CULTURE

Study provides a detailed picture of book market

Until recently, information about the book market in Greece has been fragmentary: There was some data – rather suspect because it was not specific enough – on book-purchasing by households compiled by the National Statistics Service (NSS). More recently, the National Book Center (EKEBI) has conducted research on the reading habits of Greeks. There have been articles in the press and in the more specialized magazines, most lamenting the state of the book market in Greece. Until recently, however, there had been no comprehensive study of the Greek book trade. EKEBI has filled this gap this year with a publication, in Greek, titled «Difficult Development: The Economics of the Book in Greece,» which provides a detailed view of the structure of the market, the producers, consumers, the role of the State and external trade. The book has been structured in such a way that it is accessible to both the layperson and the specialist. For the latter, there is an abundance of tables covering all aspects of the market. Most of the tables have been incorporated into three annexes. The main body of the book was written by economists Yiannis Bouzas and Marianna Asymomiti, who also did the research. Associate professor at Athens University Nikos Haritakis was research supervisor. Socrates Kambouropoulos, special adviser to the National Book Center, designed the study and was involved in the data analysis. He, along with the center’s director, Christos Lazos, wrote the conclusions. The picture that emerges is that of an expanding, but very fragmented, market, is increasingly concentrated in the hands of a few publishers. Even the largest publishers, however, are heavily indebted compared to other Greek businesses. The State may be of help, since its role as a buyer has increased now that European Union funds are available for building libraries. For those with little patience for an in-depth analysis, each of the book’s seven chapters has a concluding section. There is also a final, summing-up chapter.