Publishing Holding

A good book is always a good a book

Líra Könyv Zrt. (Líra Books Corporation) is committed to the highest standards in book publishing and sales. Modern technological achievements continue to perpetuate the expansion and impact of the Gutenberg Galaxy. Historically, the written word has developed simultaneously with the gradual progress from agricultural to industrial and consumer societies. As literacy spread, books became everyday articles of consumption. This growth trend will certainly continue to increase in our knowledge-based society. It is good to read. Newspapers, e-mails and confidential documents may be useful to read. Reading books, however, is not only useful, but also edifying.

The publishing houses that belong to Líra publish good, beautiful, readable and recommendable books. Magvető Kiadó (“Magvető Publishing”) is perhaps the most important publisher, representing the great works of contemporary Hungarian literature. In operation for 50 years now, Corvina Kiadó exudes quality through its excellent art albums, foreign language and travel publications. Athenaeum Kiadó is reviving a 150-year-old tradition, which was suspended fifty years ago, by launching a series of popular science publications and high-quality, translated bestsellers. Rózsavölgyi and Co. have been well respected in music and audio publishing and trade in Hungary and the rest of Europe since 1852.

The retail bookstores of Líra Könyv offer a vast selection at more than 70 locations throughout the country. Our retail stores stock 35,000 different book titles, 20,000 CD, DVD, video and CD-ROMs and sheet music for 130,000 different compositions. Our customers can place orders via our online bookstore or they can order a book that is not available in their local shop and we will deliver it within 72 hours. Our customers can feel at home in our shops.

Líra’s greatest asset is its excellent and well-trained staff. Our publishing house colleagues are among the best in their profession. We employ retail store associates able to serve our customers as comprehensively as a professional librarian could. As one of the market leaders in the Hungarian book industry, we are determined to be the very best rather than the biggest.

Dr. Tamás Kolosi
Chairman-CEO

The Líra Books Corporation

Líra Könyv Zrt. was established in 1993 by way of transformation from the state-owned company that emerged from the remains of the state-governed book distribution system. The early years were fraught with crises brought on by the former state monopolies and the book industry as a whole. Fortunately, a year later, this company became the first large firm in the industry to be offered up for privatisation. In 1994, following a multi-round tender procedure, a consortium of publishing houses, all established after the 1989 Changes in Hungary purchased the network comprised of a wholesale outlet and 16 retail shops. After a series of acquisitions, the newly formed consortium came under the control of Láng Publishing House and Holding. At this time the modernisation of the retail network was underway. We were the first in the book trade to introduce a computerised goods tracking system. We converted storage spaces and cellars to retail shop space, started renovation in our outlets and, wherever it was possible, we purchased the premises.

The owners decided to transform the Holding in 1999, and the book companies owned by the Kolosi family parted from the Holding. Líra then started on a path of renewed growth and soon became a dominant player on the Hungarian book market. Our retail network has grown substantially with newly opened and acquired shops. With the support of the Széchenyi Plan, we have introduced and are improving the largest franchise system in the industry. In addition to our traditional bookshops, we have opened stores in major shopping malls as well. We were the first to launch an online bookselling outlet. We re-introduced the traditional publishing operations of Rózsavölgyi and Co. The publisher joined the two existing music shops reuniting the Rózsavölgyi and Co. that was originally founded in 1852. We joined to purchase the prestigious Corvina Kiadó.

In 2003, together with Librotrade, we purchased the property that houses the company headquarters. In timely response to consolidation trends in the book industry, in August 2003 we launched the most modern book wholesale outlet in Hungary.

We are especially proud of the numerous prestigious awards that our authors and Group members have earned. In 2002 Imre Kertész became the first Hungarian to be awarded the Nobel Prize for literature. Magvető has published his works since the nineteen-nineties. The prestigious annual Hungarian Literature Prize has been awarded to Magvető authors: Péter Esterházy in 2000, Ádám Bodor and István Szilágyi in 2001, Zsuzsa Rakovszky in 2002 and Lajos Parti Nagy in 2003. In 2006, György Spiró received the Aegon Art Prize (which has replaced the annual Hungarian Literature Prize).

A book by László Darvasi and Dániel Varró was awarded children’s book of the year. The Budapest Grand Prize was awarded to Imre Kertész in 1997, to Lawrence Norfolk, an author at Athenaeum, in 2002, and to Paolo Coelho, an author at Athenaeum too, in 2005. Magvető Kiadó became Publisher of the Year in 2003 and in 2006 following many successful years as first runner up. As for Líra, it has secured a second place award and two third place awards in the annual contests for the title Bookseller of the Year. Several of our authors have been awarded the Kossuth Prize, the highest state level acknowledgement of achievement in Hungary, and other prestigious awards from the state for service to the arts. Over the last four years, four of our colleagues were honoured by the state for their achievements in the arts. The art albums by Corvina Kiadó and Magvető’s belles lettres publications have won the competition for the title of Fine Hungarian Book several times.

Líra Könyv places great importance on providing its customers with the best possible service. We attend at all prestigious book fairs and industry related events. We were the first in the book trade to devote a member of our staff to press relations. Our advertisements are running regularly on radio stations, in daily papers and in literary journals. We publish a monthly magazine that is circulated in all of our bookshops.

Líra also boasts dynamic growth in business and finances. Consolidated net sales revenue has been tripled over the last five years, while in 2009 we plan to close with HUF 10 billion.

Líra Könyv is one of the most flourishing companies in the Hungarian book trade. Our HUF 5 billion turnover accounts for a market share of 10%. Besides our dynamically growing chain of shops, we are a market leader as a book wholesaler and in music sales. Our in-store sales activity is perfectly complemented by our online retail and wholesale endeavours as well as our direct mail club system. In 2005, our publishers produced net sales revenue of more than HUF 2 billion. Taking into account both turnover and the release of 250 titles per year, we are one of the five biggest publishing groups.

Publisher profile

Líra’s publishers constitute a significant part of the Hungarian language book trade. Magvető and Corvina Kiadó continue a 50-year-old tradition, while Athenaeum Kiadó and Rózsavölgyi and Co. have a 150-year-old history. These brands are well known and respected by the Hungarian consumer.

Magvető Kiadó

Magvető Kiadó has become synonymous with sophisticated books and literature, and the publication of great moments of the culture of human language. In addition to publishing the works of Hungary’s Nobel Prize winner, Imre Kertész, Magvető publishes the works of great and influential writers such as Pál Závada, Péter Esterházy, György Spiró, Ádám Bodor, Zsuzsa Rakovszky, Lajos Parti Nagy, István Szilágyi, Ádám Nádasdy, László Krasznahorkai and László Bertók. Magvető also publishes the works of the next generation of great writers including the poems and novels of László Darvasi, György Dragomán, Mari Falcsik, Krisztián Grecsó, Tamás Jónás, Krisztina Tóth, Dániel Varró, Ferenc Barnás, Attila Bartis, Éva Bánki, Éva Bernicky, Anna Szabó T. Being published by Magvető is a prestigious honour for Hungarian authors. The works of contemporary writers such as Péter Esterházy, György Spiró, Pál Závada and Zsuzsa Rakovszky are regularly included in the top lists of many literary circles, and they sell tens of thousands of copies. Imre Kertész’ novel, Fateless, has sold more copies than any other book in recent Hungarian history.

As for Hungarian classics, we continue to publish the oeuvre series of Géza Csáth, Ottó Orbán, György Petri, Miklós Szentkuthy, Géza Ottlik, György Kardos G., Sándor Lénárd and Antal Szerb. Since the 1960s, we have published two annual compilations: Panorama (Körkép) and Fine Poetry (Szép versek) for the Book Week Festival, carefully editing into single volumes the best works of literature from the preceding year. We are reviving the annual compilation, Rivalda that includes the best dramas of the year. We also publish remarkable essay collections from authors such as Péter György, András Nagy and György Poszler.

While our main profile is the publication of contemporary Hungarian poetry and prose, we could call Gabriel García Márquez, Michel Houellebecq, Ludmila Ulitskaya, Anna Gavalda, Juan Marsé or Terezia Mora “resident authors”. In 2004 we began publishing classics of world literature in our White Crow Books – Magvető Classics series. These include the various works of Faulkner, Maupassant, Turgenev, Goethe, Lawrence, Stanislaw Lem, Steinbeck, Chekhov, Dickens, Alain-Fournier, Heinrich Mann, Ajar, Flaubert, Nabokov, Dreiser. We believe that these works should be on the bookshelves of every well-informed family – however, they have long been unavailable in bookshops, sometimes even in second-hand ones.

Athenaeum Kiadó

The Athenaeum Literary and Printing Co. was established in 1868, and evidenced itself as one of the most august publishers in Hungary between the two world wars. We re-founded the publishing house in 1998, reviving the name Athenaeum, which we later modified to Athenaeum 2000 in October 1999. Our main profile includes popular science and literary works, aimed at the widest reading public.

The majority of our literary volumes represent world literature. We have exclusive rights to the works of Paulo Coelho, one of the most popular authors of our time, whose books are increasingly sought after by the Hungarian reading public. Coelho’s novel The Alchemist, had already sold more than one hundred thousand copies when in 2005, the author was awarded the Budapest Grand Prize, his book sales increased to two hundred and fifty thousand copies. We publish several other world famous authors in Hungarian including: Tom Wolfe, Pedro Juan Gutierrez, László Passuth, Sarah Dunant, Anita Diamant, Frank Schätzing, Gaby Hauptmann, and Lawrence Norfolk, last year’s recipient of the Budapest Grand Prize.

In selecting our popular science books, we focus on books, manuals, lexicons and encyclopaedias with a potential wide appeal, many of them discussing subjects that generic encyclopaedias barely touch upon. We give preference to richly illustrated books. Publishing various book series’ is a central concept of our policy. We recommend the Lyceum series for students, as these books serve as useful study aids and broaden general knowledge. The Atlas series summarises various scientific areas and Secrets of Universes contains volumes by Hungarian and foreign authors that discuss the world we inhabit in the widest possible sense.

Our encyclopaedias give comprehensive introductions to specific scientific fields; the Magical… series of picture books, acquired from Avanta Publishing of Moscow discuss the connections between nature and cultural history; and the volumes in the Human FactorGuide to Getting It On! address special questions of the private sphere. The so-called “Seventy” series showcases examples from all over the world including 70 architectural wonders, 70 mysteries, 70 magnificent buildings and constructions, 70 wonders of ancient Egypt, 70 inventions and 70 big battles. series, among them the successful.

One of our largest ventures is the presentation of the flora of the world in two huge tomes, and our publications dealing with the history of technology are also popular.

We are open to any new fields. We are proud to count perhaps the most well-known protocol consultant in Hungary, Ibolya Görög among our authors. Our publishing house embraces 20th century theatre and film history and we have a series of monographs by Tibor Bános on the great personalities of Hungarian film and cabaret. In addition to the works of Jane Goodall and Attila Bánó, our newest project is the joint publication of a series with the Hungarian political-cultural weekly paper, Magyar Narancs.

Corvina Kiadó

The legal predecessor of the Company was formed in December 1954 and named Corvina Arts and Foreign Language Publishing Company. Our publishing house soon earned a reputation within and outside Hungary as one of the largest art publishers in the region. We pioneered the international cooperation, producing multi-language art books for several markets. From the beginning, we tried to capitalise on the advantages offered by the multiplicity of languages, therefore several of our books were published simultaneously in English, German, French, Russian, Polish etc. One of the best examples is Jenő Barcsay’s classic entitled Anatomy for the Artist, which has been published in twelve languages and continues to be printed today, in Hungarian and foreign languages alike. Our publishing house was also the first to publish many classical works on the art history and thereby laid the foundations for art publishing in Hungarian. Our efforts have made great Hungarian artists like Csontváry, Munkácsy, Rippl-Rónai, Benczúr, Markó, Szinyei, Ferenczy and Egry. Styles and eras, our albums of Hungarian art (Masterpieces of Hungarian painting, Zsolnay: Book of collectors), and the forthcoming universal art history series, to be published in 16 volumes, will complete Corvina’s art profile well known in English, German and French markets through our albums that grace the shelves of European libraries and homes numbering in the thousands. The popular series entitled.

We are also committed to popularising classical and contemporary works of Hungarian literature in foreign languages. A fruit of this effort is that Die Sterne von Eger or The Paul Street Boys are almost as popular as their originals in Hungarian. Also worth noting is Sándor Petőfi, whose selected poems are always available on retail bookshelves in German. Corvina Kiadó has published illustrated, bilingual editions of The Tragedy of Man and John the Valiant in English-Hungarian and German-Hungarian in a newly launched enterprise. In the same venture, our bilingual series of classical poetry includes an anthology of the finest Hungarian poems including poems by Attila József and Miklós Radnóti. Our foreign-language publications include many works about Hungarian history. These works are published in multiple languages including German, English and French and play an important role in forming Hungary’s image.

Corvina Kiadó’s traditional profile also includes tourist publications. These range from colourful albums, specifically focused booklet-form publications and narrative travel guides about Hungary, its various regions and cities and available in several languages. Our publishing house acquired the rights to the Marco Polo travel guides, which offer a practical layout and attached maps to help travellers in numerous places all over the world. Tourism-oriented publications also include numerous books on Hungarian cuisine, including the most successful: Gundel’s Hungarian Cookbook. Foreign visitors to Hungary have been buying this little book for its attractive design. Our resident author, Julia Frank plays a significant role in keeping our cookbook selection up to date.
As its fourth profile, Corvina publishes popular science books in the fields of history, politics (Factum Books, Corvina Knowledge Store), and in addition to the encyclopaedias, our new project is to publish rarities from the history of Eastern culture.

Our course books for secondary schools feature the “Final Examination Series”, a series that has become very popular very quickly. Secondary school teachers author this series of books for students preparing for their final examinations. Our English and German language textbooks are intended mainly for secondary school students and adults preparing for foreign language exams. They focus on the needs of Hungarian-speaking students unlike books by foreign publishers. Our foreign language exam preparation books are competitive with those of foreign publishers on price and quality.

General Press Könyvkiadó

General Press has been a fixture of the Hungarian publishing scene for some twenty-five years. The aim of our publishing house has always been to satisfy the needs and demands of our readers and at the same time ensure that we continue to meet the very high standards we have set for ourselves over the past two decades of publishing fiction, light reading, popular non-fiction, school text books and children's books. Our recently launched series of Historical Novels has brought enormous success.

Our Bestseller Series incorporates international blockbusters from popular authors including Linwood Barclay, Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child, Jonathan Kellerman, and Stephen White. We are proud to have published over 200 books of the series which indicates its popularity.

Since 2015 we have been publishing Lee Child's novels in a new format marked by the author's series. Jeffrey Archer's books have enjoyed a spectacular popularity all around the world. For the past few years our publishing house has been dedicating a new, modern series to re-publish the author's most successful novels in a new format. Since 2009 we have been presenting Nicholas Sparks' touching stories, which are hugely successful all over the world, in a renewed form.

The series of Historical Novels we started in 2009 includes exciting, fascinating stories based on historical events and facts. We shall be publishing new titles by our successful authors, Brigitte Riebe, Andrea Schacht and Anya Seton, and we would like to recommend other breathtaking novels by Jennifer Chiaverini, Sarah Lark and Iny Lorentz.

The Romantic Novels Series offers novels rich with passion and by some of the most successful and widely-read American authors. Our series shall see the addition of new authors this year as well. Fans of Catherine Anderson, Mary Jo Putney, Sabrina Jeffries, Eloisa James and Elizabeth Hoyt are now being introduced to works by Monica McCarty and Anna Randol.

Manó Books

The 11th Budapest International Book Festival saw the birth of Manó Books. We have published books that double as reading material and toys for children aged from 0 to 6. Our primary goal is to introduce children to the world of books before going to school.

Rózsavölgyi and Co.

Rózsavölgyi and Co. was founded in 1850 by Gyula Rózsavölgyi (son of composer Márk Rózsavölgyi, “the father of the czardash”) and Norbert Grinzweil as the firm’s silent partner.

The firm was nationalised in 1949 and the “double life” of the Rózsavölgyi began as its publishing and sales activities were divided. The brand Rózsavölgyi was kept only in its retail business. After privatisation we rejoined Rózsavölgyi and Co.’s retail music sales and publishing activities setting the goal of continuing the traditionally wide range of activities of the company.

Understanding that the market for books on music is relatively limited, we focus on satisfying the needs of music lovers with educative books and illustrated publications.

Our series of Erkel’s works, launched in 2002 (Bánk bán, Bátori Mária, to be followed by Hunyadi László), is one of the gems of our sheet music publication repertoire. Most of our sheet music is published with students of music in mind and includes classroom sheet music and performance pieces. In addition to our chamber music publications, we also publish the works of living composers.

We have a substantial Nostalgia series comprised of sheet music for works by popular classical Hungarian composers (Béla Zerkovitz, Mihály Eisemann, Szabolcs Fényes, Jenő Horváth, Károly De Fries, Alfréd Márkus, Rezső Seress, Gábor Presser) and CD’s and DVD’s of famous performers.

Book trade

Líra offers a complete selection of books and music in the industry. We operate a chain of more than seventy bookshops, an online bookstore and a mail-order book club. Our wholesale unit supplies not only our own bookshops and franchise bookshops but also a large number of bookstores outside the Group. It distributes the publications of our publishing houses, as well.

The Líra Bookshops

Traditionally, our company has been active in the retail sale of books. The retail outlets in our countrywide network invite customers to browse books on science, literature, the creative arts and education. We offer an exhaustive selection of valuable publications.

To meet our customers’ demands and expectations, our shops complement their extensive offer of books, CD’s, DVD’s, audio books, videos, and sheet music with complementary articles such as postcards, artists’ portraits, posters, prints, wrapping paper, software, CD-ROM-s, computer supplies, magazines and professional journals. Our nation-wide retail network sells the entire range of goods (books, audio, sheet music and magazines) available from our company.

We have been renovating and extending our chain of bookshops over the past few years. Coinciding with the modernisation of our brand image in 2001, our bookstores have taken on the new image of Líra during renovation, which has resulted in a network of retailers with a unified image that fits in with the specific features of the given shop. During the conversions, we ensured that the new layout would help customers find the books they need as well as the novelties and bestsellers. Many of our shops now have comfortable reading corners, Internet access and children’s areas.

We introduced a loyalty programme in 2003 and offer loyalty cardholders a 7% discount. Booklovers often buy our gift vouchers, available in four denominations and redeemable any of our more than seventy shops throughout the country. We broke ground in Hungary when we introduced our campaign called 72 hours. This means that if a customer cannot find a book in one of our shops, then we will find it for them within 72 hours, provided that they order it and that the book is available on the Hungarian market. Books published outside of Hungary can be obtained in two weeks. We lay great emphasis on ensuring that customers find well-prepared professionals awaiting them in our shops, which has been one of the reasons why several members of our network have been awarded the Hermes Prize.

The huge Fókusz Bookstores can be found in Budapest and in the other four large university cities of Debrecen, Pécs, Miskolc and Szeged. The complete range of goods of Fókusz can be bought on the Fókusz Online Virtual Bookstore (www.fo.hu), the foremost online bookstore in Hungary. We have recently started to open big stores in shopping malls as well.

We have bookshops that specialise in technical publications in Budapest and centres for textbook and course book outlets in Budapest, Miskolc, Szeged, Debrecen, and Pécs. These deliver a textbook supply for schools and offer other books for sale during the school year.

We also publish a catalogue for our “Líra Book Club” six times a year. Seventy- thousand copies are distributed and they offers mail-order and special discount to our costumers.

Líra Könyv Zrt. began building its franchise network in 2001 relying on its existing network of family bookshops. In addition to our fifty-two shops, we now have twenty-one franchise shops, making our bookseller network the largest in the country.

Our partners use the name, logo and image of Líra; they take part in centralised marketing promotions of the network accepting and selling the Líra book voucher; their customers can join the Líra loyalty programme or enjoy the advantages of our service called 72 hours. Franchise shops are also connected to our computerised information system allowing them to order goods on consignment, receive new items regularly and place orders via the Internet. Our partners also value the professional support extended to them by our Head Office, which assists them at start-up as well as during their day-to-day operations. We continue to develop this system with the help of our partners and while relying on our shared experiences. The satisfaction of our franchisees is evidenced by the fact that many of our partners have opened several more Líra franchise shops since their first such enterprise.

Rózsavölgyi and Co. can boast two music shops. Hungary’s oldest music shop, Rózsavölgyi, is situated in the hub of Budapest’s historic city centre, on Szervita Square. The shop moved to its present location in 1912, and since then it has become the greatest music-seller’s shop in Central Europe, specialising in sheet music, books about music and other audio media. The shop is famous for its selection of 160,000 pieces of music. Rózsavölgyi is in contact with all of the sheet music and audio publishers of the world. The shop also offers a wide range of CDs, DVDs and VHS tapes of classical music performances. In the Rózsavölgyi Ticket Office, located inside the shop, one can purchase tickets to any and all classical music or theatre events in Hungary. The boutique in the basement houses a selection of easy listeneing, videos, a wide range of pop, rock, jazz and folk music as well as fairy tales. The book department on the first floor offers a wide range of foreign language books for tourists.

Also referred to as the ”Little Rózsavölgyi”, the Zoltán Kodály Sheet Music and Instruments Shop and Second-Hand Bookshop is a repository of musical rarities. The shop offers new and used sheet music alike. These include precious first editions and truly valuable antiques as well. The shop is the largest one in Hungary to specialise in teaching music. Audio media include rare recordings for lovers of old 78’s as well as microdisks, cassettes and CDs. Its range of instruments makes the shop’s selection complete. The whole range of sheet music can be ordered through the online store, www.rozsavolgyi.hu.

Líra Book Club

We organize the Líra Book Club based on the experiences gained in various up-to-date forms of trade (i.e. internet, DM, catalogue sales, club-systems and the loyalty program). Our journal, Líra Book Club Magazine (Líra Könyvklub Magazin), combines the features of literary (bibliographical) magazines and book catalogues. Our club members can receive the journal via mail or with the help of our agent network and our costumers can obtain it in our bookshops free of charge. The reduced price club selection is available for two months and can be ordered by mail, phone, fax, or through our online bookshop or our agent network.

Líra wholesaler of books

In the summer of 2003 Líra opened the largest book wholesaler in the country. It is located in Dankó Street, in the 8th district of Budapest near the city centre. We moved our Head Office there along with our sales organisation.

In addition to the traditional wholesale function, our wholesaler serves Líra’s own bookshops, franchise shops and extends distribution services to our own publishing houses as well as other publishers with which we have exclusivity contracts. The 1,400 square metre hall and the adjoining 1,000 square metre supporting warehouse are equipped with modern shelving systems and machinery (forklifts and vehicles) that allow fast and efficient services and goods replenishment at the shops. The parking lot can accommodate forty vehicles (trucks and cars), facilitating ease of procurement and loading. The supporting software used in the wholesale centre was custom developed with the specifics of Líra Könyv in mind. Our own shops and the franchise outlets are networked to the centre via the Internet, and we also have a facility open to other shops for ordering through the Internet and requesting door-to-door delivery.

Just like in our bookshops, we emphasise a wide possibility of choices in our wholesale outlet as well, therefore we stock twenty-five thousand different products from hundreds of different publishers. We have a sales room where customers can sip a coffee while shopping for other items including maps, postcards, posters and packaging materials.

In 2007 Líra acquired 100% of Sunbooks, the leading Hungarian book and DVD wholesale company. Sunbooks is focusing on hypermarkets, being the largest book supplier of Tesco, Cora and Auchan. Sunbooks also has contracts with MediaMarkt, Saturn, and Office Depot. In 2008 Sunbooks moved to the Líra headquarters, today the two companies share a common procurement department.

We are staffed with reliable and professional employees who happily serve bookshop owners and purchasing agents.

Top and middle management at the Company

Tamás Kolosi, Chairman-CEO
Judit Ujlaky Gazdag, Deputy CEO, Managing Director for Rózsavölgyi and Co.
Beáta Kolosi, CEO
Géza Morcsányi, Executive Director of Magvető Kiadó and Athenaeum Kiadó
László Kúnos, Executive Director of Corvina Kiadó
Tamás Horányi, Finance Director
Anikó Tóth, Purchasing manager
Imre Baranyai, Sales Manager
Gyula Deák, Marketing Director