Moscow House of Books
The Moscow House of Books brand entered the annals of history on September 25, 1967, the day the first store was officially opened on the New Arbat. ‘It has a strict, laconic, and modern appearance’, wrote Moskovsky Knizhnik several days later. ‘The 2-storey glass and concrete building extends 100 meters along the capital’s youngest artery – Prospekt Kalinina’. Even back then it was the country’s largest bookstore, with 4,500 m2 of floor space, 13 sections, and employing 115 people. The state-owned company ‘Moscow House of Books United Center’ was created in 1998. In 2007, the Moscow House of Books chain unites 40 stores plus an
Internet store and employs more than 2,000 people.
Values of the Brand
The Moscow House of Books on the New Arbat is the chain’s central store. It’s a popular place for Muscovites and guests of the capital, where well-known Russian and foreign writers, poets and cultural figures gather.
The mission of the Moscow House of Books is to excite interest in reading among both adults and children. After all, according to the All-Russian Center for the Study of public opinion, only 62% of Russians regularly read books, 23% seldom read, and 15% of respondents said that they do not read at all. In order to raise interest in reading, the Moscow House of Books regularly holds thematic week-long events and meetings with well-known authors, engages in cultural outreach with schools, higher educational institutions and libraries, and organizes round tables and visitor surveys. Every year in November and December the store takes the baton to hold the promotional event titled ‘Open Books Up to Children’.
The Moscow House of Books implements many projects directed towards supporting interest in reading and does a great deal of socially-oriented work. Every year, the store chain holds two festivals that are also devoted to children: ‘We Grow Together with Books’ during spring break, and the ‘Back to School Soon’ Festival of Writing Implements for School in mid-August. Additional targeted help is provided to orphanages and children from disadvantaged families. As part of the charitable event ‘All Children are Ours’, assistance is accepted throughout the year for low-income families.
The Moscow House of Books has been collaborating with the United Nations Children’s Fund since 2007. The stores engage in outstreatch and distribute information about the problems of HIVinfected children and children rights.
Innovations & Promotion
The Moscow House of Books has been publishing the magazine ‘We Read Together: A Navigator in the World of Books’ since 2006. Each issue contains information about the 100 most interesting new titles of the month, news of the book world in Russia and abroad, the lives and work of well-known writers, as well as the histories of well-known books and quotations. Actively cooperating with the Russian Book Chamber, the Moscow House of Books makes exclusive information available to the general public about printed products published in Russia since 1980, as well as about books that have yet to be printed.
There are many nonstandard projects in the promotion of the Moscow House of Books brand. For example, in February 2007 the House of Books on the New Arbat held the Week of Business Literature event, with the participation of leading publishing houses of Moscow and St. Petersburg. It was a unique intellectual marathon featuring training sessions led by leading consulting companies and presentations of books by well-known authors. As part of Russian Fashion Week in October 2006, a demonstration of the ‘Spring-Summer 2007’ collection of fashionable clothing presented by the design bureau of the well-known clothing designer Tatyana Sudaryanto was successfully held under the motto ‘Reading is Trendy!’
The opening ceremony of this project directed towards supporting students and young scientists was held at the Moscow House of Books in April 2007 as part of the AllRussian program ‘National Project Through Your Eyes’ under the motto ‘Intellect is Fashionable!’.
The ‘We Grow Together With Books’ Festival, timed to coincide with the Year of Child in Moscow, opened with a carnival processon along the Old Arbat, with the participation of more than 1,000 representatives of Moscow schools, institutions of higher education and publishing houses.
Economy & Finance
The Russian book market is conditionally divided into four large segments. In percentage terms it is as follows: political and social literature comprises 29%, literature on education, culture and media 14%, fiction 14% and technical 13%. In 2006, sales of books in Russia increased by 13% over the previous year to $2 billion. Imports of books to Russia increased by 9% to $191,9 million. Exports fell by 8,5%.
The Moscow House of Books’ product line has more than 115,000 titles of books and 20,000 stationery items. The company sells more than 25 million books and 7 million units of stationery products per year. The company’s annual retail turnover is RUB 2 billion.
Achievements & Prospects
The Moscow House of Books United Center is a successful enterprise with a good growth rate and stable profitability. The chain store offers a broad selection of literature, stationery goods, audio and video products. The shop on the New Arbat has a section devoted to antique and rare books, as well as a department of numismatics and philately.
The company’s central shop is equipped with video monitors, and many of the presentations are streamed on the Internet in real time. The Moscow House of Books has a flexible system of discounts including cumulative discount cards, social cards for Muscovites, student discounts and discounts for small-scale wholesale customers. The Moscow House of Books is an active participant in prestigious Russian and international exhibitions such as ‘Light of the Book’ in Prague, the Leipzig International ‘Books of Russia’ ExhibitionFair, the St. Petersburg Book Expo and many others.
In 2006 the ‘Russian Records’ Association named the Moscow House of Books on the New Arbat Russia’s largest book retailer. It also named the chain Russia’s only major state-owned chain of book shops.
Things you didn’t know about The Moscow House of Books
The Moscow House of Books includes Moscow’s oldest specialized book shops, including House of Foreign Books, House of Medical Books, House of Pedagogical Books and House of Technical Books. The oldest of them is the House of Foreign Books. In 1901 in its place was Glazunov Book Store, then Writers’ Book Store, then English Book Shop. The histories of each of the remaining ‘Houses’ can also be traced back more than 80 years. If everyone who visits the stores of the Moscow House of Books in one day were to form a queue, it would extend 35,000 meters, or 2.5 times the length of the Garden Ring.
The Russian National Bibliography database contains more than 2.5 million records about books, brochures, abstracts and dissertations published in Russia and the republics of the former USSR in the period from 1980–2000.
The New Books of Russia database contains information about books published since 2000. According to the Russian Book Chamber, from 1,000 to 1,500 new records are added every week.