CULTURE

EKEBI touts transparency

For the first time in its 12-year existence, the National Book Center of Greece (EKEBI) has published a financial statement detailing its expenditure in 2005. The new management, put in place by the center-right New Democracy government soon after it gained power in 2004, has pledged to provide an annual breakdown of its expenses in the name of transparency. The wholly subsidized EKEBI spent nearly 2.83 million euros last year, of which nearly a million covered salaries and operating expenses. The most important activity was the preparation and the staging of the 2nd Thessaloniki International Book Fair, in May 2005, which attracted more than 25,000 visitors and was attended by several important authors from Mediterranean countries. EKEBI spent 727,000 euros on the fair, the single largest expenditure item. This year’s Thessaloniki Fair was even more successful, with four times the number of publishers and twice the number of visitors; it recently joined a global network made up of the biggest book fairs, currently numbering 23. A significant amount, just over 300,000 euros, was spent on promoting Greek literature abroad. EKEBI takes part in many international fairs and last year Greece was the honored country at the Madrid Book Fair. Another important EKEBI activity is promoting reading in Greece, a country of few readers. This effort focuses at school level but there are also other promotional events. EKEBI focuses on literature but does not ignore science: One of its programs aims at boosting publications in human sciences, both social and natural.