Oleg Filimonov: "Russian publishers surprised at popularity of Russian books in Baku"
The 5th Baku International Book Fair, organized by Azerbaijan's Ministry of Culture, opened at Baku today. The Vice-president of the Russian Publishers Association Oleg Filimonov told Vestnik Kavkaza about Russia's publishing interests in the Republic of Azerbaijan.
- First of all, Oleg Vasilyevich, what have Russian publishers brought to Baku this year?
- Here you can see the products of fourteen Russian publishing houses of very different profiles from different place of the country. You can see here Moscow and St. Petersburg publishing houses, as well as publishing houses from Russian regional centers - Chuvashia, Tatarstan, Yaroslavl region, Dagestan. Therefore, the exhibition presents all modern Russian book publishing in miniature, with various novelties, publishing programs and styles - we tried to present as many novelties as possible. Today the Minister of Culture and Tourism Abulfaz Garayev attended the opening of our stand, and we told him about our plans.
Of course, children's literature is particularly striking is, it is always the most colorful and interesting. The Moscow publishing house 'White City' is representing rare, exclusive publications, some of them are expensive, but they are worth it, because they are well-printed and well-designed. There is such a specific segment of the general Russian book publishing as a marine theme: the St. Petersburg publishing house 'Gangut' specializes in this profile, and historically it is not technical literature, but descriptive and educational. There are technical publishers, which we specifically invited here. In particular, the delegation includes representatives of the largest Russian university publishing house of the Moscow Power Engineering Institute, which publishes books on energy. In our opinion, books of such profiles as nuclear power, oil industry, subsurface management could cause interest here.
- How do you assess the Baku book market for Russian books?
- Today, right after the opening ceremony, a roundtable meeting was held with Azerbaijani publishers, and what they told us definitely surprised us. Of course, we were ready for the fact that books in Russian are in demand in Azerbaijan, that Russian language is commonly used here and there are specialized Russian bookshops, and that there is education in Russian language. But we were amazed with the fact that books in Russian account for 75-80% of the demand in shops selling even Azerbaijani books. We did not expect to hear such a data of Azerbaijani publishers.
- What does such a popularity of Russian books in Azerbaijan mean for Russian publishing?
- This gives us a good chance for a possible promotion of Russian books to the local market. Strictly speaking, this is one of our goals, which we set, while holding a meeting with Azerbaijani book publishers. We proposed a reciprocal, bilateral Azerbaijani-Russian movement so that Russian books could be represented widely enough, and Azerbaijani books were sold in Russia, especially in Moscow, the city with the largest Azerbaijani-speaking audience. A mutual promotion of books is a good idea, and, of course, it requires appropriate coordination.