The Book is dead
long live the Book!
For the past twenty years we’ve been listening to the same chorus which keeps repeating how “the book is dead”. An obsolete format nobody cares about pushed out of sight by digital media. People do not read anymore. This is a discourse which seeks foundation in the idea of technological progress and related changes in our everyday lives. Indeed, today we are living differently than was the case 10, 20 or 30 years ago. We all feel this change and that’s why it is easy to believe in a dystopian scenario which radicalizes the future and devours our memories of “good old times”.
Does the rise of audio and e-books, higher availability of movies, series and short video formats really mean that we do not read books anymore or does reality have a bit more layers than that?
Like with every change, it’s usually about generation shifts. Conflict between old and new players. Disruptors who are creating space for new products and ideas versus those who try to keep their current positions. This is a perspective which should be taken into consideration while we read about the book being dead or not, about how much we read or not. Changes happen, for sure, but collapse of the book publishing industry is not the only scenario we can expect. Just like TV did not kill the radio but changed the media landscape and our habits it seems like the book will stay alive just like radio did.
We can also talk about reading, writing and books in general without thinking about the market, relation of power, struggle for survival, technology shifts. If we forget about those for a moment and lower ourselves to the personal level, to the level of experience we get from reading and what that brings to each person who enjoys this activity, we are then touching the essence of why we like to read. It’s an intimate drive for which you have to develop sensitivity. We believe that this is what essentially makes people and companies we work with on developing their on-line book related projects move. The fact that there are so many of them suggests that our Cooperative is also affiliated to the world of words and sentences.
Booksa, an online and physical space dedicated to literature in all its forms, for everyone who acts in this field. Booksa club is located in Martićeva street in Zagreb. Since 2004. There is also an online portal booksa.hr at which we worked from the very beginning. This was the case probably because we were spending significant time in the Club, hanging out and following the programme. After Slobodna Domena was founded, we have taken the task of caring for all Booksa’s on-line assets.
MVinfo, an internet e-zine & portal for book and culture of reading is Croatian long-lived literature related project which is dedicated to all participants in the local book market. MVinfo in a way continues the tradition of Moderna vremena which was a cult book store in Zagreb where some of our Coop’s members were buying tapes and graphic novels back in the nineteen-eighties. A lot of time has passed since then but Moderna Vremena is not giving up. This fact is certainly backed up by their web portal, made by Fiktiv Studio a while ago. Today, the portal but also other projects like Book Top List and Writers’ portal are developed by Slobodna domena.
Libricon, a publishing house specialized in adventure and travelogue literature, is a good example of how big of a role enthusiasm plays in the book world. Despite an underdeveloped market for this particular niche, Libricon not only manages to regularly publish new titles but they also sell imported books from selected publishers. Through persistent work they literally build their market, fight for each reader. Since for some of us in the Coop mountains, running, walking, climbing and outdoor in general are important, we are glad to be able to work with Libricon and are looking forward to the Brdo Knjiga mountain literature fest which is announced for 2022.
Najbolje Knjige, a portal for book lovers, is an excellent example of how business cooperation based on mutual understanding and appreciation can lead to good results.
This portal writes about books, promotes, reviews and announces. All they do relies on optimism and positive perception of values which we get from literature. Such an approach was applied to our cooperation through which we have built a portal for which we expect that it will spread good vibes for a long long time.
Što čitaš?, a publishing house, book store, antique store. For sure one of the toughest plants on Zagreb’s scene. Their titles are mainly dedicated to anarchist and libertarian thought. They are driven by social change. Besides a long list of publications, among which they are known for hand-made limited editions, for Što čitaš? It’s probabbly all about their book and antique store. It’s an important spot in Zagreb which attracts philosophers, activists, anarchists, art and book lovers. This bookstore is as much of an activist project as it is a businees one. This somehow reminds us of Slobodna Domena so it’s logical that we stand behind Što čitaš? on-line shop.