Taschen Eyes Russian Expansion

In Global Trade Talk by Eugene Gerden


Germany’s Taschen has a renewed focus on Russia and signed new distribution deals with Logosphere, Magma and Jupiter.

By Eugene Gerden

Taschen, one of EU’s leading art book publishers from Germany, is considering massive expansion into the Russian books market through the more active promotion and sales of its books throughout the country.

As part of these plans, the company has already signed an agreement on the distribution of its books in Russia with three local book distributors, among which are Logosphere, Magma and Jupiter.

Taschen logoAccording to Matthew Fry, Taschen’s sales director, the company has high hopes for Russia, and planning to introduce some novelty books in the local market already in the near future. Over the past few years Taschen has opened its bookstores in Paris, Los Angeles, New York, London and Brussels and plans to continue its expansion into new cities, but currently has no plans to expand these stores to Russia.

Taschen, founded in 1980, remains one of the most successful fine art book publishers in the world. 

The history of the company dates back to 1980, when 18-year-old Benedikt Taschen opened a shop selling comics in his hometown of Cologne. Over the next few years, Taschen began to produce catalogs to advertise his products, but had his real launch as a publisher and bookseller in 1984 when he bought 40,000 copies of a book on the artist Magritte in English, which he later resold at significantly lower price than the original. From childhood, Taschen has been interesting in art, but found that the books about it are too expensive and unavailable and sought, later, to democratize the art book market.

Soon he began to reprint and publish books under his own brand and sell them at affordable prices, and later published his first original edition and the first book of the Basic Art series, dedicated to Picasso. In 1989 he published two-volume book about Van Gogh, which included all the known works of the artist, and which became a hit in bookstores worldwide.

Since the late 1980s Taschen has opened branded bookstores across the globe and strengthened the reputation of the publishing house, which produces only high-quality books. The subjects of his books covered new areas, including architecture, design, photography, lifestyle, etc.

Taschen is known for its pricey limited editions, including, a edition of SUMO by Helmut Newton, (signed by over 80 celebrities presented in the book), which sold at a charity auction in 2000 for $300,000; the $15,000, 75-pound, 700-page GOAT (Greatest of All Time), a tribute to the American boxer Muhammad Ali, which Der Spiegel called “the biggest, heaviest, most radiant thing ever printed in the history of civilization.” They have also published a $4,000 limited edition volume of the works of Araki.

Today, the company offers a large selection of books in more than twenty languages for people with different interests and different incomes. 

About the Author

Eugene Gerden

Eugene Gerden is an international freelance writer who specializes in covering global book publishing and bookselling industry.