February 17, 2018

Adventist Publishing House Adapts to Changing Trends with Bold Moves

Mario Šijan, Trans-European Division News

From a historic reformation printing press to the latest in social media apps, Znaci Vremena, the Seventh-day Adventist publishing house in Croatia is taking giant strides in making Adventist literature available and accessible in a rapidly changing world. While books and magazines are still popular, they are looking to new, innovative methods of distribution and marketing to achieve mission success.

“The world of publishing may be changing, but it is refreshing to see that innovative ways of sharing God’s good news can still reach the people of Croatia”

Success implies going where people are, and this is certainly the experience of the publishing house Znaci Vremena. Over the past year, they have worked in collaboration with all the city libraries across Croatia, a country with a population of 4.1 million and just 3,700 Seventh-day Adventist members. Croatian libraries are buying books from the publishing house to offer them to their patrons; this increases the number of people who have access to Adventist literature, and if they like what they read, they may be inspired to purchase materials for themselves. It is the reason Znaci Vremena now has all of its books easily available for purchase on Amazon.

In 2017, the publishing house celebrated its 40th edition of the Ellen G. White classic Put Kristu (Steps to Christ) by hosting a display at the Zagreb Central library. They also took part in the two most significant book fairs in Croatia – Interliber, in Zagreb; and Sa(n)jam knjige, in Pula. During Interliber, the publishing house highlighted the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation and the 40th edition of Put Kristu.

Znaci Vremena also exhibited a working replica of the historic Gutenberg printing press at their booth – a machine which revolutionized access to the Bible. The replica was used to print out the Ten Commandments in full view of their visitors, many of whom wanted to take a copy home with them.

Innovation does not stop there. As 2017 came to an end, the publishing house team introduced a children’s calendar with Bible verses and illustrations to color. Their “2018 Yearly Planner,” again with Bible verses became, as publishing house manager Mario Šijan puts it, “an absolute hit, especially on social media.”

Znaci Vremena has become very active on the two most used social networks in Croatia – Instagram, and Facebook. “We are posting content on social media every working day,” states Šijan.

During the holiday season, the publishing house designed free wallpapers for smartphones, which were made available for download from the social media pages and online store. They also sent a Isus je rođen (Jesus is born) puzzle to 50 of the most followed people on Croatian social media. These ‘influencers’ then promoted the puzzle and the publishing house through their own social media posts.

All this attention on digital platforms tends to attract people to the Znaci Vremena online store, where customers are purchasing books which are being delivered not just to Croatia but exported to Croatian expatriates all over the world. A weekly newsletter, sent out each Friday, keeps prospective purchasers aware of the latest offerings.

“The world of publishing may be changing, but it is refreshing to see that innovative ways of sharing God’s good news can still reach the people of Croatia,” regional church leaders said.