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A look back at the talk and how it is with the “Academia”

On 5.9.2017 we organized a discussion with Mr. Jiří Padevet, historian, writer and director of the Academia publishing house. We liked the event and we will definitely repeat it in time. We bring you three topics: who is Jiří Padevět. Next, we will tell you how the Academia publishing house works, where it belongs organizationally and we will add the best-selling books. The last one: how it is with investing in “books”. A pleasant reading.

Jiří Padevět

(Source: Wikipedia)
Born in 1966. After graduating from the Secondary Industrial School of Surveying, he studied Faculty of Education at Charles University in Prague. In 1988, he started working as a bookseller, and since 2004 he has also worked as a publisher. He is currently the director of the Academia publishing house. Under his leadership, the publishing house’s books have won numerous awards – the Magnesia Litera, the Josef Jungmann Prize, the Slovník of the Year, Josef Hlávka Award, Miroslav Ivanov Award, etc.

Jiří Padevět has extensively mapped the Protectorate and post-war history in the Czech lands, among others in books such as Guide to Protectorate Prague (for which he received the Magnesia Litera),[1] The Bloody Finale: Spring 1945 in Czech lands, and The Bloody Summer of 1945: post-war violence in the Czech lands. He has also published in journals Analogon, Memory and History and others. In 2016, a book of interviews with Jiří Padevet was published by Luďek Staňek’s Under the Weight of History. He is currently preparing a publication entitled Guide to Stalinist Prague.


  • Travels with Karel Hynek Mácha: A Guide. Academia, Prague 2010.
  • Guide to Protectorate Prague: places – events – people. Academia, Prague 2013. 2014 Magnesia Litera Book of the Year + ML Documentary Literature of the Year and Dictionary of the Year
  • Notes on History. Pulchra, Prague 2013.
  • Death Marches and Transports. Centre for Joint Activities of the CAS, Prague 2013.
  • Bloody Finale: Spring 1945 in the Czech lands. Academia, Prague 2015.[2]
  • Shards of Time, Landscapes, Conspiracies – The Found Diary. Pulchra, Prague 2015.
  • Topography of Terror. Centre for Joint Activities of the CAS, Prague 2015.
  • Violent states and bystander states. In: The Nature of Change (2015).
  • Returning from the heart of darkness. In: Chapters in the Geology of the Soul (2015)
  • Anthropoid (with Pavel Šmejkal). Academia, Prague 2016.
  • The bloody summer of 1945: post-war violence in the Czech lands. Czechoslovakia, Prague 2016.
  • Lezaks and resistance in East Bohemia (with Vojtěch Kyncl). Academia, Prague 2016.
  • The Science of Life: interviews with Professor Jiří Drahoš. Academia, Prague 2017.
  • A Touch of Anthropoid. Academia, Prague 2017.
  • Three Kings. Resistance activities of the legendary group and the transmitting sites of the Sparta I and Sparta radio stations
  • II. Academia, Prague 2017.
  • The Science of Life. Interviews with Jiří Drahoš. Academia, Prague 2017.

Centre for Joint Activities of the CAS, v. v. i.

Academia Publishing House

MERK: 300-500 million (2015), 250-500 employees

The publishing house was originally established in 1953 as the publishing house of the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences. Name Academia since 1966.

Today, Academia is the leading publishing house in the Czech Republic with its editorial activities.
Czech Republic. Its editorial programme focuses on publications in all fields of science.
Academia publishes original scientific monographs and works of Czech scientists, works of classics of science, translations foreign authors, popular science literature, non-fiction, encyclopedias, dictionaries, language textbooks, manuals and university textbooks, as well as high-quality Czech fiction and fiction in translation. V publishing house also publishes the popular science magazine Živa. In addition to publishing, Academia operates a network of bookstores in Prague, Brno and Ostrava.

The traditional target group of Academia’s production consists of university students, teachers and professional public. In recent years, the number of lay people interested in popular science and art literature. All publications are renowned for their professional processing – careful editorial preparation and high-quality graphic and print design. They thus meet the requirements of all demanding customers.

Editorial plan 2017-2018, 21 editions, 146 pages , available for download on the website:
1938 – 1953 , 21st Century, Atlases, Czech Modern History, The Work of J. A. Comenius, E-books, Episteme, Europa, Film Series, Galileo, Gerstner, History, Judaica, Beautiful Literature, Linguistics, Literary Series, Beyond the Humanities, Beyond the Natural Sciences, Possible Worlds, Modern Times, Orient, Memory, Sources for History of Czech Literary History, Law – Ethics – Society, Overviews, Guide, First
Republic, Psychology, Festive Lectures, Writings of Ivan Klíma, Writings of Jakub Demel, Writings of Stanislav Komárek, Writings of Vladimír Macura, Writings of Záviš Kalandra, Society, Student Theses, Happy Tomorrows, Theatrum neolatinum, Art, Urbanism, v. v. i., Visual Studies, Living and Inanimate Nature, Zoological Keys.

Mr. Padevet’s recommendations on the investment side of the book business?

Don’t invest in publishing conventional books. It’s mostly a losing proposition. Grants and subsidies or other funding are needed. There is less reading today than there used to be. Men read nonfiction, women mostly read fiction. Academia publishes over 100 titles a year, some with print runs of 200-300 or 800 copies, and they are sold only in its own bookstores, outside of mainstream distribution. But only from 2,500 copies onwards is it worthwhile. Readers in the Czech Republic are usually willing to pay 1 CZK for 1 page and cannot distinguish whether a book is edited, illustrated, specialized or just a paperback copy that has not been edited. Books are sold only in big cities, most are sold in Prague. Other regions are more like a shop window for an e-shop. E-book sales do not work at all. After publication, usually within a week someone breaks the protection and then the “book” is just copied.

If you invest, invest in a bookstore: all the books are on consignment, i.e. the bookseller pays the distribution back to the publisher within a month, who then gets an invoice from the publisher within a month…and the publisher gets half of the price in the end, half goes to the store and distribution. Of course, it costs a lot to produce, prepare,… so the poor author only gets a few tens of coins out of a book worth several hundred.

Conclusion (for VCZS): it seems that if we invest in books, it is to make ourselves happy and to learn something – leaving aside special cases. After all, education is the best investment. Thanks for the nice talk and we look forward to the next time.

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