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Dear Colleagues,

before we know it, summer is over again. I believe you experienced many new things during the holidays. Some of you have bicycled many kilometres, others have hiked many trails. Some of you have spent lovely times by the water or working in the garden. It doesn’t matter what form of relaxation you choose. The important thing is that it makes you feel good and relaxed.

As every year, the book market is starting to prepare for the Christmas season. But a lot has changed in the last three years. First the covid, then the huge instability of the economy and then the danger of war and threat of war here in Europe. The safety that we took almost as granted has become a very rare commodity.

I do not know if after these extremes in all areas of social and economic life, is now finally calm setting in, or whether this is just another calm before the storm. At the end of last year, I announced that we would have at least two difficult years ahead of us, and the first half of this year only confirmed this. On the other hand, we have the Christmas season ahead of us, when our customers always place a higher volume of orders than in the first half of the year, and so far it seems that at least in this period the situation in the book segment is returning to normal.

All indications are that the environment of our business might get stabilised, but it is clear that at least this year and next year will be different and there will be a number of changes in the printing industry. I expect that several smaller printing houses will close down in this country, but also in Europe. The larger printing companies will have to find their place in the market or they will share similar fate to the smaller printing houses.

It is therefore extremely important that we consistently implement the steps that we have planned in our strategy, follow through on each point and together look for ways to succeed in this unstable and very strange world. Everyone matters. Everyone has a head on their shoulders. Everyone knows what to do. Everyone is also responsible for their work. It is a personal responsibility, that means a responsibility that is specific, direct and non-transferable.

The positive news is that so far we are succeeding in fulfilling our strategy in terms of the volume of produced books. In order to produce 500,000,000 books by June 2025, we had to surpass the 450,000,000 units by October. This was an ambitious target and I am delighted that we were able to achieve it by the end of September, a month ahead of schedule.

Based on this milestone, I am confident that we will continue to succeed. It is not and will not be easy. We have done many things together, and we will meet this challenge as well.

Jarek Drahoš