Under the pressure of Exmo, another once independent portal has fallen, now a pink…
The co-owner of Eksmo-AST bought more than half of the Litnet service, Oleg Novikov got 51% in the samizdat service. Russia’s largest publishing group, Exmo-AST, includes Eksmo, AST, Mann, Ivanov and Ferber and others, Litres Group and so on. Oleg Novikov, co-owner of Eksmo-AST, acquired 51% of the Litnet samizdat service, the deal participants told Vedomosti. Oleg Novikov will be an independent investor, while the existing Litnet team will retain full operational control. The current CEO and 76% owner of Litnet LLC is Boris Makarenkov, former CEO of Storytel, a Swedish audiobook service and shareholder of T8 Publishing Technologies Holding, according to SPARK-Interfax. LLC was registered in June 2022. Maxim Basov and Andris Kibilds own the remaining 24% in the LLC in equal shares. After the deal with Novikov, Kibilds went out of business, the stakes of the other co-owners will decrease. Novikov and Makarenkov did not disclose the amount of the deal. The deal to buy 51% of Litnet – Oleg Novikov explained that the deal was a long-term investment in support of national authors. Due to the reduction of foreign novelties in Russia, the group has focused on the work with the national authors, including the development of samizdat as one of the priorities. Liters: Samizdat (a member of the Litres Group) has a total of about 35,000 authors.
The authors of samizdat will move into the category of those whom we will publish on paper. There are already a number of successful cases. For example, Medina Mirai, who started writing books at the age of 13, started posting her work on Wattpad at 17. And now she is already in the top 5 most prolific young authors publishing AST, the combined circulation of her books in paper is approaching 500 thousand. Oleg Novikov, co-owner of “Exmo-AST
Additional investments will help Litnet move forward more actively, maintaining traffic growth against the backdrop of digital development, said Boris Makarenkov. According to him, the service will focus on development in 2023 in order to further develop the segment of independent authors. The growth of digital authors’ sales exceeds the growth of the digital book market, said Sergei Anuriev, General Director of the Litres Group. For example, according to Litres, the samizdat segment in 2022 grew by 10%, while the entire market for digital books in this period showed zero growth and amounted to 11 billion ₽. Samizdat is currently one of the key drivers of the digital book market not only in Russia, but also in the U.S., Asia and other markets, said Yevgenia Rykalova, head of Stroki (owned by MTS). Samizdat is a part of new publishing business which is just being formed, said Boris Kuznetsov, director of Rosmen publishing house. According to him, there is already an evident trend that the public is beginning to spend more time reading samizdat instead of paper books or the usual digital books.
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