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International Practice

Presentation and debates "ffective promotion of the book: Increasing of the readers audience and books sales growth"

On 15 September 2006 the Central and East European Book Project (CEEBP), msterdam, Publishers Forum and International Foundation "Vidrodzhennia" have organized presentation and debates: "ffective promotion of the book: Increasing of the readers audience and books sales growth", held by Henk Kraima, Director of the Fund for Collective Promotion of the Netherlands Book attended by more than 80 publishers and book distributors. The subject of the discussion was structural interaction between publishers and book distributors and its impact on the book market as a whole and turnover of the separate companies in particular.

Every year the Fund for Collective Promotion of the Netherlands Book (CPNB) organizes various events, the most popular of them are: the Book Week when every eighths Dutch family buys new book and also Childrens Book Week when every fourth kid gets a new book.

Henk Kraima has 10 years experience in the sphere of advertising and international marketing. Besides, he has worked for eight years in the publishing company of quality fiction, Meulenhoff, msterdam. He occupies the post of CPNB director since 1986.

Henk Kraimas presentation has started with the thesis that we are all used to very professional advertising. He quoted one of the reports from the Sponsorship Research Institute that most of the people recognize the golden symbol of McDonalds, rather than Christian Cross. Consequently, the marketing of the reading means competition with professionals. "Who can compete with professionals on the book market?" asked Mr. Henk Kraima. He gave the answer himself: these are only all publishers and all book traders.

The Fund for Collective Promotion of the Netherlands Book (CPNB) was established by Association of Publishers, Association of Book Lovers and Association of Librarians of the Netherlands for the purpose of revival of interest to the books and promotion of their sales.

Currently this Fund arranges three major annual campaigns The Book Week (since 1932), the Childrens Book Week (since 1955), and June - the Thriller Month (since 1989). The smaller campaigns are organized as well - the National Days of Loud Reading (since 2004), "The Netherlands is reading" (since 2006), and the actions: "The Childrens Jury" (kids and teenagers aged 6-12) and the Youth Campaign (young people aged 12-15), celebration of the Year of the Book by public voting, campaign "Books as gifts" (on the Mothers Day, the Fathers Day, Christmas), announcement of the book coupons etc.

The Book Week lasts 10 days in March with participation of 90% of Dutch book stores and 85% Dutch libraries. The unified thematical presentation of the books was developed to present the book in the book stores focusing on the books being published. The main subject of the Book Week could be poetry, religion, family, classics, literature of various cultures, history, music etc. The readers always get the award: the new novel written by well-known writer especially for the Book Week. This novel can be obtained for free: but instead one has to buy a book of the price 11, 50 Euro.

This novel is published by CPNB every year. The expenses for this novel publication depend upon the number of orders usually provided by the book stores 5 weeks prior to beginning of the Book Week. Thus, CPNB takes no risk of having the books left in the warehouse. Henk Kraimas gave the statistics of the growth rate of the gift books at the Book Week:

  • 1984: 383.000 books;
  • 1994: 567 000 books (+ 48%);
  • 2004: 765 000 books (+ 99%);
  • 2006: 813 000 books (+ 112 %).

If one edition equals to one buyer, then every eights Dutch family buys the book from the store during the Book Week. According to Mr. Henk Kraima, as a result of this action the annual sales volume of the fiction over the last ten years has grown by 22%. Over the last 20 years the book stores market share has increased from 55% to 68 %.

The Childrens Book Week lasts 10 days in October with the participation of 90% Dutch schools and libraries and 75% Dutch book stores. The main subject is: the present of the Book Week (in the amount of 401 000 books), the gift educational set, the free (sponsored) newspaper about the childrens books (the amount is 1.1 million books), catalogue or magazine (250 000 issues) and the small illustrated book o the small ( 2,50 Euro) in the amount of 204 000 issues. Number of the gift books from the Childrens Book Week:

  • 1988: 97 500;
  • 1989: 156 000;
  • 1998: 293 000 (+ 88%);
  • 2006: 401 000 (+ 157%).

These data prove that every fourth child in the Netherlands buys the book during the Book Week. Besides, as a result of this action the genre of the childrens book has become a segment showing the largest growth between 1990 and 2000, and the sales volume has doubled (and that is before Potter).

An incitement to the action called June the Thriller Month was the results of the readers research:

  • 1/3 reads more than 6 books a year;
  • 1/3 reads a few books;
  • 1/3 doesnt like to read books.

Among those reading a few books all of the age groups despite of sex and level of education have stated that they read thrillers. Thats how the Thriller Month appeared with the authors of the gift editions as follows: the well known Stephen King, Elizabeth George and Henning Mankell.

Amount of the gift books:

  • 1989: 50 000 books;
  • 1994: 47 000 books;
  • 1995: 323 000 books;
  • 2000: 395 000 books;
  • 2005: 495 000 books.

With the Thriller Month the sales in this segment have grown between 1990 and 2006 by 94% in the number of titles, and by 52% in the number of books.

CPNB works successfully with sponsors - Coca Cola, ABN AMRO, The Netherlands Railway, Pickwick Tea, Post, Chocolate Venz, etc. With the sponsors support and contributions from Association of Publishers, Association of Book Lovers and Association of Librarians the annual budget amounts to nearly 2 million Euro. Sponsors are attracted with publicity, favourable social and cultural appearance and the highest level target group which is reading books.

Significant support to the promotion actions is given by libraries as in the Netherlands the one childrens book sold falls on 12 childrens books taken from the library for reading; and one adult book sold falls on 4 books taken from the public library for reading. Apparently, its much easier to popularize the books among those who read.

Among the best results of the activities of the Fund for Collective Promotion of the Netherlands Book (CPNB) Mr. Henk Kraima pointed to free publicity of the books, attracting fund outside of book trade sphere and successful synchronized promotion campaigns. And the attention of the mass media columns means that the book in the Netherlands is an integral element of day-to-day life.

Also Mr. Henk Kraima has prompted to the Ukrainians who would like to establish own Fund for Collective Promotion of the Ukrainian Book as follows: the readers are human beings, and it takes time to change their behaviour, thus they need to be patient.

The presentation and debates "ffective promotion of the book: Increasing of the readers audience and books sales growth" took place within the frameworks of the "Ukrainian Book Project". The project is being implemented under support of "R" Program by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, International Foundation "Vidrodzhennia" (renascence) and Fund for Central and East European Book Projects, Amsterdam.

Look for the presentation by Henk Kraima, Director of the Fund for Collective Promotion of the Netherlands Book (CPNB) under the title "Joint work in the book trading sphere" here: (46 B in Miscrosoft PowerPoint and PowerArchiver Zip File).

Copyright Henk Kraima 2006. No part of this text may be reproduced without permission of the author: h.kraima@cpnb.nl


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  Expert's Column  
The president of the Ukrainian Publishers and Booksellers Association, the head chairman of the expert committee of Ukrainian National Council of culture and spirituality at the Presidents Office

Oleksandr Afonin

Highly respected Viktor Andriyovich! Ukrainian Association of book publishers and distributors addresses you with a question that needs your immediate personal intervention, because, as the experience shows, this problem can totally overcome your Decree About some measures for development of book publishing business in Ukraine (March 21, 2006) and lead to a serious crisis in one of the branches of publishing business book trade, which is in very critical condition already.

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