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MIBF: the future of books

As always, another autumn book fair in Moscow has passed rapidly, but it was bright, and it gave bibliophiles the opportunity to provide themselves with books for the upcoming long winter evenings. September, 10, was the last day of the 25th Moscow.

International Book Fair, where it was possible to buy a book at a publisher’s price, meet your favorite writer, or take part in readers ' contests.


More than 200 thousand books in dozens of languages of the world. More than 1500 exhibitors from 45 countries. About 500 theme events: conferences, presentations, competitions, meetings. These are the figures of the current book forum. While for readers the main interest lies in getting acquainted with new titles, publishers have their own concerns and interests. Today they are worrying about the future of books as never before. It is obvious for everybody that book publishing is living through an era of change.

Many representatives of the printed media market and Internet industry took part in the “Dead Trees’ Business” Conference conducted in the framework of the Fair. It looks like the interpretation of the phrase of the famous media mogul Rupert Murdoch, who has once urged his colleagues not to forget that they were working “in the publishing business, and not in the dead trees’ sale business», has changed now. The organizer of the conference, editor-in-chief of the Internet in Figures electronic journal Dmitry Chistov told the Voice of Russia about the goals of the conference.

“We are all aware that paper is dying slowly, numbers of copies are falling, and it concerns not only books, but newspapers and magazines as well. Meanwhile the number of Internet users is increasing; the number of gadgets, pads, mobile phones is growing. And it is very interesting to understand how the market exists in this situation. It is interesting to observe changes in the wants of readers. No one really knows what will come next and what should be done. So, there is only one way out – an experiment».

Representatives of the Public Opinion Fund, of electronic media, and directors of the biggest publishing houses were invited to the Conference in order to explain the current movements and draw a portrait of a modern Russian reader. Oleg Novikov, Director of the Exmo publishing house, one of the most successful in Russia, in an interview with the Voice of Russia told about his vision of the future of books.

«New technological capabilities that have occupied the modern market, are forcing publishers to change their approach. The book market has long been one of the most conservative markets. A book has not practically changed since the middle ages, when it was created. And in the past 2-3 year we have found ourselves at the last turn of technological progress. E-books are coming into common use, creating additional threats, but also giving publishers the opportunity to be closer to readers, to make the book more accessible regarding both its price and possibility of its acquisition. And we must use this unique opportunity by way of offering in digital format the content that it took many years to create».

Readers should be able to buy it, download, and read in the online libraries, subscribe to it, and then, due to this, interest in reading will probably stop falling. And the same tendencies that today are perceived as threats will make reading fashionable, relevant and popular once again.

“We must help our readers”, Oleg Novikov says. – “Trying to meet our readers’ interests, we have digitized 70 per cent of our catalogue, and hope that by the next year, 90 per cent of Eksmo’s books will be present in electronic format”.

The publisher is sure that the destiny of paper books is not at all sad. Yes, the numbers of copies will decrease, but the tactile and visual sensations that we receive when we touch a printed book will always be in demand. Children's books, albums of art - all this will not disappear. It will be for the most part entertainment literature that will be published in electronic format, and it is only 40 per cent of the book market. That is, in the foreseeable future, books will stay with us and will give joy to readers.