Saskia and Yannis, who are sharing a great love for books, are proud to present their online bookstore diavazo.nl, that just launched in the Netherlands with a great collection of books, for everyone.
diavazo.nl aspires to become a bookstore for every Greek-language reader, having books for children and teenagers, either Greek or foreign, literature, historical books, Dutch books written in Greek but also books in Dutch of selected titles from Nikos Kazantzakis.
What is diavazo.nl and who is behind this online bookstore?
Well described, diavazo.nl is a bookstore that functions exclusively online. Behind its name, there are two people who love reading. Me and my wife, Saskia. I had a career as a Financial Controller for many years in the past and I’ve been working as a freelance management consultant on behalf of major international companies for the last few years.
I am the father of two boys, Yorgos and Manolis Christian, who are both students of the Greek School of Amsterdam.
Beyond reading, I try to work-out 3 times a week, I love good food, good company, and football. As an Ajax football fan, I try to visit Amsterdam Arena as often as possible. My wife Saskia, also with a background of a successful and long career in one of the major Dutch banks has decided at some point to leave the banking sector and follow her heart to become a teacher.
Which are your first memories of a bookstore and what is your relationship with books?
I have visited my first bookstore when I was a 4 or 5 year old child in Veria. I remember it clearly, it was the Karanikas bookstore on Mitropoleos street. I will never forget, even after all these years, the scent of print ink mixed with the smell of paper. Since my childhood, I enjoyed reading. I mostly enjoyed the books that allowed me to think and create images in my mind. As a child, I had the blessing of a very rich library at home and from a very early age, my parents encouraged me to visit the public Library of Veria, incidentally, one of the most important public libraries in Greece. That’s how I loved reading and learned to appreciate having books at my disposal.
How did you decide to get involved with books in the Netherlands?
Beyond the business interest, it is a combination of various things. I came In the Netherlands in 1998. At first, I was trying to stay informed but in the early years there were no smartphones and tablets, so I started to lose contact with the modern Greek book. Later on, while raising my children, there was no easy way to buy Greek books. Everything we brought back from Greece was old and rough for the children (and for me, too, ?). In recent years, due to the crisis in Greece, we’ve noticed that the Greek population of the Netherlands, grows significantly. And while we easily cover the needs for olive oil and bougatsa, we don’t have any food for the mind. Diavazo.nl comes to cover this gap with its books.
Who are the writers and books that you have distinguished and loved as a child but also as an adult?
I was fortunate enough to read a lot, from Gerard De Villiers to Cornelius Castoriadis and from Jules Verne to Mikhail Bakunin. I cherish them all, with no exceptions. I do not underestimate or overestimate any of them. Everything I’ve read has contributed to my way of thinking and that’s why I value them as equally important.
Which book category is more popular? What categories can we find in diavazo.nl?
Diavazo.nl strives to become a bookstore for all Greek readers of all ages. So on our virtual shelves, you will find children’s books, books for adolescents, Greek Literature, Foreign Literature, historical books, books from Dutch authors translated in Greek. We open the section of Dutch books, with selected titles from Nikos Kazantzakis.
Are there any books by Dutch authors translated to the Greek language?
Not as many as I would like, but yes, there are some titles that we will offer at diavazo.nl. I find it very important that we as well, have Dutch writers on the titles offered from our store.
Why do you think this is so important?
It is important for all of us, but especially for our compatriots who have recently moved in the Netherlands, to read Dutch literature translated in Greek. I believe that many questions about Dutch culture, apart from personal experience and daily friction, are answered through books. Many misunderstandings and misinterpretations can be resolved simply by reading Dutch writers, and vice versa. I am determined to enrich our list even further in the future for the benefit of our Dutch readers, too.
How many book titles are there today in the store and how much do you want to enrich it?
We started with more or less 300 titles and I believe that by the end of the year we will be able to double them. Of course, this also depends on the people’s demand. Soon, I want to examine the possibility of offering e-books as well, in order to increase the number of titles and genres presented as much as possible.
Do you think the book is going through a crisis?
No, on the contrary, I believe that for the books, both in printed and digital form, the better days are lying ahead. I think that people in our era, maintain a bigger need or appetite for knowledge as well as quality entertainment but also calm and relaxing time spend on reading. And I think that this need is increasing.
What is your criteria for choosing the books you offer at the eshop?
I think all kinds of genres are just as important. All kinds of books are placed on the virtual shelves of diavazo.nl. We want to accommodate every reader, even when one wants to read something memorable and has the patience and willingness for it, or when the time calls for just a relaxing read. My ambition when choosing books is to cover as many of the readers’ needs as possible, without neglecting or promoting any of the genres.
Is it easy to sell Greek books abroad? Who is your audience?
The audience of diavazo.nl is mainly Greeks living in the Netherlands as well as Dutch people who are interested in Greek authors translated to Dutch or books about Greece. In terms of convenience, I would say that regarding the location everywhere is the same. When you are developing a project with faith and love, everything becomes easier.
What are the future plans for the online bookstore diavazo.nl?
I can’t predict much about the future. Only one thing. My wish is to be able to maintain the readers’ interest alive with new groundbreaking ideas, suggestions, and activities. And this is a promise.