Page 47 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 41

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OHN/JEWISH PUBLISHING IN-FRANCK
41
hilosophy, and books on Israel, with fiction in last place. Various
xplanations can be o ffered to explain this almost reverse o rd e r
f p reference in publication trends in America.
Interests are obviously d ifferen t in France and the USA. His­
orical research flourishes in France, but the wider audience is not
articularly interested in reading its findings. I believe tha t fic­
ion and books on Israel reach the larger audience, which is not
xclusively Jewish. L itera ture oriented readers also read fiction
y French and Jewish writers. Events in the Middle East spu r curi­
sity for Israel related works.
Ano ther factor is tha t American Jews play a significant role in
ublishing as buyers and readers o f books generally, not only o f
udaica. Estimates o f sales to Jewish readers range between forty
o seventy per cent o f the totals. Books o f Jewish interest can aim
t this potential audience, allowing for a wider production. In
rance, books aimed solely at a Jewish audience could not be
anufactured with profit, although it can be assumed tha t a
igher percentage o f Jews buy books o f Jewish interest. Except
or almost clandestine editions o f rabbinic works, no publisher
rints Jewish books exclusively. Jewish publishing in France has
o rely on the major publishers.
UBLISHING SCENE
Over four hund red publishers are registered in France, most
f them in Paris. T he ir scope varies from a few extremely huge
orporations to a multitude o f small ones. In 1979, sixteen pub ­
shers produced no new titles, sixty produced no more than five,
nd only twenty-eight major companies issued more than two
und red . Seventeen o f these accounted for more than half o f the
rofits o f the sector. Regarding Jewish publishing, a distinction
hould be made between companies publishing titles on Jewish
pics that are not part o f any series and those that publish
da ica series.
Hachette is by far the largest publisher and marketer o f books
France. It is a holding company, interested in various types of
ass-media communication, books, newspapers, videotapes, etc.
achette distributes also the books o f o the r publishers from a
odern center ju s t west o f Paris. Its publications on Jewish
emes are conspicuously few: A couple o f books o f popu lar