Ninety-five members, associates, guests and family of the Motovun Group Association met in the beautiful and historic setting of Santiago de Compostela, Spain June 24-27 to discuss new challenges facing illustrated book publishing and to share experiences that mutually benefit all members.

The Motovun Group Association was founded in 1977 with ‘a spirit of East meets West’ and a desire to reach out and begin communication with countries within the Soviet and Yugoslav spheres of influence. Today MGA is an association of 80 invited members who publish illustrated books representing 24 countries from across the globe. The annual meeting embraces lectures, seminar-style meetings, shared experience break-out sessions, and plenty of time for one-on-one meetings to conduct business. The organization is named after the medieval hilltop town Motovun in Istria, Croatia where the annual meetings were held in the early years and was the site of the meeting once again in 2010.

This year there were 20 first-timers attending the annual meeting, a record. One of the newcomers, Ralph Möllers of Terzio/Möllers & Bellinghausen Verlag, Munich, stated, “I am completely impressed by the warmth, openness, and cooperation among the members of MGA.”
Members can participate in optional excursions in and around Santiago, as well as group breakfasts, lunches, dinners and opportunities to enjoy ample supplies of local wine, to enhance the spirit of mutual partnership and camaraderie.

The featured focus of the 2011 meeting was “New Ways of Publishing” with a keynote address by Sara Domville, president of F&W Media. Domville used the model of F&W’s transition from a "book publisher to a media enterprise," to speak to the need for "creative destruction" in order to "innovate or become relevant" urging members to 'reinvent our business" and "put emphasis on the challenges of a rapidly changing business scene."

Domville’s presentation was followed up by panel discussions of new digital strategies and ways of changing physical books into e-books and Apps by several members and guests including Günter Beer of Buena Vista Studio, Barcelona; Rene Bego of mo’media, Breda, the Netherlands; Hal Robinson of Librios, London; Britta Habermann of Zabert Sandmann Verlag, Munich; and the seminar was chaired by Jean Arcache of CEO of Place des Éditeurs, Paris. While several members of MGA spoke of "fear and depression about facing the digital future," Habermann offered “…encouragement to accept change and move forward. Now is the best time to be a publisher. Are you ready for the change?”

There were also talks covering trends and statistics in Spanish publishing worldwide by two Barcelona based publishers, Juliàn Viñuales Solé of Ediciones Folio and Leopoldo Blume of Editorial Blume. Viñuales addressed the complexities of worldwide Spanish publishing. “Spanish-speaking countries enjoy a common language but not common interests,” he said. Both Viñuales and Blume spoke of the growth of the markets and new opportunities in Latin America including Brazil, now considered the largest Latin American market.

Next year the Motovun annual meeting will be held near the Prague Castle overlooking the River Vltava and the city of Prague on June 22 to 25. In addition to the annual meeting, Motovun holds events at the Frankfurt Book Fair, the London Book Fair, and BEA. MGA also sponsors scholarships and fellowships, as well as annual awards for the Best Book, the Best Design, the Best Package, the Best Photography, and the Best Digital Book. For more information see MGA’s website ( <> ) or contact Silke Bruenink, MGA’s administrator (

Leventhal is the publisher of Black Dog & Leventhal.