Founded in 1996, the Book City Institute’s initial goal was to launch a number of bookstores all over the metropolitan city of Tehran. Pleasant internal atmosphere and innovative marketing strategies, offers and services to customers brought an immediate success to the bookstores launched between 1997 and 1999. The aesthetics of organizational creativity, the innovative management and high standards that Book City thereby established, not only truly promoted the culture of book-reading among the population, but it also brought about a substantial increase in the volume of books that were subsequently sold. Encouraged by such gratifying start, Book City was determined to expand its retail venture in Tehran as well as in a number of major cities and towns across the country. Today, in its seventeenth year of operation, Book City oversees 37 bookstores in Tehran, including its central bookstore which is almost unrivaled in the Middle East owing to its superior qualities in every respect that is expected of a world class retail establishment, and 13 in the provinces. Thus, it manages the first and largest network of chain stores in the country. Book City Institute is a non-governmental, nonprofit organization dedicated to excellence in its respective trade. The institute’s mission, however, is not limited merely to the economic aspects of the business. Indeed, the founding body believed that in this day and age, production and dissemination of information is one of the most, if not the most, important contributions to the overall development in the global society. Consequently, they formulated a mission that included not only goals and objectives but also ideals for the management team to pursue, however much unatainable. The organization delegated the responsibilities defined in its mission statement to the following subsidiary enterprises: 1-Book City Cultural and International Center 2 Hermes Publishers Company 3- Hermes Records Company 4- Book City Import-Export Company 5- Book City Chain Stores Expansion Company In the Book City Institute, creativity is the name of the game. One ideal for the organization is to become a role model for other organizations, however much it may seem unreachable. Thus, About four years ago with the inception of global economical crisis and digital expansion and their effects on various aspects of everyday life, the Book City Institute’s managing director, along with his team of colleagues, came up with new strategies for survival in book industry – at a time when there were news indicating the insolvency of huge book chain stores. Accordingly, Mehdi Firouzan, managing director of the Book City Institute, came to the conclusion that his stores should change into cultural supermarkets in order to offer a diversity of goods to their customers. In an exclusive interview with Printed-inIran, Firouzan offers his solution to bookstores across the world: 1. All members of a family can step into the Book City and get access to their desired items, including books, stationary, music, artworks, etc. This will work especially in countries where family members are used to spend time and shop together and therefore have a memorable shopping experience together. 2. We have caused more dialogues within family members who were losing contact. Now a child, for example, can ask his father who Antoine de Saint-Exupéry was, and his father or brother may respond differently. All such conversations take place in the Book City’s café, involving all family members in a joyful interaction. 3. Besides conventional books, we also offer eBooks. And digital tools are sold along with traditional stationary. 4. Cultural supermarkets that are capable of atracting all social layers and individuals provide an opportunity for the presentation of nonmaterial objects. Hence, unveiling sessions for recent publications, meetings with writers, translators and filmmakers, and film and book criticisms are other activities covered in such places by simply changing the order of tables and chairs in Book Cafés and making them suitable for a cultural session. 5. “Thought Production” has been another strategy for atracting audiences. The book unveiling sessions, in spite of heavy traffic and general fatigue of afterwork rush hours, hit a success as many audiences spend a few hours to see a new book and their favorite writers with pleasure. Production of thought is usually carried out through introduction of new books, book criticism, and familiarizing the audiences with the principles of dialectics and reception of both negative and affirmative opinions. The audiences will then enter into a group activity to the achievement of an experiential or practical conclusion not as passive listeners but as dynamic members of a thought group. As a result of these achievements the Book City Institute has not only been saved from loss, but also been able to issue weekly licenses for more Book City branches in other towns and cities across the country. This could be an applicable model for other countries interested in preserving their cultural agents. hopeful of a more promising future, the Institute moves on.

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