Deconstruction

And this is how it ends. I will have enough kindling for several winters to come.

Read at your own risk

On the 20th November 2013 I was invited by MMC Zavoda K6/4 to give a talk on the subject of e-books. I shared my perspective from the point of view of an independent bookseller. Here’s a video recording of the result:

There are some interesting bits. I share my analysis of the subject. And, yes, I depart into the wide and dangerous forests of talking abut subsidies, vertical distribution, interests of capital, and the virtues of sharing. I even dare to speculate about possible reincarnation of Behemot.

The talk is in Slovene. To be precise – in a very relaxed, colloquial, almost my own private Slovene. Language purists beware!

If you prefer reading, here is an abridged and heavily edited transcript. Down from 5.000+ words to less than 3.500. And it’s still neither grammatically nor politically correct. Read at your own risk.

Thanks to Maja and Dare for inviting me.
Thanks to Alenka Pirman for recommending me.

Triglavi zmaj

Mojca Pišek wrote this nice article about closing of Behemot:

Behemota je požrl triglavi zmaj, kot ga imenuje Ivandić, za katerega je danes v knjigarni zadnji delovni dan.

Ivandič je ponosen, da je knjigarno, ki je svojevrstna »sistemska anomalija«, kot eden redkih brez vsake pomoči oblasti (če odštejemo brezplačen najem zadnje leto dni) vodil osem let. O nadaljnjem delu v panogi ne razmišlja.

Hvala, Mojca.

Micro-interactions

I’m not entirely sure when I first walked into Behemot as it wasn’t a particularly pleasing experience.

My friend Rok Pregelj wrote a beautiful essay about an “enchanting and weird” place.

When bands came to play in Ljubljana, I’d take them to Behemot to get a book and Bi-ko-fe to get coffee. When someone hosted Couchsurfers, I’d take them to Behemot. It became one of those oases that inspired hope that business could indeed be done fairly. People were generally excited about its fragile existence.

He underlines all important aspects of my approach to business, art, and life in general. And, yes:

It wasn’t entirely about books.

Hvala, Rok!

Praznina

The end of Behemot was kindly noticed by Irena Štaudohar in Sobotna priloga. I am very thankful for her subtle choice of words. To me, the picture of emptiness evokes tarkovskian qualities.

In ker sem naivna kot francoska sobarica, mislim, da bi morali ne samo Ljubljančani in beroči turisti, ampak tudi kulturni in turistični oddelek MOL (ne upam si pomisliti, da to župana sploh zanima) zaprtje Behemota občutiti kot poraz, kot praznino.

Berem star časopis

..in me prijetno preseneča, da se po več kot pol leta še vedno strinjam sam s sabo.

Digitalizacija besedila je sociokulturološki fenomen in je obupen poskus založnikov, ki se s poslednjimi močmi oklepajo zadnje rešilne bilke in cesarstva knjig, ki je bilo nekdaj njihovo. Kajti vse, kar se pretoči iz kadi, v kateri smo še pred kratkim veselo čofotali, gre v neki še neznani svet, velikansko črno luknjo, v kateri delujejo orjaška podjetja, ki se ukvarjajo z mislijo, kako si prisvojiti čim več našega časa, razlaga Ivandić. Digitalizacija teksta je zelo pomemben fenomen, kajti ko digitaliziraš knjigo, postane del kolektivnega znanja – nečesa, kar se lahko deli. Bralniki so v tej optiki naravnost absurdni, njihovo trajnost bi lahko primerjali s trajanjem zvezdnega utrinka na poletnem nebu, pravi Ivandić. Ljudje smo pač taki, da stvari radi delimo in napočil je skrajni čas, da na novo domislimo koncept avtorskih pravic.

Agata Tomažič v Pogledih, 7. maj 2013.

Alea iacta est

closing_2

Behemot is closing on the evening of Tuesday, the 14th of January.

You’re cordially invited to pick some great books from our collection and indulge yourself in these strange reading devices of the times past.

I am deeply thankful and personally moved by kindness and gratitude of all our friends who donated their precious books in support of our cause.

For the time being, we are closing all our book related projects.

Our blog stays alive.

With tender and kind seasonal wishes,

Dean Ivandić
(a former bookseller, a guy who stood behind those books)

Odlazi cirkus iz našeg malog grada
širokim drumom što izlazi na most
odlazi cirkus i ja se pitam sada
ko je domaćin, a ko je bio gost

(Đorđe Balašević)

Pizza

Mojca Pišek me je vprašala za mnenje o knjigarnah kot družabnih prostorih.

Predstavljajmo si, da bi se čez noč nekaj spremenilo in bi bila pica, naročena po internetu, bistveno cenejša od tiste v piceriji. Včasih bi bila celo zastonj. Kako bi to vplivalo na ekosistem? Picerijam bi verjetno padel promet. Večino bi zaprli. Nekatere pa bi le vztrajale. Preizkušale bi nove strategije. Govorili bi: ‘Picerija kot družabni prostor!’ Tako bi ob najljubši pici obenem lahko uživali v nastopu plesalke na drogu, občudovali požiralca ognja ter si ogledovali iluzioniste in akrobate. V teh utrdbah picerijske kulture bi se povečalo število obiskovalcev. Nagradno vprašanje je: kaj bi se zgodilo s številom prodanih pic?

Knjigarne kot družabni prostori, Dnevnik, 7. december.

Seventy six

About a year ago we decided to include a selection of books by Slovene publishers. Basically, what we did was.. I mean, what Tadeja did.. frankly, I lack the knowledge.. she basically did the same as we always do with books in English: pick the most interesting, the most important and the most beautiful books; narrow the endless stream of printed material into a hand-picked microuniverse.

This was one year ago. I hesitate to go on telling you this, as anyone who understands anything about book-business will naturally conclude that I am a moron. Well, our statistics is: in one year we sold 76 books by Slovene publishers.

For an independent bookseller, this is about a number of books that you want to sell in a day. Or, if you are really small, like we used to be, it’s a number of books you might want to sell in a week. Definitely not in a year.

Domestic book-business was always a Sphinx to me. Uninviting, posing questions that, with my knowledge and experience, I am unable to answer. In a way, what we did was a litmus paper test. The results are so far off the scale that I still refuse to think about it and rather remain silently puzzled.