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Bestsellers, Hungary

Tony Láng of BESTSELLERS (below) discusses his business selling English-language books in Budapest.

Tony Lang
What is the name of your shop and where is it? BESTSELLERS. It is in the main street in Budapest by the basilica.

How large is the shop? 110m2.

How many people work there? Five people.

What kinds of books do you sell? No Hungarian books, only new books in English, trade and academic, plus French, German and Italian. We also act as a newsagent for the international press and we have videos, Moleskin diaries and Peter Pauer notebooks.

Melinda Zacher with her two daughters

How long have you had the business? Nineteen years.

Where do your customers come from? Locals, expatriates and tourists.

How would you describe the current state of the book trade in Hungary? Nobody knows what the future has in store for us especially in the present circumstances, but nevertheless I believe that we will survive for quite a few years more. 

What do you most enjoy about being a bookseller? Being useful.  We sell knowledge and dreams in the form of books. 

Is there anything that you don’t like about being a bookseller? The unfair competition from the likes of Amazon with their loss leaders and propaganda designed to make people believe that all their books are cheaper. Being in Hungary we are able to offer books that Amazon and the like cannot: ISE’s and early export editions, plus of course personal service by experienced booksellers seven days a week.          Above: Bookseller Gábor Kota

How do you choose which books to stock? We choose from among the publishers forthcoming publications using our taste, we listen to our customers to detect trends as well as watching the bestsellers lists and reading book reviews.

Do you organise events in your shop, such as book signings? Occasionally.

Which books are selling well at the moment? As usual crime, fiction, travel, history, cooking.

Do you sell books online? Not online but we get lots of requests by e-mails generated through our website.

How do you get your books from the UK? Do you use a freight consolidator? Yes, we have been using World Wide Book Services and it’s predecessor Groupex for 19 years. 

Batch and Your Business

How long have you been using Batch? Practically since the beginning.

Left to right: Zita Duboczki, Krisztina Kalivoda, Melinda Zacher

How does Batch help your business? Saves lots of money, time and bother. Instead of doing 15 or more separate payments I make one which saves me over £150 every month. It enables me to pay small amounts without extra costs. Both I and the supplier know exactly which invoices I paid and which credit notes I took into account; no more time wasted giving credit control the answer; obviously it also saves credit control time and telephone calls. I can then use this saved money and time to invest in buying other books, which obviously is good for the publishers. My accountant loves it. 

Is there anything we could do to improve our service to you? Get the French and the Americans on board.

1051 Budapest, Október 6. utca 11.
Contact: tel/fax +312-1295