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Fascism and Big Business by Daniel Guerin

Monday, March 8, 2010

A new market for "Capital"

Crisis spurs interest in Marx’s Capital

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Sunday, March 7, 2010

The global financial crisis has oriented some Turkish readers toward economy books, especially those about Marxism.

Karl Marx’s “Capital” and “Communist Manifesto” generated a lot of attention last year, publishers say, while publication house Scala turned the crisis into an advantage by releasing a comic-strip version of “Capital,” which sold well.

Although Turkey has a population of more than 70 million and according to statistics the ratio of those who regularly read books is low, last year the Turkish people read quite a few books. Moreover, many chose to read the same book: Capital, by Karl Marx. The demand was high enough to direct Scala, a publishing house, to publish the book in comic format.

Second-hand booksellers, known as sahafs, also got their share from attention, as previous editions of Capital also sold well.

Hakan Seyyat, owner of Scala, said especially student interest in Capital comes from “an intellectual concern.”

“The interest toward books on globalization, investment and economy in general has increased,” Seyyat told the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review. “After ‘Capital,’ we will be publishing an illustration book that deals with the memories of a stock market speculator in March. We are sure it will attract readers, too.”

Hayri Erdoğan, editor in chief of publisher Yordam Kitap, confirmed that “Capital” attracted great interest last year. “And the Communist Manifesto sold well, too,” he said. “This is concrete proof of the interest toward Marxism in Turkey. The search for a new world is orienting people toward Marxism.” The publisher is known for its books on Marxism, while it recently published a “manga” version of Capital’s first volume, to be followed by other volumes.

But Mustafa Gezgin, owner of İzmir-based Zeus Publications, disagreed. “Turkey is not a reader-haven,” he told the Daily News. “I don’t think people are reading economy books. At most, they might have watched television debates on the economy. Does the popularity of Marx mean his works are being read? That’s a different discussion.”

Mihrican Şen, the owner of the Mihrican Sahaf bookstore in Galatasaray, Istanbul, meanwhile, said she observed great interest in economy books last year. “Our customers are generally researchers,” she said. “Last year, the interest im works by Turkish economists was especially huge. Though Marx’s ‘Capital’ was also in vogue.”

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