The Czech book market has been at a standstill over the past two weeks. This is due mainly to the government’s decision to close most stores, including bookstores, which was unavoidable in light of the novel coronavirus…
The book-publishing holding company Euromedia, which includes, for example, the Luxor bookstore chain and the Knizni klub publishing house, is launching registration of preschools and individuals who are looking after the children of doctors and nurses, to whom it will send books and audiobooks. Even though Euromedia had to close bookstores due to the current situation and has had to almost fully suspend its distribution and publishing operations, it is striving to provide books from its own production where they will help the most. In addition to that, the company is working on a contactless delivery system so that it will be prepared to satisfy a new wave of demand during the quarantine and thus mitigate its current loss.
The publisher’s team has set up the address firstname.lastname@example.org, at which preschools, individuals and institutions that are taking care of the children of healthcare workers can register so that Euromedia can send them packages of books. The company currently has more than 10,000 books prepared for all age categories; approximately 200 different titles are available. “We are now striving to let people know about this possibility so that they will start using it. At the same time, we are coming up with other ways to help. We found ourselves in a difficult position, as our sales stalled from one day to the next and our employees are waiting to see if they’ll still have jobs. However, before the situation develops further, we are trying to keep busy by helping and finding new solutions,” says Lukáš Novák, head of Euromedia.
Several hundred independent publishers and booksellers, thousands of authors and dozens of editors, translators, graphic artists, printers and other professionals, including 650 core employees, are linked to Euromedia, the backbone company of the Czech book-publishing business. Today, the company does not have work for any of them and without sales revenue, it will implement emergency measures so that it is able to fulfil its obligations and not be forced to lay off employees or suspend cooperation with external workers. “We are in contact with everyone and we are transparently informing them about what is happening. Euromedia plays an indispensable role in the Czech book market, which gives us hope that with the involvement of the announced government assistance, we will be able to continue our operations,” Lukáš Novák adds.
In response to the current situation, the company has worked intensively on its online distribution. “This involves alternative channels that will help get books to people who have to stay home. Therefore, we are now working on safe, contactless delivery methods for existing e-shops,” says Lukáš Novák.
This is the first time the company has faced a situation of this nature in its thirty years on the Czech market. Its operations directly affect 1,300 booksellers throughout the country, as it is their main and often only book supplier. Furthermore, 750 independent Czech publishers are linked to Euromedia, as they use its infrastructure and distribution network – nearly 27 million books were stored in and shipped from Euromedia’s warehouse last year. The company also plays a key role in relation to the Czech education system, as it supplies textbooks to approximately 1,500 schools and distributed half a million copies of educational literature to its network last year. Euromedia published more than 800 new titles in 2019.