De Revolutionibus, Kurant, Massolit, Muza II and WAM – these are Cracovians’ favourite bookshops selected in the first ever plebiscite organized by the Krakow Festival Office, the operator of the Krakow UNESCO City of Literature. The voting lasted for over two months and took place in 31 intimate, non-chain bookshops and antique shops. The winning bookshops will be awarded the Quality Mark of Krakow UNESCO City of Literature certificate and a promotional campaign planned by the organisers and the partners of the plebiscite.
The voting in the action, whose main aim was to promote small bookshops as cultural centres and places of significant social mission, lasted from 5 October. The bookshops and antique shops were significantly different when it came to their profile, location and the scope of services they provided. However, there was one thing that was common for all of them – a belief that a bookseller is the best guide in the world of literature and good books are not only those most commonly disputed and publicized – Izabela Helbin, the director of Krakow Festival Office says. That is why the announcement of the results was planned for today, Booksellers Day – she adds.
4,500 votes were casted in the first ever plebiscite on the Bookshop of the Year. 65% of them were casted in a traditional way (tossing the vote into specific, yellow ballot-boxes in the bookshops) and 35% were casted on the Internet (filling in a form on www.ksiegarnie.miastoliteratury.pl webpage). There were four categories awarded: the quality of the book offer, the service, the atmosphere and other additional advantages (e.g. the possibility of getting a particular title from a depot really fast). A massive response from the readers shows that despite downward trends on the book market and strong competition on the Internet, most decisions on selecting books are still being made in brick-and-mortar bookshops. Small bookshops are often the only places where we can find less known, often niche tiles, ask for advice when choosing a book and take part in meetings with authors or just spend time creatively and nicely.
The winning bookshops – De Revolutionibus, Kurant, Massolit, Muza II and WAM – apart from the Quality Mark of Krakow UNESCO City of Literature will also be awarded a promotional campaign in the urban space, on the radio and in press, and as a part of literary festivals organized in the city. The diplomas will be handed in on Friday (15 December) by Andrzej Kulig – Deputy Mayor of the City of Krakow for Social Policy, Culture and City Promotion.
The action Wybieramy księgarnie roku (We are selecting the bookshop of the year) is a part of the programme supporting local book market which is a strategic element of the Krakow UNESCO City of Literature programme whose operator is Krakow Festival Office. This is first such a big initiative in Poland, modelled partly on French and German certification systems (Librairie de Référence, Deutscher Buchhandlungspreis), giving the readers the deciding vote. The actions that Krakow has implemented on supporting bookshops include, among others: a system of rental discounts in city premises, initiated in a 2016 programme of supporting cultural activities in bookshops, as well as an outdoor book fair for antiquarians and booksellers at St. Maria Magdalena Square.
Organisers of the polls: City of Krakow, Krakow Festival Office – the operator of the Krakow UNESCO City of Literature programme
Media patronage: “Gazeta Wyborcza” Krakow, Radio Krakow, TVP Krakow
Partners: Lubimy Czytać, initiatives: Książki Kupuję Kameralnie, City of Literature Foundation, Stowarzyszenie Miłośników Książek, Historii i Krakowa ”Otwarta Książka”, Re-Prezentacje Association