By Leonardo Neto
Charles Cosac, one of the owners of publishing house Cosac Naify, announced the company would close in he near future. The news came as a surprise to some, but was anticipated by others. Nevertheless, nearly everyone that works in publishing in Brazil was affected by the announcement, with the news traveling fast — even as far as the halls of the Guadalajara International Book Fair, where it was the top topic for many Brazilian publishers in attendance.
The news first appeared in O Estado de S. Paulo newspaper, with Cosac commenting, “only my desire to go on couldn’t justify the persistence of the publishing house; their cultural projects are threatened at this moment.” Over 19 years, Cosac published 1,600 titles, and it is uncertain what will happen to them.
Cosac told the paper that the ongoing economic crisis in Brazil was the not the catalyst for the closure, but rather his inability to sustain a viable working relationship with his business parter Michael Naify, an American. “For me, the publisher is losing its main characteristics, deviating from what made it loved by everyone, and I prefer to close it than to search for a solution that can endanger its past.”
According to Nielsen, last year Cosac Naify held a market share was 0.69% of total revenue in the Brazilian book market. In terms of sales, the market share of the publisher was 0.51%.
The publisher’s projects veered toward prestige titles often focusing on art and design. As such, they always demanded heavy investment, usually with no guarantee of financial returns.
Cosac told Estadão that he tried to find some strategy to cover the losses of their special editions, but the ongoing economic crisis in Brazil did not help.
This year, Cosac had already tried to cut costs, downsizing the staff by 30% and moving their warehouse outside Sao Paulo. In June, Cosac became part of the DLD ebook distribution network in an effort to reinforce their presence in the e-book market.
In what might be seen as a last act of desperation, the company began offering a collection of literature source from public domain titles, something that didn’t sit well with Cosac.
“I didn’t create my publishing house to print public domain books. I wish it finishes the way it started, I wouldn’t like to see a decadent company,” he said.
Dione Oliveira, financial director, told the Folha de S. Paulo newspaper, that despite the announcement Cosac Naify won’t close their doors immediately and there’s no due date set for the end of operations. “Cosac will honor their commitment with clients and suppliers,” said Dione.