Azerbaijan social media focused on ‘book war’
Nigar Kocharli, owner of the Ali and Nino bookstore chain, released a video in which she publicly addressed Kamalledin Heydarov, the Minister of Emergency Situations of Azerbaijan. This video has literally blown up Azerbaijan’s social media.
In her video address Kocharli notified the minister that her book stores were continuously raided by some unknown individuals acting on his behalf. They demanded that she quit her business in favor of Heydarov. After being published on social media, the video appeal quickly gained popularity and cause wide public resonance.
“Four years ago I received a message on your behalf, saying I should cede Ali and Nino to you. I was told that if I didn’t do that I would be crushed like an ant,” said Nigar Kocharli.
In her words, the Ali and Nino bookstore chain was subjected to ‘moral terror’ for four years:
“We have had problems with customs, our bookstores were under video surveillance, our employees were questioned and there were campaigns against me in the press and on social media. However, they have found it insufficient. Now, the Ali and Nino stores are being ‘ousted’ from malls [and commercial centers]. Your people expel us for those shops and open their own ones.”
Kocharli claims this campaign has been masterminded by her biggest rival, the Libraff bookstore chain, which is allegedly linked to the minister’s son, Tale Heydarov. The latter is the chairman of the European Azerbaijan Society and the founder of the TEAS Press publishing house (2014), which owns the Libraff bookstore chain.
The next day the Libraff publishing house released a statement, in which it denied Kocharli’s accusations, blaming the Ali and Nino bookstore chain for libel, violation of intellectual property rights and breach of copyright.
As was pointed out in the statement, the Libraff is constantly subjected to moral pressure and slander on the part of Ali and Nino and its partners.
“They regularly publish reports on social media, saying the TEAS Press Publishing House allegedly seeks to monopolize the book market. They want to form a negative public opinion about this structure. And Kocharli’s appeal is an integral part of this campaign.”
The Libraff also accused its rivals of a breach of copyright.
“Kocharli’s stores sell pirated editions. Those are books whose copyright belongs to the TEAS Publishing House. The illegally published books are displayed in Kocharli’s bookstore shop windows. Those violations have been revealed in the course of monitoring.”
This ‘book war’ has caused different reactions from social media users. Here are some typical comments:
“Tale Heydarov doesn’t need profits from the book business. His goal is to control what people read. People who more or less write in our country now have a chance to earn their living through book translation and editing. After monopolizing the publication and distribution of books, those people will lose their income.”
“I think it’s just a self-promotion campaign by Kocharli. Who’s going to believe that the Heydarov family will throw away their hue funds and disgrace themselves because of such an unprofitable business?”
“Unfortunately we’ve been accustomed to such dirty tricks against rivals, especially by those who are under the government’s ‘patronage’. How can one demand observance of the law if he himself violates it by selling pirated books? Naturally it’s beneficial for the readers to buy cheaper books, but sooner or later we should give up on this practice.”
“It’s very regrettable. Nigar Kocharli doesn’t earn millions, she is not engaged in wine and oil trade or tourism, neither does she build hotels. She just sells books in a country where few are fond of reading books. But even against such a background she still finds it hard to peacefully do her job.’