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An overview of e-book market in Croatia

The e-books research project ~ funded by Vetenskapsrådet - the Swedish Research Council

By Zoran Velagić and Franjo Pehar

Not much has been written about e-books in Croatia, another European small language market which shares some common traits with other similar milieus, but proves some distinctions as well.



Regarding common traits, we can only repeat the words by Elena Maceviciute from “Publishing and the small languages” posted earlier on this blog: “the publishers catering for small languages seem to be looking for the possibilities to delay the process as much as possible. The smaller the language, the greater the eagerness of publishers to apply the brakes“. In this post, we would like to sketch a very brief outline about e-book business in Croatia, focusing on basic features which shaped the context of its appearance, first projects, and current state.

The context

The fact is that Croatian e-book business has been developed with a negligible participation of publishers, and that some of the biggest among them still refuse to sell their books in e-form. The small language alone would suffice to explain their reluctance in starting the risky investments only if no one else would dare to do the same. But e-book business, although small in scale, has been developed. We believe that, regarding Croatia, the roots of publishers reluctance, among others, could be find in the beginnings of 1990s, when Croatia came through the war for independence and profound political and social changes, together with dissolution of publishing industry built on the safe socialistic economy for more than 40 years. Big, market-shaping companies such as Mladost disappeared. Other ones, such as Školska knjiga, successfully changed management structure and continued business prioritizing highly profitable products, like school textbooks. New players, such as Algoritam, formed by experienced professionals from devastated old companies and focused on trade publishing, also appeared. Although it is impossible to cover the diversity of publishers’ efforts in this period and to list all the factors that shaped publishing context in Croatia at the turn of the centuries, three aspects seem the most important. Before the war, Croatian publishers operated at the entire Yugoslav market, while Croatian market alone was for 80% smaller – such reduced market was insufficient to boost up a critical mass of regular book buyers. Secondly, publishers themselves failed to adopt their business to new circumstances. Instead of exploring suitable business operations for a smaller market, they buried themselves into the self-image of gatekeepers, insisting on their cultural mission (the lack of strong market component in the book business sticks out as the residue of earlier subsidized economy models) and starving for the budget money, which they, through the several programs of Ministry of Culture and Ministry of Science, Education and Sport, often receive. Combination of subsidized business operations and the small market was great obstacle for necessary risk-taking and the development of new business models. Instead, the biggest Croatian publishers were making profit on school textbooks, self-helps, translations of bestsellers and – by selling books. Namely, all of the bigger companies have operated, and they still do, both as the publishers and retailers, often with harmful terms for medium and small sized companies which are forced to use their bookstores. Wholesalers have never ever existed in Croatian history, and independent bookstores were forced out of business. In such a blend of small market, sponsored publishing and monopolistic bookselling any novelty was conceived as potentially dangerous: publishers-booksellers regularly labeled book selling through competitive distribution channels such us newsstands or general retail stores either as disloyal or, even more, as humiliation of culture. At least at the beginnings, e-book retailing was, for part of them, just another hazardous novelty.

First projects

Under such circumstances, the development of Croatian e-book business was in the hands of new players which, in the main, did have some experience in publishing. From 1995 onward they were forming partnership with established publishers or used copyright free materials. They changed the content’s container and offered compact discs instead of printed books. After that, it was only the question of technology. By offering broadband internet, telecom operators paved the way for web based e-book distribution which started – as open access movement. In 2001 The Society for Promotion of Literature on New Media (DPKM) launched electronic-books site, where they offered some of the popular Croatian and foreign authors – for free. Very small in scope, today they offer 133 titles, they managed to get 20.000 downloads for some books, and almost 70.000 for the Croatian translation of Noam Chomsky’s works on media, propaganda and systems. These initial efforts did not give a stronger impulse to development of the e-book publishing. New significant, and again non-commercial project eLektire, aimed at providing the obligatory school reading in e-form, with free access to all Croatian pupils, students, and teachers, appeared eight years later, in 2009. It was the joined effort of Croatian Ministry of Science, Education and Sport (which provided the list of titles and – readers), Croatian Academic and Research Network (which provided the platform) and one of the young publishers, at that time already well experienced in multimedia publishing, Bulaja naklada (which provided the content). Bulaja naklada, by all means the pioneer of e-publishing in Croatia, started as family business in 1998. In ten years they have been publishing award-winning products, among others the CD-ROM’s compilation of copyright free obligatory school reading (three volumes named “Classics of Croatian Literature”). Thus, Bulaja was a natural choice to join the project, which they manage up to now. Impero Digital Books is another non-commercial e-book platform launched in 2009 by a group of book lovers who’s principal intention was to “digitize and rescue Croatian literal heritage from oblivion and decay and to make them more accessible to the users of Internet”. Impero also acts as a kind of (self)publishing platform that offers expertise and solutions built to help authors in reaching their target audiences.

Read more here.

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Dobitnik nagrade "Sedmica i Kritična masa 2020" je Filip Rutić

Dobitnik književne nagrade "Sedmica i Kritična masa 2020" za mlade prozaiste je Filip Rutić (1997).
Nagrađena priča ''Riža s kečapom, blagim ili ljutim” ima snažan pečat 2020, a autoru je uspjelo kroz nepretenciozan ton i jedan neobičan odnos dati sliku opće nestabilnosti u eri korone i potresa.
U užem izboru nagrade, osim nagrađenog Rutića, bili su Lucija Švaljek, Iva Hlavač, Luca Kozina, Marina Gudelj, Vid Hribar i Darko Šeparović.
Ovo je bio peti nagradni natječaj koji raspisuje Kritična masa, a partner nagrade je cafe-bar Sedmica (Kačićeva 7, Zagreb). Nagrada se sastoji od plakete i novčanog iznosa (5.000 kuna bruto). U žiriju nagrade bile su članice redakcije Viktorija Božina i Ilijana Marin, te vanjski članovi Branko Maleš i Damir Karakaš.

intervju

Filip Rutić: Književnost bez novih glasova i perspektiva pretvara se u historiografiju

Predstavljamo uži izbor nagrade ''Sedmica & Kritična masa''

Filip je u uži izbor ušao s pričom ''Riža s kečapom, blagim ili ljutim''. Standardnim setom pitanja predstavljamo jednog od trojice muških natjecatelja.

o nama

Natječaj ''Sedmica & Kritična masa'' 2020 - uži izbor

Nakon šireg izbora slijedi uži izbor nagrade ''Sedmica & Kritična masa'' za mlade prozne autore. Pogledajte tko su sedmero odabranih.

o nama

Natječaj ''Sedmica & Kritična masa'' - popis šireg izbora, pred objavu užeg

Natječaj ''Sedmica & Kritična masa'' za mlade autorice i autore do 35 godina starosti bliži se svome kraju. Ovo je peto izdanje nagrade, utemeljene 2015. godine, koja pruža pregled mlađe prozne scene (širi i uži izbor) i promovira nova prozna imena. Prva nagrada iznosi 5.000 kuna (bruto iznos) i dodjeljuje se uz plaketu. Prethodnih su godina nagradu dobile Ana Rajković, Jelena Zlatar, Marina Gudelj i Mira Petrović.

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Marina Gudelj: Ljudi na uglu ulice, pokraj prodavaonice pića

NAGRADA "SEDMICA & KRITIČNA MASA" - UŽI IZBOR 2020.

Marina Gudelj (1988., Split) završila je Hrvatski jezik i književnost na Sveučilištu u Zadru. Radi kao nastavnica Hrvatskog jezika u školi. Prvi književni rad, kratka priča Semafor, šahta, apoteka, birtija objavljena je u Zarezu 2015. godine. Iste je godine osvojila prvu književnu nagradu na portalu KSET-a za priču Kamo idu irske mačke. 2017. godine osvaja prvo mjesto na natječaju Kritične mase za priču Lee. S istom pričom iduće godine sudjeluje na LitLink festivalu u Zagrebu. 2018. godine osvaja treće mjesto s pričom Dulcinea na konjaku na 17. izdanju Festivala europske kratke priče, a krajem iste godine ulazi u uži izbor natječaja Prvi Prozak i Na vrhu jezika s pričom Vještica. 2019. godine osvaja nagradu Prvi Prozak za autore do 35 godina starosti, a objava zbirke priča očekuje se sredinom 2020. godine.

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Vid Hribar: Bilješke za preživljavanje

NAGRADA "SEDMICA & KRITIČNA MASA" - UŽI IZBOR 2020.

Vid Hribar (1993., Zagreb) je trenutno na završnoj godini diplomskog studija na odsjeku dramaturgije pri Akademiji dramske umjetnosti u Zagrebu. Piše scenarije, drame, poeziju, kratke priče, uz to se bavi komponiranjem i sviranjem klavira u brojnim zagrebačkim bendovima. Na radiju se izvode njegove ''Nule i ništice'' (2017.), radiodrama inspirirana motivima Harmsove istoimene zbirke kratkih priča, drama ''Oskarov san'' (2019.) te ''Od Vlaške do Britanca'' (2019.). Njegova drama ''Tuneli'' prevedena je na makedonski jezik od strane Makedonskog centra ITI, a njegova drama ''404'' objavljena je na portalu drame.hr. Kao kompozitor radi na nizu kazališnih, filmskih, televizijskih te radiodramskih projekata.

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Luca Kozina: Grbava plesačica

NAGRADA "SEDMICA & KRITIČNA MASA" - UŽI IZBOR 2020.

Luca Kozina (1990., Split) piše prozu i poeziju. Radovi su joj objavljeni u časopisima: Zarez, Fantom Slobode, Mogućnosti, Republika, u zborniku Rukopisi 43 te na internetu (Zvona i Nari, Književnost Uživo, Kultipraktik, Nema). Dobitnica je nagrade Prozak za 2019. godinu. Piše književne kritike za portal Booksa. Članica je književne grupe NKV.

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Petra Bolić: Hans.

NAGRADA "SEDMICA & KRITIČNA MASA" - ŠIRI IZBOR 2020.

Petra Bolić (1992., Varaždinu) studirala je francuski jezik i književnost, kulturološku germanistiku i književno-interkulturalnu južnoslavistiku na Filozofskom fakultetu u Zagrebu i Karl-Franzens Universität u Grazu. Znanstveno polje interesa su joj njemačko-južnoslavenski kulturno-književni transferi i suvremena slovenska proza. U slobodno se vrijeme bavi književnim prevođenjem i književnom kritikom. Vlastitu je kratku prozu do današnjega dana skrivala u ladicama.

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Ivana Pintarić: Propuštanje riječi

NAGRADA "SEDMICA & KRITIČNA MASA" - ŠIRI IZBOR 2020.

Ivana Pintarić (1988., Zagreb) je edukacijski rehabilitator. Piše poeziju i kratke priče. Ulomkom iz romana ''Gorimo (ali ne boli više)'' ušla je u finale izbora za nagradu "Sedmica & Kritična masa" 2015. godine. Ulazi u širi izbor nagrade "Sedmica & Kritična masa" 2017. ulomkom iz romana "Ovo nije putopis o Americi". Bila je polaznica Booksine radionice pisanja kratke priče pod mentorstvom Zorana Ferića. Objavila je radove na portalima kultipraktik.org i booksa.hr. Objavila je priču u časopisu Fantom slobode. Članica je književne grupe ZLO koja okuplja mlade pisce različitih književnih afiniteta i usmjerenja, koji zajednički promiču ''mladu'' književnost, sudjeluju na književnim natječajima, festivalima te organiziraju književne susrete i čitanja.

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Josip Čekolj: Kokoši ne letiju visoko

NAGRADA "SEDMICA & KRITIČNA MASA" - ŠIRI IZBOR 2020.

Josip Čekolj (1999., Zabok) student je treće godine kroatistike te etnologije i kulturne antropologije na Filozofskom fakultetu u Zagrebu. Dosad je svoje pjesme i kratke priče objavljivao u hrvatskim i regionalnim časopisima i zbornicima poput ''Rukopisa'', ''Alepha'', ''PoZiCe'', zbornika Gornjogradskog književnog festivala, Po(e)zitive i drugih te na portalima Kritična masa, Strane, Poeziju na štrikove, Čovjek-časopis i NEMA. Ovog ljeta izdaje dječju slikovnicu ''Srna i Mak u potrazi za uplašenim mjesecom'' u nakladi Mala zvona. S pjesničkim rukopisom ''Junaci i zmajevi su izumiruće vrste'' ušao je uži krug za nagradu ''Na vrh jezika'' 2019. godine.

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Ana Vučić: U Limbu

NAGRADA "SEDMICA & KRITIČNA MASA" - ŠIRI IZBOR 2020.

Ana Vučić (1992., Karlovac) još uvijek pokušava završiti Kroatistiku i Sociologiju na Filozofskom fakultetu u Zagrebu. Dosad su joj objavljene neke pjesme i jedan ulomak u studentskim časopisima i na Kritičnoj masi. Otkad je Jastrebarsko zamijenila Zagrebom piše tek neznatno više. U slobodno vrijeme čita, gleda sport i serije te mašta o obrani diplomskog rada u normalnim okolnostima. Vrhuncem svoje dosadašnje književne karijere smatra sudjelovanje na prvoj Kroeziji u kafiću Luxor.

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Ivan Katičić: Klošari

NAGRADA "SEDMICA & KRITIČNA MASA" - ŠIRI IZBOR 2020.

Ivan Katičić (1990., Split) objavio je zbirku kratkih priča ''Pet metara bliže zvijezdama'' (Pučko otvoreno učilište Velika Gorica, 2016.). Živi i ne radi u Omišu.

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Gabrijel Delić: Orlovski

NAGRADA "SEDMICA & KRITIČNA MASA" - ŠIRI IZBOR 2020.

Gabrijel Delić (1998., Zagreb) napisao je nekoliko članaka na temu automobilizma objavljenih na jednoj britanskoj web-stranici i poneku kratku priču od kojih je zadnja objavljena u regionalnom natječaju ''Biber'' za 2019. godinu.

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