A visit to Devin Printing House. If you’re going to publish books, you need a printer you can rely on. Zuzana has been contacting Slovak and Dutch printers for months and we have finally decided to go for a family run printing house in Devin. They’ve been fully operation for over 23 years. It’s owned by one family and today the second generation is at its helm. The executive in charge of handling new business, Štefan Kolek, invited us to come over. A gesture we appreciate immensely, because some things simply can’t be discussed over email alone. Plus, it’s a nice change from the attitude of other printing houses. Some were not very helpful or responsive and some were downright rude. We are very curious about our new potential ally. Part of what drew us to them is that they cover all the book printing for the Slovak magazine.týždeň , the best weekly you’ll find here in Slovakia. Its name means ‘Week’, by the way.
It’s about half an hour by bus from the center of Bratislava to Devin, a nice little town right next to the Doneau river. We arrive a little early so we drink tea in a restaurant called ‘U Srnčíka’.The river bank has been turned into some sort of bicycle paradise. You can ride your bike for miles and miles along the river bank surrounded by nature. I ask Zuzana if this is where Sagan developped his champion skills. She says no, ‘I think he’s from Žilina and he’s known for his ability to negotiate steep terrain, so no, I doubt he came to train here down south’. Even if you’re not training for the Tour De France, I recommend you take out your bike. It’s one of those areas in Slovakia where you can feel motivted to bicycle even if you’re not feeling suicidal. Slovak traffic is hell.
There are no cars anywhere near the river bank road. If you’re lucky you can ride fast enough to shake off the mosquitoes. Devin has many beautiful assets, and at least one major obnoxious downside: it’s infested with gnats. Yup, those little blood sucking miniature Stuka dive bombers that are equipped with the latest biological technology to keep you up all night and to have you scratching like mad for days after one of their sneaky attacks. We are instantly swarmed by them. Especially Zuzana is charged immediately by several fanatical squadrons.
Our host Štefan Kolek crushes one of these little vampires at the start of our meeting. We hand him some of Zuzana’s hand painted postcards, and a key holder in the form of one of our symbols: a windmill. Designed by the ever creative Patricia Gielis, one of the founding members of Donkichod.
Štefan thanks us, studies the cards and with the eye of a professional checks the paper the cards are printed on. He then goes right down to business. He listens to our concerns and answers all our questions. He’s very willing to offer us the best options that are right for our publishing house. When he thinks we misunderstand the advantages of certain printing techniques, he gently advices us to look at it from a different perspective. We like this kind of energetic people. He shows us lots of examples, points out the advantages and the disadvantages, and gives us samples to take home with us. Including one book on the rise of the Slovak maffia and shady political deals. He’s got a sense of humor and remarks: ‘And so far nobody got killed for writing this book’.
He also explains that they have adopted a more modern business model than some other publishing houses. They don’t show potential customers the door if the client is looking to print only a limited number of copies. Some printers will have nothing to do with you unless you want to prints thousands of copies. His prices our competitive and the samples he shows us our impeccable. .týždeň would of course not be doing any business with this printing house if they couldn’t guarantee high quality standards.
Near the end of the meeting, it’s slowly getting dark outside, he asks: ‘So you guys just run from one job to the next job, don’t you?’ We do indeed. ‘Personally I liked it better that way. People often asks themselves what they’d be doing if all of sudden they hit the jackpot and become millionaires. For me the answer to that question is simple, I would still be running this business’.
That’s the kind of people we want to do business with.
You can find their website by clicking on this link. Don’t worry their website is available in both Slovak and English.
Live an authentic day!