Sunday, 24 April 2022

Book Reading Continues to Decrease, Survey Shows

ZAGREB, 24 April 2022 - The annual book reading survey conducted on the occasion of Book Night shows that the number of book lovers in Croatia has been gradually decreasing in recent years.

The survey covered 1,000 respondents and was conducted on 1-18 March.

It shows that over the past year only 42% of respondents aged 16 and over read at least one book, down from 45% in 2021 and from 49% in 2020.

Among those who read, most read two books a year, 70% have a university degree, 61% have a monthly household income of over HRK 13,000, 52% live in Zagreb, and 48% are women.

Tamara Kraus, who conducted the survey, says possible reasons for the decline in reading are the effects of the pandemic, including increased stress and anxiety as well as less time to read due to online education and work from home.

Book Night initiator Mišo Nejašmić says the decline is due to the non-implementation of the national strategy to encourage reading.

"The book policy should be financially concrete and this system took a serious hit in 2008 due to austerity as well as in 2013, when books became subject to VAT", he says, adding that another problem is a freeze on government outlays for books.

The state secretary at the Culture Ministry, Krešimir Partl, says the ministry has been investing in the culture infrastructure in recent years to ensure a balanced development of creative industries.

He mentions the opening of new libraries in many towns and the launch of the Mediterranean Book Festival, and announces the launch of a book festival in Osijek.

Also, he adds, HRK 250 million has been set aside in the National Recovery and Resilience Plan for the creative cultural sectors.

The latest survey shows that 43% of readers borrow books in libraries, 36% buy them, 29% borrow them from friends, 21% have received a book as a gift, and 9% have photocopied or downloaded one.

Also, 65% of respondents read fiction, 30% read nonfiction, 27% read technical books, 22% read manuals, 13% read children's books, 9% read art books, and 7% read cartoons.

Only 20% of respondents bought at least one book in the past three months, down from 25% in 2017 and 2018, and from 32% in 2005.

(€1 = HRK 7.5)

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Wednesday, 10 November 2021

Harry Potter Around the World: 500 Copies Displayed in Rijeka

Following the exhibition in Zagreb, the impressive collection counting over 500 copies of international editions of the popular book saga is currently on display in Rijeka

How many editions of the Harry Potter series have you ever seen in one place? In an average bookstore, probably 2-3. In better bookstores, or possibly on shelves of avid fans, maybe a few more.

How about 500+ copies in over 60 languages?

You don’t often get an opportunity to see an entire room covered in bookshelves dedicated to a single piece of fiction. That’s exactly what I went to see today: an exhibition of 530 copies of the beloved series and a few related works, currently on display at the Tower Center mall in Rijeka.

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The incredible collection is owned by Damir Tonković who graciously made it available to the public, and counts editions in 68 languages acquired all over the world. From English and Croatian to Yiddish and Maori, the scope of the collection reflects the immense popularity and the universal appeal of the Potter saga to audiences spanning generations.

Many books on display, including the first Croatian edition, share the famous cover art created by Mary GrandPré:

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Fun fact: the first Croatian edition of the Harry Potter series (shown on the photo above) is somewhat of a rarity these days. Since the infamous crash of the publishing house Algoritam (2017) and the expiration of their exclusive publishing rights for HP in Croatia (2019), this particular edition has not been in print and is pretty hard to acquire, as owners willing to part with their copies are few and far between. Second-hand prices have soared over the last few years: each book in the series, which originally cost €20-25 on average, now easily sells for double or even triple the price. The first few books in the series are hardest to find and go for up to €100 apiece. 

Back to the exhibition: I loved seeing different art styles on some of the international editions. The Thai one, for example, with its lavish cover art reminiscent of movie posters:

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Unfortunately, I forgot to make a note of the country of origin of what might be my absolute favourite on display:

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I also found it interesting to see different approaches to publishing. In Vietnam, each book in the series was published in several smaller parts. For example, The Order of the Phoenix was published as a serial of 22 instalments!

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Visitors are allowed to leaf through all the books on display - quite a bold decision on behalf of the organizers, if you ask me, but I picked up a few nonetheless to check out the artwork in the illustrated editions.

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And as for the cover photo at the top? I barged in right after they opened today and was lucky to snap a pic of the empty room. It was otherwise much more crowded, especially on weekend mornings when the youngest visitors enjoyed some storytelling, and the Ministry of Magic held creative workshops for kids aged 7-14. It's no surprise that all the workshops and storytelling hours were fully booked days in advance. 

The collection will remain on display at the Tower Center mall in Rijeka (3rd floor) until this Sunday, November 14th. It can be visited free of charge, every day from 5PM to 9PM, or from 11AM to 9PM on Saturday and Sunday. 

The exhibition in Rijeka was organised by Hoću knjigu in collaboration with the Tower Center. It was first displayed in Zagreb earlier this year, and will make its way to other cities in Croatia as well (to be announced).

Wednesday, 31 March 2021

Croatia Donates 100 Books For New Egyptian Capital City

ZAGREB, 31 March, 2021 - Croatia has donated 100 books for the new capital of Egypt, Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić Radman, who is on a two-day visit to that country, said on Wednesday.

Croatia has donated 100 books for the new capital city, to be located somewhere between Cairo and the Red Sea, to strengthen cultural cooperation between the two countries, said Grlić Radman.

Egypt is building a new capital city to reduce pressure on the overpopulated Cairo.

The books handed over by Minister Grlić Radman were donated by the Croatian ministries of culture and media, science and education, and foreign and European affairs.

The books are mostly in Croatian, but the donation also includes books in English and French.

We hope the donation will contribute to the recognisability of our historical and cultural heritage and of our natural beauties, Grlić Radman said.

Grlić Radman and his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry held talks on regional cooperation, stability in the Middle East and North Africa, migrations, and relations between Egypt and the EU.

Together they opened a business forum which was attended by more than 120 Egyptian and Croatian business people.

Grlić Radman said that as Mediterranean countries, Egypt and Croatia "share the interest in this region" and that tourism was an important industry for both countries.

"Sustainable tourism is our common goal," he said.

Earlier today, the Croatian minister held talks with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, extending his condolences on a recent railway accident in which more than 30 people were killed and dozens were injured.

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Wednesday, 30 December 2020

Year 2021 Declared Year of Reading in Croatia

ZAGREB, Dec 30, 2020 - The year 2021 will be a Year of Reading in Croatia, the government decided on Wednesday, which means that a series of activities will be conducted to promote the culture of reading and enable as many people as possible to read with understanding and enjoy it.

The slogan will be "Let us read not to be left without words."

The declaration of the Year of Reading is part of a measure from the action plan of the National Strategy to Revive Book Reading, adopted in 2017 to contribute to the development of the culture of reading.

Culture and Media Minister Nina Obuljen Korzinek said that the decision to declare next year the Year of Reading had been made, among other things, due to the coronavirus pandemic and the fact that reading was one of the cultural activities we turn to in such circumstances.

During the Year of Reading, new activities will be created and carried out -- the award for the best bookstore will be presented, there will be a competition for the best book trailer for primary and secondary school students, "reading ambassadors" will be proclaimed, an international reading conference will be organized, youth award for literature will be presented, little night readings will take place -- all of which will contribute to the affirmation of reading.

"Last week, a European Social Fund tender worth HRK 41 million was launched, and all funds will be additionally invested in programs promoting reading," the minister added.

The decision underscores the importance of reading since models of identification found in literature offer opportunities for a more successful understanding of interpersonal communication, better conflict resolution, and a fuller understanding of what helps or threatens us in life.

Tuesday, 12 November 2019

Zagreb International Book Fair Begins Today: Interliber

As reported by tportal.hr, the Zagrebački velesajam in Zagreb is once again the place to be this November. INTERLIBER, the Zagreb International Book Fair, and the most beloved fair for all generations, will be held to the delight of all book lovers from the 12-17 of November.

INTERLIBER is the largest literary event in Croatia and a platform for promoting books, writers, reading, science and knowledge and brings together the most important publishers and bookstores.

More Than 330 Exhibitors

More than 330 exhibitors will fill three pavilions of the Zagrebački velesajam with books from various genres. The vast selection of books will be complemented by interesting and varied content for all ages: from presenting new books, opportunities to socialize and speak with writers and meeting publishers, bookstores and librarians. The fair will also offer literary reading rooms and workshops, round tables, quizzes, literary prizes, and auctions of old and rare books.

Numerous titles by world-renowned bestsellers and well-known writers are just a "little slice of paradise" which will be offered at the best book fair in the region, and will be visited by children, businesspeople and retirees.

The Premium program will also host well-known writers and will be led by respected editors of the Croatian literary scene. A notable addition to the Premium program will be an auditorium for audiobooks. An exhibition space about the Russian Federation will also be included this year and will offer a wide range of modern Russian literature for the Croatian audience: from poetry to historical works and translations and will offer interesting promotions and lectures.

This year, INTERLIBER will also sponsor Bookbinder, a charity event which will donate books to school libraries within the Croatian Association of School Librarians. The book assortment of a selected school library is filled every year with the goal of raising awareness of importance of books in building a knowledgeable society.

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Luka Modrić Appearing on Sunday

Luka Modrić, the celebrated Croatian football player, will appear on the Main Stage of Pavilion 6 on Sunday, November 17, from 2:30 pm to 3:30 pm.

He and his Co-author Robert Matteoni will be discussing his co-published autobiography, “Moja igra” (My Game). A twenty-minute discussion will be followed by a book signing, and readers will be able to buy their copies in advance at the Znanje and 24sata booths. More information about the event can be found here.

Another highlight of this year's INTERLIBER is a presentation on “Knowledge and learning”, which will occur on Friday and Saturday (November 15 and 16).

The fair is held under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Croatia and the Mayor of the City of Zagreb. More information about the fair and a schedule of events can be found on the Zagrebački velesajem website or on the official Facebook page, which regularly updates all news related to INTERLIBER.

Admission to INTERLIBER is free.

For more information on events in Zagreb or Croatia please follow our lifestyle section.

Tuesday, 16 April 2019

Mediterranean Festival of Books to Offer More Than 10,000 Titles

As Morski writes on the 15th of April, 2019, the Mediterranean Festival of Books, a book fair with a sales and festival nature will be organised by the Association of Publishers and Bookstores of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK) and under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture, Split-Dalmatia County and the City of Split, will be held from the 8th to the 12th of May, 2019.

A record 100 exhibitors will be offering discounted books with up to seventy percent off, with around 10,000 titles to choose from.

As always, entrance is free and during the five days of the festival, you will be able to see the latest publications covering a space of more than two thousand square metres in the large hall of ŠC (Arena) Gripe, and there are also three other stages where the Mediterranean Festival of Books program will take place.

In addition to the well-known Bookvarij and Mali Bookvarij locations where children's workshops, panel discussions and a professional program will be held, the evening part of this event related to all things books will also be located at the "Cukarin" hospitality facility in Gripe.

Fifty program activities have been prepared, and the expectation is for as many as 35 promotions of the latest works of some award-winning and acclaimed authors to take place.

 

Among other things, this year's Mediterranean Festival of Books program will include panels consisting of prominent lecturers who will talk about important local topics, and there will of course be a multitude of workshops for the youngest among the festival's visitors on offer. Numerous promotions for new children's editions are also being planned.

All information and a detailed oveview of the Mediterranean Festival of Books 2019 program with its workshop schedule is available here, as well as having been published on the event's official Facebook page and on Instagram.

The Mediterranean Book Festival is being organised with the support of numerous partners such as the Split Tourist Board, Split University, Split Student Centre, the Split Sports Facilities public institution, Hotel Zagreb - Split, Cukarin Gripe, Slobodna Dalmacija, Europlakat, Mandis, CineStar, Barcaffè, CedevitaGo, and Kala.

Make sure to follow our dedicated lifestyle page for much more.

Thursday, 4 April 2019

NP Krka Providing Books to Local Schools Through Praiseworthy Project

NP Krka is another one of those ''must visit'' places when in Croatia, and yes, there are many such destinations to be found here. The whole ''must see'' thing has become a little saturated over recent years, especially with the rise of self-proclaimed travel bloggers and social media influencers, however, there is much more to this stunning national park than just the ability to take artistic Instagram pictures.

NP Krka is involving itself in the education of school children in the Dalmatian county in which the park is situated through a praiseworthy project aimed at increasing kids' overall awareness of both protected areas and nature and the environment.

As Morski writes on the 3rd of April, 2019, the highly visited NP Krka actually launched the project "Let's fill up the school libraries" (Popunimo školske knjižnice), for primary and secondary schools of the Šibenik-Knin County back in 2007.

The aim of the project is to make the books published within the framework of this educational scope available to school-age children and other young people, so that they can contribute to their own respective awareness of the country's numerous protected areas and the need to take care of their surroundings, including the importance of the proper preservation of the environment.

Since back in 2007, VHS tapes and later on, DVDs covering a wide array of topics related to NP Krka and its environment and native wildlife and birds have been shared around numerous local schools within the aforementioned county in Dalmatia. In February this year, a total of 49 books were distributed to thirty-six primary and thirteen high schools in the county.

NP Krka's administration and staff believe that this year's gift to local schools will be used by students and their mentors and teachers not only as an additional teaching aid for the classroom but that it will also encourage children to go out and get to know and further explore the rich natural beauty and the cultural heritage of the beautiful NP Krka.

Make sure to follow our dedicated lifestyle page for much more.

Thursday, 4 April 2019

Library of Croatia: Virtual Library for Free Reading Coming Soon

As Novi list writes on the 2nd of April, 2019, the democratisation of knowledge in this way is a true revolution and encompasses every person, from elementary and high school pupils, to college students and even corporation managers. Middle-aged and older people will also get an extraordinary opportunity to supplement their lifelong learning materials from the collection of this ever-expanding library. Meet Library of Croatia.

This spring, both residents and visitors to Croatia will be able to walk through Library of Croatia's ''vitrual doors''. Through this innovative platform for free and anonymous reading, which has been entirely developed by an interdisciplinary team of Croatian experts, anyone who finds themselves on the territory of the Republic of Croatia will have thousands of varied publications in many of the world's languages freely and readily available to them. From school books and world literary classics, to numerous tourist guidebooks and cookbooks, to poetry and love novels, an enormous array of titles will be available via Library of Croatia.

This season, Croatia will become first country that enables its residents and its visitors access to an unlimited virtual library through open digital platforms and related applications, available on all computers and mobile devices, including smartphones and tablets, Cover writes.

The Library of Croatia breaks the barriers between people and writing in all its forms, encourages the development of literary culture in unprecedented ways and creates new opportunities for virtually all sectors of society, both public and private, from culture, publishing, and education, to tourism and economy.

''This platform and product opens up a new world for the entire Croatian society,'' said Mirela Rončević, the author of the innovative idea whose global name is One Country One Library.

"We have created a circle from which we'll all benefit, and in doing so, provide people knowledge, regardless of their location and their purchasing power. Our partners support an innovative mission that is equally related to culture as well as to education and tourism, and they contribute to knowledge, expanding everywhere while improving their business,'' she added.

Library of Croatia is a library of the future coming to realisation in the present day, it's totally free and open to everyone, both in public places and in the privacy of their homes. Although many types of digital platforms have been launched in recent years on the foreign market, none have managed to merge various forms of publications into a single entity and open them up within the boundaries of a country, making them accessible to everyone without requiring any sort of identity verification.

The Library of Croatia is, in fact, unique in the world because it has succeeded in doing what nobody has ever done; to turn the entire country into a library, freely available to all people within its boundaries.

As stated, Library of Croatia offers all forms of content in one place: short stories, poetry, scientific publications, columns, tourist guides, Croatian and world classics, lectures etc. It also offers cutting-edge innovations in the digital world such as anonymous reading, font adapted to those with dyslexia, the ability to create and build private and public collections within the platform (so-called pockets), and the ability to self-disclose for independent authors.

The platform also provides a profound insight into reading analytics. According to the head of IT development project, physicist Duje Bonaccija, so far the key tool in measuring the success of a particular book has been its sales, but this indicator can't actually say anything about how much of those books were actually read.

Library of Croatia's team consists of experts from various fields, including IT, publishing, tourism, education, librarianship and marketing.

''For the first time in history, modern technology provides equal access to educational content to everyone regardless of the place or time of access,'' said sociologist Damir Kvesić for Cover, who joined the LoC team in an effort to point out the importance of this move for Croatia's education.

Make sure to follow our dedicated lifestyle and Made in Croatia pages for more.

Tuesday, 30 October 2018

Zdravko Maric Unenthusiastic About Martina Dalic's Agrokor Book

In case you didn't know, Martina Dalic, the former deputy prime minister who spent a long time at Andrej Plenkovic's side, left her position earlier this year amid not only the Hotmail affair, in which she was sending highly sensitive emails via no less than Hotmail, but amid growing suspicion surrounding her in regard to the very messy Agrokor affair.

Now, despite the public's general opinion of her being less than sparkling and with all sorts of unsavoury suspicions and accusations about her involvement in Agrokor still flying around, left unanswered, Martina Dalic went ahead and published a book on Agrokor, causing raised eyebrows among many politicians, including MOST's leader Bozo Petrov, who was heavily involved in the Agrokor situation when it first came to light, especially given the fact that the crisis saw the former HDZ-MOST coalition collapse.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Tomislav Pili writes on the 30th of October, 2018, Finance Minister Zdravko Maric, who felt the very personal unpleasantness of the Agrokor crisis on his own skin, stated quite bluntly that he didn't have any desire to comment on whether or not Martina Dalic should return to the government at all.

Marić used to work for Agrokor before taking up his position within the Croatian Government, this caused a lot of suspicion around him, too, as many across the political spectrum and in the general public failed to believe that he had no knowledge of the plethora of underhand deals and the threatening collapse of the company that eventually raised its ugly head in the spring of 2017. Despite the controversy, Maric stuck to his guns and held onto his position, with the situation eventually blowing over. Despite that, it doesn't come as much of a surprise that he'd prefer to avoid discussing Martina Dalic or her new book.

"I've got a good relationship with all the people I've worked with and am working with now, and if we have some disagreement, then we find a common language," the finance minister said briefly.

''I haven't read Martina Dalic's book and I don't know if I'll manage to,'' Maric added at the margins of Poslovni Dnevnik's conference. In response to a journalist's question as to whether everything worked well in regard to Agrokor's extraordinary administration, and why Martina Dalic had to leave, Maric expressed his lack of desire to comment on whether or not she should return to the government.

As for the dangers the Uljanik shipyard situation represents towards public debt, Maric said Uljanik's influence will of course have an effect on the overall fiscal policy outcome for this year.

"The only good thing about it is that it will have a one-off effect. From our side, we intend to solve [the situation] as soon as possible so as to avoid any further consequences. Nevertheless, by the end of the year, according to our projections and expectations, public debt will continue to decline,'' Maric emphasised.

"With regard to taking further steps, we can't influence the worsening global environment that much, but do we have certain mechanisms in our hands. I, as finance minister, am responsible for implementing fiscal policy. All we propose is a responsible, rational fiscal policy that suits all of the challenges we're facing. We're putting emphasis on a more stable public debt, but the basic idea of us all should be ​​economic growth, which will lead to stronger employment growth,'' Maric noted.

Journalists present at the conference in were also very interested in the disappearance of the so-called "mantra" about budget savings which has been being talking about a lot over recent years.

"I wouldn't say that is stopped. If you look at the structure of the expenditure side of the budget, the biggest item is the retirement expenditure. It's true that the issue of expenditure has been challenged more than once and we must not give up on that. We reduced interest costs by over two billion kuna, but we're still paying too much,'' Maric said.

Regarding retirement, the question of whether or not retirement benefits in the new Law on Croatian Defenders represent a budgetary burden arose, to which Maric responded that his ministry had looked into potential financial implications during the process of the adoption of the naw Law on Croatian Defenders.

"The Law on Croatian Defenders is fiscally viable and isn't an additional burden for the budget," Maric concluded.

Want to find out more about what exactly happened within Agrokor and learn more about Martina Dalic's role within it all? Click here and follow the news on Dalić, the Hotmail affair, the writing of Lex Agrokor, and more.

 

Click here for the original article by Tomislav Pili for Poslovni Dnevnik

Tuesday, 21 August 2018

A Novel by a Canadian Author Presented in Korčula

The novel by Aline Apostolska, L'Île Noire de Marco Polo, was presented in Korčula, at the terrace of the Korčula De La Ville Hotel.

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