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Múzeum Shops, Hungary

Above: Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest.

Karina Horitz is the Book and Product Buyer for three beautiful Múzeum Shops in Budapest.

Where are the Múzeum Shops? Our shops are in major Hungarian Art Museums, drawing thousands of visitors each year. Each Museum apart from housing their own collections hosts approximately three major temporary exhibitions each year. For example in the Fine Arts Museum we recently hosted a major Cézanne exhibition, while currently we are showing a Helmut Newton Photography Exhibition. In the Hungarian National Gallery sited up in the old castle district in Buda we have just opened a Contemporary Hungarian Photography Exhibition. In the summer we will be opening an exhibition looking at the Impressionist and Post-Impressionists and their impact on Hungarian artists of that period.

How large are the shops? The Múzeum Shop in the Fine Arts Múzeum is approximately 145sqm; The Múzeum Shop in the Hungarian National Gallery is approximately 150sqm; The Múzeum Shop in the Vasarely Museum is approximately 30sqm.

Above: Hungarian National Gallery shop.

How many people work there? On the shop floor we have: Fine Arts Múzeum seven people; Hungarian National Gallery eight people; Vasarely Museum one person. We also have a Buying, Management and Admin team of six people.

What kinds of books do you sell? We sell only new books and occasionally limited edition artist’s books: our own exhibition catalogues, in Hungarian as well as usually in English, French or Italian depending on the subject of the exhibition. We also stock a huge range of books on Art, Art History, Art Theory, Antiquities, Architecture and Photography, all in English, Hungarian and with a smaller range in French, German, Spanish or Russian. We also sell Guide books to Budapest and in our Hungarian National Gallery shop we stock books on the history of Hungary and castles.

Below:The management buying team at the Paris Museum Expressions exhibitions (left to right): Viktoria Török: Retail and Product Development Manager; Balázs Kégli: Company Director and Karina Horitz: Book Buyer and Product Development Manager.

Where do your customers come from? Depending on the time of year and what temporary exhibitions we have on show we have a constant number of Hungarian visitors and large numbers of international tourists.

How would you describe the current state of the book trade in your country? I don’t have much experience of the general book trade in Hungary, although Hungarians are a book-loving nation. Most Hungarians have quite an impressive library at home.

Do you feel optimistic or pessimistic about the future? Thankfully because of the fantastic collections that our Museums hold and because we have an impressive series of temporary exhibitions scheduled we are optimistic about the continued growth in our museum shops. Naturally the economic climate in Hungary is challenging, as it is elsewhere, however we do not see a drop in the numbers of tourists, on the contrary we see growth as word gets around as to how beautiful Budapest is!

Above: Hungarian National Gallery shop.

What do you most enjoy about being a bookseller? I love art books. I love researching what books we should have for temporary exhibitions and new publications that fit with our collection. We always try to stock a range of books from academic studies through to popular introductions to an artist for the general public

Do you organise events in your shop, such as book signings? Yes we do and it is something we want to develop in the future. We also have a monthly late-night programme in our museums, with jazz sessions, guided tours of the museums and workshops, all around a particular theme, and we complement this with a selection of relevant books.

Above: Hungarian National Gallery shop.

Do you sell books online? We will do when our online shop goes live!

Do you sell e-books and e-readers? We are currently looking into the feasibility of offering our museum guidebook in an e-book form.

Do you use social media for your business? In Hungary Facebook is the main social media forum, and yes we use this very regularly.

How do you get your books from the UK? Do you use a freight consolidator? Yes we have been working with World Wide Book Services since 2005 and we receive regular shipments from them.

What are you reading at the moment? A.S. Byatt's The Children’s Book. I like her work very much.

Below: Hungarian National Gallery

Batch and Your Business

How long have you been using Batch Payments? Since 2008, if I remember correctly.

Do you use Batch Returns? No, because it is too expensive to ship books back to the UK.

In what way does Batch help your business? We save SO much money in bank charges, we wish that all publishers would use this service and we ask those that do not to please do so. If all publishers used Batch it would help small businesses and independent shops incredibly, particularly non–UK shops. Our accounts department love Batch as it is so easy to use and check invoices, budgets, deadlines. We couldn’t function without it!

Museum of Fine Arts
Szépművészeti Múzeum
Heroes’ Square
Budapest 1146
Tel:+36 1 469 7289 (shop website is currently under production)

Hungarian National Gallery
Magyar Nemzeti Galéria
Buda Castle Palace
A/B/C/D Buildings
Budapest 1014
Tel:+36 1 201 0887

Vasarely Museum
Szentlélek tér 6
Budapest 1033
Tel: +36 1 388 7551