Denisa Comănescu (Humanitas Fiction): “The market remained stable, with no significant changes to report”

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Peter Barbu Forbes Romania Hard Copy
Peter Barbeau, journalist and writer, author of interviews “The First Year of Advertising” (2013) and “The First Year of Marketing” (2019), has been writing about advertising, marketing and communication for more than 20 years.

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Forbes: In 2017, did increases in population incomes, resulting from government actions regarding wages, encourage book sales in Romania?

Denis Komanescu: Statistics in 2017 show an increase in retail consumption of more than 10% compared to the previous year. Perhaps, to some extent, book sales also benefited from the increase. From our point of view, this increase is not significant.

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ForbesIn your opinion, which sectors and areas of the betting industry experienced a decrease in sales in 2017? What areas experienced growth?

Denis Komanescu: As a result of the measures taken by the Ministry of National Education, it was normal for the sales of textbooks (textbooks and auxiliary materials) to decrease, which has already happened. Increased sales in the children’s/teens/youth fiction division and the adult fiction segment, with a focus on foreign novels.

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Forbes: During 2017, did you notice an improvement in book distribution? Have there been any noticeable changes in your publisher’s relationship with distributors?

Denis Komanescu: Overall, in terms of book sales, the market has remained stable, with no significant changes to report. Fewer problems were found in combination.

ForbesDo foreign literary awards represent sales and marketing factors in the Romanian publishing market? Does translation with an external grant have a competitive advantage in sales?

Denis Komanescu: For foreign literature, major prizes – the Nobel in the first place, then the Man Booker Prize, the Pulitzer Prize, Goncourt, etc. Highlighting books and their holders, a fact that is of course reflected in sales.

Among the writers who have received the Nobel Prize for Literature published by Humanitas Fiction Publishing in the “Denise’s Shelf” collection or in the author series: Knut Hamsun, WB Yeats, Thomas Mann, Yasunari Kawabata, Mario Vargas Llosa, William Golding, Dario Fu, J. M Coetzee, Herta Muller, Mo Yan, Patrick Modiano, Bob Dylan, etc.

There are signed fiction books by Nobel Prize winning authors Best seller And the Long-time sellers. The novel “Lord of the Flies” (1954; first Romanian translation 1969) by William Golding (Nobel 1983), for example, which entered the school bibliography and appeared in the “Raftul Denisei” collection from 2007 onwards, sold 7,000 copies in 2017 alone of samples.

But there is a Nobel and a Nobel. Some attract big sales in the first year, two after the award, and others have little impact on sales, especially when it comes to unknown or unknown poets in Romania.

In the case of writer Herta Müller (Nobel 2009), to whom she dedicated a series of authors, sales were staggering in the first two years after the Nobel Prize. Thus, in 2010 alone, out of three published titles – “Since The Fox Has Been the Hunter”, “Cradle of Breaths” and “Journey in a Leg” – sales have reached more than 30,000 copies. The other prizes listed above can also generate significant sales, provided the books in question cover topics of interest to a broader and more diverse audience and benefit from a strong promotion and marketing strategy.

The novel “All the Light We Cannot See” by American writer Anthony Doerr, among many awards, received a Pulitzer in 2015 and was published in May 2016, with sales of 13,000 copies by the end of 2017. I would like to mention here the fact that the successful translation from the language Roman used to its true potential and through fidelity to the spirit and letter of the original text is an essential part of the book’s value.

(April 30, 2018)

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