An interview with Dr. Amir Masoud Shahramnia
by Hamid Noorshamsi
Amir Masoud Shahramnia, the deputy of the Tehran International Book Fair, asserts that Iran is the less expensive and most eﬀectual destination for publishers and literary agencies to invest and present their written products and meanwhile, its special facilities for this presence and the translation of Iranian works have added to the attraction of this market more than ever.
As the deputy of the Tehran International Book Fair, tell us about the long-term plans of Iran for participation in international publication markets and please let us know what your perspective towards the future.
I think, during recent years, despite its remarkable developments in the field of content production in publication, Iran has not been much successful to introduce them in the international book markets; this is very similar to what has happened in some other fields such as sightseeing. We have lots of tourist-absorbing sights but we have not been successful to grab their interest. In my opinion, in the field of publication, we encounter the same problem. When we introduce the content of publication in fields such as children and young adults or religion and history or even in illustrations, we would not reach a favorable result in practice.
What is the reason for this lagging behind, in your idea?
Many factors may be involved here, one of the most important of which is none-joining to the Berne Convention, international boycotts, and similar issues but considering the inaugurations that have been made for Iran in the world. Taking into account in considering the change in the international views of this event, it seems that we need to make eﬀorts to introduce our capability to the world. International Book Fairs all over the world, especially Frankfurt Book Fair, are very important to us and we also have changed our approach from having a symbolic and superficial presence in the Book Fairs, especially in Frankfurt Book Fair. I think Iranian publishers should deal with these events and present themselves, of course, during the last three years this undertaking has had an increasing development.
And to what extent has this issue been fulfilled this year?
This year various Iranian publishing organizations will be in Iran’s collective stand at Frankfurt Fair and we have tried to have a national look towards this event. Besides, some of the Iranian publishers who are active in international book markets, we try to make a good interactions with the world’s publishers and also to take appropriate steps to make significant profits. We believe that we haven’t made active interactions and professional relations with the world’s publications so far, however, this important event will occur in the near future.
What will be the consideratons and focal points of the Iran’s long-term plans for partcipaton in internatonal markets?
It is planned, in a time span of two or three years, we become able to have a stronger and more professional presence in the exhibitions. I have three steps in mind for achieving this goal. The first step is comprehensive and appropriate introducing of Iran’s publication to the world. In other words, world should recognize us as a serious player in the arena of its publication. The second step is interaction and developing relationships which will take a few years. Unfortunately, we haven’t been active and proper presence in the world’s Fairs in previous years. We have made interactions with many administrations relevant to world’s publications, and, in this regard, some significant favorable contracts have been signed with some countries. Beside this issue, by approving the Grant Act for publishing Persian books in other languages by the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance and also Top Plan which is being executed by Islamic Relation and Culture Organization, we hope to observe positive events.
How much will be the awarded Grant of Iran for publicaton for Translaton of Persian works?
The amount is floating, and it will be up to 3 thousands Euro for publishing supported works and, in cases of buying books, it could be up to 1500 copies , and it is considerable in comparison with grants in other countries. Of course, we need to solve other problems beside this issue, an undertaking which is being performed. The issue of joining Berne Convention and supporting the publishers who are active in the world is also on our to-do list. We think, if a publisher is trying to publish his works in languages other than Persian, he /she should be supported. Many countries with facilities less than ours, since 10 years ago, by adopting such programs have turned in to a serious actor in the scene of world’s publication.
As a person who has partcipated in many Book Fairs around the world, what is the relatve merit of Iran’s publicaton for foreign investors, literary agencies and great publisher of the world?
I think one of them could be richness contents in Iranian books. In some subjects we enjoy remarkable contents and resources. I have repetitively observed the admirable treatment of many great publishers of the world with the products of Iran. For example at the illustration section of children Book. This isn’t accidental that we could receive many prizes at diﬀerent great European festivals every year, or in children and young adults’ literature, we have managed to translate many books and It shows our countless competencies. In other fields, such as religion and philosophy, we have a lot to say to the world and to the world of Islam, in particular, in a way that we cannot be compared with many of the developing countries and it have a great distance with their products.
The other capacity is pertinent to the Iran’s industry of publication. I think, investment on publication in Iran has a better situation than south-eastern countries of Asia, and many other events in publication also enjoy the same trait, like leather-binding, which is our profession, and regarding costs and quality, it can compete with European countries.
Finally, please tell us about the facilities and supports that you possibly prepare for the presence of none- Iranian publishers literary agencies, and authors in events relevant to publication especially in the Tehran International Book Fair.
They know they could take part in Tehran International Book Fair with a small amount of money and enjoy a great opportunity to introduce and oﬀer their works to millions of Iranian-educated people who come to the fair every year.
Those who participate in this exhibition have been pleased by the fact of being seen appropriately. Our facilities in renting the stands, cargo, and customs are remarkable and we have also included facilities for purchasing some products.