Monday, January 6, 2014


The VAV (Vlaamse Auteurs Vereniging) is a professional organization for authors in Flanders. Their yearly congress is really great: yet one can't follow all the workshops one would like to follow. The day started out with Patrick De Rynck introducing the plenary debate about the question "The book sector in transition?" The participants were Erik Vlaminck (author convinced that authors need to learn the business aspects of a writers life, sitting to the right, next to Koen Van Bockstal), Mark Pieters, publisher from the Netherlands speaking about the big corporations and the influence on the publishing process of the sales department of said corporations. It gave a disheartening image of the sector. Carlo Van Baelen (2nd left) spoke about the existential crisis of the publishing sector, the impoverishing of libraries and both of these factors leading to a leaner offer in books. 280.000 books per year are published in the Dutch speaking area, only 105.000 books are made available to the public. After three to six month, a book if it is not a bestseller, is taken off the shelves in the stores.

 We who read a lot keep the authors, publishers and bookshops alive.
A book was defined by him as an elitist product since it takes time, money and intelligence...
Koen Van Bockstal underlined that this crisis in the big concerns is an opportunity for the smaller and mid size publishers. The situation calls for stubborn publishers following their own mind. Also self-publishing is not necessarily a bad thing for authors. We need a new type of bookshop: professional and capable of taking the financial risk of the books ordered.
Natalie Ariƫn took the pictures and had organized the whole work-congres. Dimitri is one of our young and appreciated authors: here the link in dutch.

Then there was scientific research into writers processes... Interesting. Maybe when I have thought enough about what I heard there I'll blog about it later. And the last session was by Leen Van Dijck about the importance of archives and keeping different versions of a manuscript... Also correspondence about a translation and private letters to authors or friends and diaries... all that should be given to literary archives... The Letterenhuis (House of letters -as in literature) is working on their digital expertise so that all our digital document will be available online in a really safe place.

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