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The Book Industry in the Far East. Trends and Prospects
6 September 2022
The state must think about educating the next generation

We keep saying that we need an ideology. No one has yet tried to formulate what we want to teach in the order of priority: mother, teacher, family, protection, homeland, love – there is none. This is the shortcoming of the state. This is what we are doing now — Grigoriy Kuranov, Deputy Presidential Plenipotentiary Envoy to the Far Eastern Federal District of the Russian Federation.

The interest of the state is to educate. If the state wants to live, to develop, to remain sovereign, it must educate young people, children – primarily children – teenagers to understand who will come after us. We will all leave some day anyway. If we raised them properly – ‘properly is a biased term from our point of view - and those who we think were raised properly will come, then everything will be fine from our point of view — Grigoriy Kuranov, Deputy Presidential Plenipotentiary Envoy to the Far Eastern Federal District of the Russian Federation.

There is a challenge to improve the efficiency of the book industry by getting people to read

To increase the efficiency of using the book infrastructure, literature, and books, it seems to me, we need to start with a very simple thing. <...> Everything starts with goals, and this goal is spelled out by booksellers in the country. It has been discussed and declared for several years: create conditions for 80% of Russians to read an average of 12 books a year or more. This is a lot or a little, we can discuss, but now it is 6–7 books. Now it is about 60% of Russians on average that read, according to various surveys. If we set a goal of the level of reading, then we set a goal of essentially developing the publishing business, the book infrastructure, the library infrastructure, which essentially serve this flow of readers — Denis Kotov, Founder, Bookvoed.

The book industry, the publishing industry and the literary process in the Far Eastern Federal District are currently in a very difficult situation, I would even say, in a state of disrepair. In our view, this is largely due to an underestimation of the role and importance of the humanities in the region’s life and activities — Alexander Kolesov, Director, Pacific Publishing House "Rubezh".

Writer is still not on the register of professions

Writer is still not in the register, not on the list of professions. This is a mistake. If we are talking about stimulating creativity, then what is a writer at the moment? Self-employed. Self-employed without any special rights to become a significant member of our society. And after all, if you think about it, a writer is exactly the person where everything starts in creativity. After all, in the beginning was the word — Vyacheslav Konovalov, Curator, All-Russian Literary Prize “Far East” named after VK Arsenyev; President, "Literature of Pacific Russia" Festival.

Mobile phones replaced books in people’s lives

Now a mobile phone takes 5–7 hours of time, while reading a book takes an average of 9 minutes. So it is, in fact, already practically a diagnosis. We even ironically already know its name – hypercyphrosis, which is accompanied by ‘under-booking’, and in some cases ‘acute or chronic literary deficiency’. And with this diagnosis, in fact, we witness mental changes, and these mental changes show that our young people are quite shallow — Denis Kotov, Founder, Bookvoed.

Young people should be motivated to engage in literary activities

It seems to me that we need to pay more attention to schoolchildren. As a suggestion, I would advise to motivate children to write about their home regions – Sakhalin, Kamchatka, Chukotka, Vladivostok – stories or novels. It would be a good idea to hold a competition in public schools under condition that the book will be published, so that it could end up in the libraries of all Far-Eastern towns and villages, and so on. It would be a good idea to help the state so that the state helps with the publication of this book — Andrey Gelasimov, Russian Contemporary Writer.

I think we can draw attention to the wonderful experience of Nizhny Novgorod’s Ministry of Culture, which has been running the wonderful Boldino Autumn competition for many years now. They bring together young writers not only from the Nizhny Novgorod Region, but also from other regions of Russia. These are young people, say from 18 to 25 years old. <...> It seems to me to be a good initiative. We could also create something along these lines in Vladivostok, or in Nakhodka, where I have been told there are some great tourist centres. There we could gather young people and hold such events — Andrey Gelasimov, Russian Contemporary Writer.

Modern solutions can improve the efficiency of book infrastructure

This year we have come up with a project called the ‘Reserved Library, as part of which we have collected and digitized over six thousand publications produced by our protected areas. Incidentally, 1,120 of them are from the protected areas of the Russian Far East. The main task of this project is to unite scientific literature, methodological literature, environmental education materials and, what is important, children’s literature, which is really abundant, at one platform, and with all of this environmental education should begin — Daria Matsuk, Acting Director, Information and Analytical Center for Reserve Support.

The efficiency of the book infrastructure can be greatly improved through the use of modern digital solutions and socio-cultural technologies. As one of such technologies, it is proposed in August of next year to launch a hybrid multimedia festival ‘Vladivostok Book Lighthouse’. <...> I am sure that with joint efforts we can make the ‘Vladivostok Book Lighthouse’ so attractive that it will be not only a holiday for residents of Vladivostok, Primorye Region and the Far East, but so that it will be a beacon reaching the European part — Denis Kotov, Founder, Bookvoed.

National programmes can increase citizens’ readership

Vladimir Putin launched a project called ‘100 books. Cultural Canon’. Unfortunately, this project is lying dormant in the Ministry of Education, and it is my understanding that once every four years it can be refreshed by 50%, or maybe, given how much passed, even more. And it could be a national reading list, read both at home and abroad. Especially if 10 books are put there by the President. That way at least these 100 books would be available in libraries, in the army, and even in prisons. And believe me, no modern developments in the field of value formation can compare with the quality of those 100 books that can be put there — Denis Kotov, Founder, Bookvoed.