The Ministry of Culture has decided to shut down the National Book Centre (EKEVI,) which has been in operation for 19 years but is another victim of the country’s crushing economic crisis. The government is proceeding to close obsolete and obscure agencies with little to do on orders of international lenders.
The state policy on books will now be Directorate of Letters and the culture ministry but none of the book center employees reportedly will lose their jobs for now but likely to be transferred to jobs in other departments.
EKEVI used to take numerous initiatives and actions and to run special programs to bolster the book sector overall and all key players in the chain leading to the creation of a book: authors, translators, illustrators, editors, publishers, typographers, booksellers, librarians, literary agents, critics and readers.
EKEVI was set up in 1994 when composer Thanos Mikroutsikos was culture minister to help authors and publishers and to promote Greek publications abroad . Deputy Minister Costas Tzavaras said that the ministry itself would take over EKEVI’s tasks, which ranged from organizing the annual Thessaloniki Book Fair to awarding literary prizes and even assisting with schemes to get more books into schools.