, far from classics (for example, there is a book about a girl who turned out to have horns), and people do not consider it “foreignness”. Their eyes show interest to anything new, they are ready to listen and learn. It concerns especially young parents who have the second child born. With the birth of the first one they’ve discovered the world of children’s books, and now they learn the sphere which is new for them in more detail. As for me, Voronezh Book Fair is, first of all, warm communication. And I’m glad that it’s a great cultural event for the citizens.