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Zoroastrian publishers, in an interview with IRNA

How was the 33rd Tehran International Book Fair?

To present the primary sources in Iranology and understand Iran’s ancient culture, specialized publishers of Zoroastrian texts hosted book readers and lovers of religion and ancestral culture for ten days at the book fair. Publishing costs are one of the biggest concerns of publishers. This concern is not only the concern of publishers of religious minorities but also a general concern of publishers, was also felt at the 33rd Tehran International book fair.

Managers of Barsam and Hiromba publishing houses, two specialized publishers of Zoroastrian texts, spoke to IRNA about the 330th Tehran International  Book Fair.

IRNA reports: In answer to the question of how was the 33rd Tehran International book fair, Barsam Publishing director said: “We are specific publishers who present unique books, our topics are mainly in the field of Iranology, but we also have books on literature and other issues, but our main goal is studies about Iran. In my opinion, due to the current inflation and the increase in prices, the book’s readers have also decreased in these two years. Many people want books, but they have to drop this item when facing rising costs and economic problems that have reduced the purchasing power. Two years ago, even, the purchasing power was low, but these past two years have been worse than before, and prices have risen unreasonably, all of which have led to a decrease in the book fair audience and our audience.

Dinaz dehnadi added: “I have not observed from close the general publishers, but I had a short conversation with a friend who is active in the general publishers zone. They have also mentioned decrease in sales. I hope that the situation will get better, but at the same time, the book fair had positive and negative effects, and the publishers’ workload has doubled. There are even mistakes in posting that did not happen in the previous period. Fatigue of forces and individuals causes these problems.”

She, being a publishing graduate, said: “The fact that discount coupons were only accessible from the site was a hindrance for students who wanted to buy in person and this matter needs to be checked; there are professors who needed to see the book before buying it. This discount issue doubles their work and takes a lot of time of the buyers.

Dehnadi continued: “We spoke in a meeting with the Deputy Minister of Cultural Affairs of the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance and gave her a lot of organizations and agencies which can  buy our books. We saw the impact on our virtual sales. New organizations bought from us that had no purchases from us in the last two years, and this was due to this policy. We publish books with the hope that they will positively impact the society, and we would like to see two-way communication between the publisher and the reader.

About Barsam’s best selling books in the 33rd tehran book fair, she said: “Our two new books: one “Theophanes”, a translation of 600 years of Iranian history, and the other “Hirbodestan”, have been translated for the first time and are about the seminary of Zoroastrian mobeds, and was sold well in the virtual section.”

In the end, dehnadi said: “I hope the country’s economic situation improves so that we can help to raise the cultural awareness of our people.”

The exhibition has many visitors but few buyers.

The director of Hiromba publishing house spoke with IRNA about the 33rd Tehran book fair: “After a 2-year pause, the status of the fair is like it is started from point zero, and the organizers seem to be doing it for the first time. Of course, holding such exhibitions is not easy, but after holding 33 international book fairs, we expect that there will be more order and some shortcomings and disorderliness will not be repeated frequently. In the beginning, the situation in the exhibition was not good. However, some procedures improved, for example, having a parking card was one of the things that was satisfying.

Behnam Mobarakeh added: “Fortunately, the construction process of Mosalla has improved, and some buildings have got some shape, and so we have a somewhat neat exhibition, and other publishers have also been located in roofed spaces, but in general, the situation has not been good.”

He continued: the audience has not yet come to terms with the new prices and enters the exhibition with the price mentality of two years ago. Many audiences think that the prices of books are very high, but they are unaware of the costs of paper and printing. Costs have increased our pricing, and I think the fair is crowded and has a lot of visitors but few buyers.

Mobarakeh also said: “The promising events of the exhibition are that after the Corona years, people gathered again and came out of their houses, as if books have gained life again; but the high prices will not let these books go into the shopping carts of the families again, as though people have broken terms with books.”

He said about the sale of Hirmaba books in the exhibition: “The translation of Avesta book has been the most popular book of Hirmaba publications in the book fair this year.” Avestan script teaching, Mehr Yasht translation, and books on Zoroastrian ceremonies and customs have also sold best.

Comparing the sales of books in the physical and virtual exhibition periods, the director of Hirmaba Publishing said: “Virtual sales have decreased compared to the previous two periods, which were not physical exhibitions, but the present situation was not so bad. We thought that the physical exhibition would be better received by the public, but we had a sharp drop in sales due to the rising prices.

 

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