PET Publishing: “I sincerely do not understand how an e-book can be an adequate replacement for a paper book”

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“Book publishing is an auction of the human mind,” said Emily Dickinson, and it’s hard to argue with her words. Whether work in a publishing house is as romantic as it seems at first glance and how publishing houses in Ukraine now live, we learned from the heads of the PET publishing house – Ekaterina Pavlovna Evtushevskaya, head of the sales department, and Lyudmila Yuryevna Alexandrova, head of the publishing department.

Tell us what PET publishing house is like?

Евтушевская Екатерина Павловна

Evtushevskaya Ekaterina Pavlovna, Head of Sales Department

Ekaterina: At the moment, we are already a fairly successful publishing house in the field of educational literature and school documentation, but we do not plan to stop there. Now one of our priorities is the development of the children’s direction, the creation of wonderful books for children. We have a lot of ideas and ideas that we hope to bring to life in the near future. It’s interesting and exciting at the same time. I really want our books to be loved and useful to children, the most impartial and sincere category of consumers.

Lyudmila: I agree with Ekaterina, we are a fairly recognizable publishing house in the educational literature market. But we still have to become a recognizable publishing house for children’s literature, and this brings drive to our work. I really want our books to be liked by both children and their parents. In my opinion, the coincidence of their two “I want” is the key to the success of the publishing house of children’s literature.

Is it true that the publisher reads all published literature?

Ekaterina: Speaking about me, no. I don’t read everything, I trust our editorial department. I don’t want my personal preferences to influence the choice of buyers, and it’s definitely not possible to be impartial. But of course, I have a general idea about each book, what it is about, who it is intended for, features and features.

Lyudmila: Well, if by “publisher” we mean a team, then yes, of course, all published literature is read more than once and not by one person. J

How many books have you read in the past year?

Ekaterina: Unfortunately, I practically don’t read fiction, mostly books on business and development, I can’t boast of the number for the last year either, about 15 books. This year I already promised myself to correct this situation and read more.

Александрова Людмила Юрьевна

Aleksandrova Lyudmila Yurievna, head of the publishing department

Lyudmila: If you remove from the list of books read those that you have to read in the course of work, then not as much as we would like. Unfortunately, now my home library in the “I want to read” section is growing much faster than I read.

Do you have offline stores? Over the past few years, at least 3-4 bookstores have closed in Kharkiv. Keeping physical stores is not profitable?

Ekaterina: Yes, in addition to the online store, we have 2 offline stores in Kharkov, but there are thoughts of closing one, unfortunately books in Ukraine are not expensive, and rent, maintenance of stores and the salary of sellers is a pretty decent amount per month. So far, we manage to somehow balance, but it is obvious that from a practical point of view of doing business, this does not make sense.

Do you think the paper book is dying?

Ekaterina: I don’t think so. I sincerely do not understand how an e-book can be an adequate replacement for a paper one, especially for children.

Lyudmila: It seems to me that the paper book is unlikely to die. I don’t even know what can compare with those emotions and sensations that the smell of paper, printing ink, rustling pages causes …. And the tactile sensations when you pick up a book! There is no substitute for this!

Which age group sells the best children’s books?

Ekaterina, Lyudmila: Books for preschool children sell best. During this period, parents devote a lot of time to the development of the child, and the role of the book in this can hardly be overestimated.

Have you ever dealt with a good book that didn’t work at all? What is the reason, in your opinion?

Ekaterina: Of course. There can be a lot of reasons, firstly, let’s decide what is considered a good book. If we mean high-quality performance, then there are many good books, if from the point of view that the book is interesting, then this is a very subjective definition, as they say, there is no arguing about tastes. Sometimes it’s done with high quality and seems interesting, beautiful illustrations, but the promotion is very weak and the book doesn’t shoot, consumers simply don’t know about it. It happens that a book for professionals is obviously very strong, but ordinary mothers are not hooked or a popular story in Europe, but it does not mentally enter us. But the most interesting thing is that it almost never happens back that a book shoots out that you don’t think about.

Lyudmila: Unfortunately, yes. Catherine very accurately described the reasons for this. However, I will add one more. When selling books, we periodically meet with the fact that the child likes the book, he examines it with interest, holds it in his hands, asks to buy it, but at the same time, for some reason, mom / dad / grandmother does not like it (anyone can be in this place ), in which case the probability of buying tends to zero.

How will you learn about the needs of readers?

издательство ПЭТ

Ekaterina: In addition to the fact that we run a publishing house, first of all we ourselves were children, and now we are mothers and know firsthand the stages of growing up of children and their needs at different ages. A lot of things are changing in the world, but no one has yet managed to be born immediately as an adult.

Lyudmila: We observe, communicate, listen, watch, read, remember, invent.

Tell me about your work day.

Ekaterina: In fact, no matter how romantic the publishing business looks from the outside, there are certainly many times more operating systems in it than creativity, so basically my working day is busy with current affairs, documents, contracts, negotiations.

Lyudmila: Yes, I completely agree with Ekaterina, creativity, unfortunately, is not in the first place (although I really want to). Leadership is more than just creativity. A lot of time is spent on solving current issues, negotiations, discussions, setting and monitoring tasks.

What is the modern book market of Ukraine like?

Ekaterina: I think the main problem of the modern book market is the lack of support at the state level. Unfortunately, there is no support for the book trade and the promotion of reading in general. As I have already said, bookstores in Ukraine are more unprofitable, space is limited due to expensive rent, so there is no way to work with a large assortment, which is why many very worthy publications are not even able to get on the store counter.

Lyudmila: As a consumer, I like it. Many very interesting publishing houses have appeared with interesting and bold projects. A fairly large number of books are constantly entering the market, especially before landmark exhibitions, publishers make incredible efforts to promote, but there is always a but. We have not yet formed a fashion for reading, therefore, most of the potential readers are not interested in either books in general or novelties in particular.

How can a publishing house present itself now?

Ekaterina: Trite – books. Traditionally, publisher brands do not play a decisive role in the direct choice of a book by a buyer. This of course does not mean that the brand does not need to be promoted and developed, but the book is paramount.

Lyudmila: Of course, good books!

How is an illustrator selected?

Книга "Як слоненятно щастя шукало"

Ekaterina: In my case, I am more guided by personal preferences and professional instinct, something like catchy or not, the editorial department certainly looks deeper, at least so that there is no contradiction in the style of text and illustrations.

Lyudmila: The selection of an illustrator is a rather complicated and time-consuming process, but at the same time very exciting! For each book, each text and each age, we have our own vision of the book and illustration style. After we have decided on the style, we study the portfolio, select the illustrators who, in our opinion, are the most suitable for the project and offer to do test tasks, see how well the illustration and text complement each other, how organic they are. And when everything coincided, we get a “delicious” book.

Are you spying on your competitors?

Ekaterina: With the development of modern technologies, there is no need to peep, each publishing house tries its best to be present in the information field, to announce its new products through social networks. Therefore, I am certainly aware of what is coming out and what is happening. The only thing I really don’t like is the word competitors, I’m closer to my colleagues in the book business.

Lyudmila: Peep? To be honest, I don’t quite understand how this can be done with a completely open market. Publishing houses always try to show everything, not hide it. But studying the market, tracking trends is a vital necessity. And with the development of technology, with the opportunity to visit various book exhibitions, this is not a problem, only the desire is needed. And yes, we do not perceive publishing houses as competitors.

What qualities should an employee of a PET publishing house have?))

Ekaterina: Purposefulness, flexibility and patience. Purposefulness in order to set goals and achieve them, and without flexibility and patience in the modern world it is difficult to achieve success, daily communicating and interacting with a large number of people, it is very important to build communications correctly.

Lyudmila: It’s hard not to agree with Ekaterina. I would also add that it is very important to love our publishing house and what you do.

The interview was prepared as part of the “Interview with our Clients” project. If you are our Client, and we still have not talked about your project in the blog, contact us in any convenient way to prepare for publication.