Peter Kacmar at the International Booksellers Conference in Sharjah

Exploring the Slovak book market

  • 13/06/2022

Peter Kačmár shares insights on bookshop stock curation and presentation from the perspective of Panta Rhei

IKAR, the largest publishing house and book distributor in Slovakia, was founded in 1990. In over 30 years of its existence, it has brought more than 6,700 titles to the Slovak market, of which more than 34 million copies were sold.

Another important part of IKAR’s business is sale through Panta Rhei, IKAR’s sister company. Panta Rhei operates the largest chain of bookstores in Slovakia, with approximately 60 shops around all the country as well as online point of sales.

Peter Kačmár, IKAR’s sales director, offered his insights into the book market in Slovakia during his presentation at the recent International Booksellers Conference in Sharjah. In his speech, he highlighted the consignment model, used by established bookshops in the country. Through this model, booksellers have no immediate financial commitments, as they do not have to pay for the displayed titles until they sell. On the other hand, Slovakian online bookshops still mostly purchase books directly from publishers.

Joining a panel discussion exploring how having well curated and presented stock is essential to sales in bookshops, Peter offered an example from Panta Rhei: “Initial book orders reflect potential marketing campaigns, which are agreed between publisher and bookseller centrally. These are based on store size and position, with displays dedicated to new releases, bestsellers, short-term thematic panels.”

Peter also spoke about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Slovak book market. Due to long periods of lockdown and somewhat complicated and slow government support schemes, brick and mortar bookshops in the country were hit the hardest, while also losing some customers to online shops.

The participants also heard from Kenny Chan, former senior director at Kinokuniya Book Store, Singapore, Remi Morgan, CEO of Laterna Ventures, a leading literature importation, distribution and marketing organization in Nigeria, and Sonia Draga, publisher, founder and president of the Sonia Draga Publishing Group and Bookstores in Poland, during the panel. 

See Peter’s full presentation.