• March 10, 2015
  • 195

“Contact with Polish word” – new online bookstore from Lithuania.

They have been operating on the market for over a 15 years now. They made their first steps while being exhausted with the political transformation; the citizens of Eišiškės were finding themselves in the new political-economic reality. The bookstore in Eišiškės was the first indicator of normality. Today an online bookstore was opened.

“The unemployment and chaos of the 90s’ were so severe, due to the recession, that it lead to closing the bookstore. We have always been able to use Polish, Russian and Lithuanian newspapers and literature. We were told to seek comfort and hope in the contact with culture. One generally seeks this contact in books, that is why we considered it an “end of the world”. That is also why, when there was an opportunity, we decided to open a bookstore” – told zw.lt the owner Lucyna Jundo.

Selling online gives more opportunities

The idea was good. Jundo family have been running the local bookstore in Eišiškės for over a decade. Poles constitute the majority of the population of the area of Eišiškės. Due to the client needs the bookstore expanded their offer and started selling office supplies, board games, and toys, mainly in Polish. The number of citizens and the demand always determine the product range. Therefore, after years of experience in dealing with the individual clients, the booksellers decided to establish an online bookstore. Another Polish online bookstore from the Vilnius region – www.e-ksiegarnia.lt – started operating today.

“Selling online gives more opportunities not only in getting to the client but also in expanding the product range” – said the owners. “We always wanted to have an ambitious offer. Finally, besides the basic products, we can also offer exclusive and beautiful positions from the children’s literature. For instance the wonderful edition of “Pinocchio” illustrated by a painter Roberto Innocenti. We want to enable access to valuable literature to the Polish children in Lithuania. Therefore, we included the following classics into our offer: “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” by Mark Twain and “Karlsson-on-the-roof” by Astrid Lindgren. Of course, we also offer the books of contemporary bestselling authors of children’s literature, e.g. Grzegorz Kasdepke” – explained Jundo.

Individual work with teachers

The experience on the market is the strength of the company. The cooperation with schools and kindergartens heavily influenced the product range. As a result, e-ksiegarnia.lt offered special sections for teachers and speech therapists.

“We always worked individually with our teachers. This knowledge is the basis for our online offer. We have been cooperating with Polish publishing companies and educational bookstores for years. Of course, we are still open to suggestions and we will be glad to satisfy our clients and order the books they request” – declared the owners.

There is a separate section for toys in the online branch of the bookstore. The section includes board games, puzzle, dolls speaking Polish, and other interactive toys. These are at the same time educational aids that develop the imagination and creative thinking of children as well as their vocabulary.

Contact with Polish word

The bookstore was first located in the hall of the Polish House in Eišiškės where the owners linked business with the social activity. Those two elements have been present in the Jundo family for 15 years. Few years ago Lucyna Jundo initiated the foundation of the Caritas (transl. note: charitable organization) department in Eišiškės. Jundo family have been struggling to gain sponsors and funds for helping the poor of the Šalčininkai district for years. The bookstore that never got its own premises is very important for the cultural life of the region.

“We really wanted to enable the citizens of Eišiškės the regular contact with books and especially Polish literature. If we look at it from a wider perspective one can notice that the market of printed books is getting smaller and smaller. The level of readership is also in constant decrease that is why the world is trying to introduce statutes protecting books as cultural goods. The example of such protection is the reduced value added tax. It is applied in 26 member states of the EU. Not many people know that in the UK and Ireland the VAT on books is 0%! In Poland VAT on books equals 5%, whereas in Lithuania 9%. Together with the costs of transporting books from Poland it adds to the price of the product” – explained zw.lt Barbara Jundo-Kaliszewska, the daughter of the Jundos, currently living in Łódź.

Currently the booksellers from Eišiškės concentrate on developing the online offer of www.e-ksiegarnia.lt. “We have been thinking about opening an online bookstore for years. We have finally decided to try and we will be very glad for all the help to our initiative. The regular customers can expect discounts and free deliveries” – promised the owners.

Translated by Damian Gabryś within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.

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