30 Jan A Close Look at the Central & Eastern European Publishing Markets with Livia Stoia
S2 E7: A Close Look at the Central & Eastern European Publishing Markets with Livia Stoia
By Marleen Seegers, Co-Founder of 2 Seas Agency and Host of The Make Books Travel Podcast
January 30, 2021
Today I am speaking with Livia Stoia, founder of the Livia Stoia Literary Agency. Based in Bucharest, Romania, Livia and her team represent international publishers and agents into many Central and Eastern European countries and the Baltic States, as well as Western Europe, Latin America and Asia.
For the sake of brevity, our conversation on this podcast episode focuses mainly on some of the publishing markets in Central and Eastern Europe, including Romania and the countries that were once part of Yugoslavia. These are the territories where Livia represents 2 Seas Agency, and where she started out when she founded her agency.
I was curious to hear about the impact of the pandemic on the local publishing markets, how ebook and audiobooks are faring, and how she came to founding her own literary agency in 2003.
Here are some of the questions I asked Livia:
- What was the state of the Romanian publishing market before the pandemic started, and some of the other territories you operate in?
- What has happened since the start of the pandemic in terms of rights sales for you?
- Do you notice that certain territories fare much better than others and if so, which ones?
- Why do you think this is the case?
- Have you noticed an increase in demand for specific genres?
- More generally, not taking into account the exceptional times we live in, are there any genres that tend to sell well in certain territories that you operate in, and others that don’t?
- Can you give a few examples?
- What was the biggest challenge for you to launch your own agency and how did you address this matter?
- What does a typical work day look like for you now?
One note regarding the Covid-19 pandemic and the restrictions in Romania imposed by the government in order to curb the spread of infections: Our interview was recorded on January 21, 2021, and Livia has pointed out that in the meantime there’s been is a slight relaxation of these restrictions in the country. Since the number of infections has decreased, restaurants, theaters and cinemas have recently reopened.
- Livia’s book recommendations
– Reptile Memoirs by Silje O. Ulstein (Aschehoug, 2020 for the Norwegian edition, we didn’t find information on a possible forthcoming English edition at the time this episode was published)
– The Discomfort of Evening by Marieke Lucas Rijneveld translated by Michele Hutchinson (Faber & Faber, 2020-UK edition; Graywolf, 2020-US edition) About Livia
- About Livia
Livia graduated from two faculties, engineering and sociology. She worked for 5 years at ASTRA Museum in Sibiu, as PR specialist and sociologist.
Then, she moved to Bucharest with her family, and was hired by Humanitas Publishing House as copyright manager. She owes Humanitas the chance to enter into this amazing world of publishing, her job there being the cornerstone of a wonderful career in the world of foreign rights business. After 5 years at Humanitas, she opened her literary agency, which entered in its 18th year of existence in January 2021. She built a very nice representation list of Western publishers, and enlarged it constantly. First, she operated only in Romania, then she expanded the business to all Central and East European countries, year by year, and recently to Western countries too, through the acquisition of Ilustrata Agency, based in Barcelona. Now, her agency operates worldwide.