"The old and the new ways of publishing."Periklis Douvitsas
1. Please describe the philosophy of Nefeli Publishing.
We keep ourselves in constant contact with traditional typography and it's aesthetic and practical values, but also cherish the ethical values of our trade and the high quality standards in choosing the books we publish. We try to work responsibly towards the past and the future. It is for me crucial not to lose track of those very basic things in a time where almost everything is under constant change, due to the new possibilities the advances in technology bring us. I expect that the inevitable transformation of our trade will be based on the knowledge and understanding of the good things, both in the old and the new ways of publishing.
2. Nefeli was founded in Athens: why and what impact has the capital on your work?
Since Greece is centralised – almost everything about culture happens in and around Athens – the impact the capital had on our work has always been important. There could have been no real alternative to that. Based in the capital has been an one-way decision for a publisher back in 1980s and that pretty much remains the same today. I can afford to work outside the capital myself and have been doing so for many years now, but the offices of the publishing house still have to be based in Athens, where everyone will be looking for us and our books, where all warehouses of the big bookstores are, where most of our authors live.
3. How has Athens changed in the past three decades and what is Athens situation at the moment, also considering the political, financial and European circumstances?
Athens has had an important facelift, along with a qualitative shift for the better of everyday life of the people living in the centre, around the Olympic Games of 2004. Up to then, it has been almost the same since the 1980s, at least as I recall it: full, loud, dirty and alive 24/7. The economic crisis in 2009 has brought people out in the streets of the centre for about three years and that resulted in shoppers losing contact with the city centre, which was more or less on fire every day. Many stores closed down, people were not scattered everywhere anymore, but concentrated in a few small districts. The last 2-3 years have been mostly calm in the centre, tourists and shoppers have returned, it seems as if we are entering a good phase, more and more streets are alive again. The financial circumstances will play an important role in the forming of the city's life in the next few years, for sure. Athens is in constant change in the last two years, I think for the better.
"I founded the platform "fairead.net" which will try to act as a fair agent for cooperation and publishing ethics and provide publishers and authors with tools and solutions for this new phase."Periklis Douvitsas
4. What is your opinion on the book market since Nefeli was founded in 1979 and how does Nefeli tackle new developments like ebooks and digital book platforms?
The book market has drastically changed since 1979. In Greece, the economic and social crisis has made things even more difficult for publishers and booksellers. Reading in Greece is unfortunately not considered by many as being a basic need. It is now clear for most of the active publishers that the combination of digital book platforms, good networking and cooperation is the only way to keep going forward. I myself founded the platform "fairead.net" which will try to act as a fair agent for cooperation and publishing ethics and provide publishers and authors with tools and solutions for this new phase. Ebooks and digital platforms will play a very central role in the near future of the book market, but the paper product will remain crucial for the sustainability of this ecosystem.
5. Where is your favourite spot in Athens and why? Your favourite location abroad?
I used to live in Thisseion for a few years, I think this is still my favourite spot. I liked going on foot or on bike early in the morning from Irakleidon Street, through Monastiraki to our offices at Asklipiou Street. Mostly pedestrian zones, literally walking through all phases of the city's history in just a few kilometres … Try that, before 8 in the morning at all seasons, when Athens slowly begins to wake up. My favourite location abroad: Berlin's Wrangelkiez, 10 years ago.