So, what to you read after all?!
It seems somehow strange that despite all these problems, Iranian publishing industry is relatively large. There are over 8000 publishers registered, from which about 1200 publishers publish more than 10 titles a year. Every year, according to the reports published by Iran’s Book House (www.ketab.net), more than 18000 new titles enter the market, which consists mainly of bookstores (about 1500 bookstores), most of them independents. We don’t have chain bookstores that are the most important part of distribution system in most countries.
“The international publishers can hardly understand this,” I think, while I am on the Lufthansa flight back home. And the hardest thing to understand is that Iranians actually read a lot. Bestsellers are very important among the international publishers I meet, but what are bestsellers? It seems to me that there is another gap between our worlds, as except for Paulo Coelho and Harry Potter series that seem to be universal bestsellers, most of the international bestsellers don’t work in Iran, neither Stephen King, nor John Grisham, Dan Brown, Daniel Steel, or Mitch Albom. The bestsellers in the Iranian book market quite differ from the other parts of the world: Milan Kundera, Alain Robbe-Grillet, Marguerite Duras, Mario Vargas Llosa, Nietzsche, Kurt Vonnegut, Paul Auster, Jose Saramago; these are some of the bestsellers in Iran.