Dar Camilleri: Position in response to National Book Council’s statement on Malta Book Festival 2023
Dar Camilleri is a new publishing imprint that started in 2021. It is a small business in the book industry, an industry that has been struggling in the past years and that also saw numerous participants fold their operations. Dar Camilleri can proudly say that its books are the leading best-sellers in Malta’s bookstores.
The National Book Council, which I led for eight years, used to support book industry participants while striving to unite book industry stakeholders. Today, the National Book Council is in the process of burning its capital, dividing book industry stakeholders, fomenting an atmosphere of division, and directly and willingly damaging my business enterprise.
The National Book Council is trying to bury my business by flooding my competitors with resources and supporting them directly whilst also creating services which cater directly to our competitors. The government can not act in the private sphere and do business in private industries while directly competing with private and specific industry players it does not like.
Dar Camilleri has been discriminated against consistently and has also been damaged to a significant extent by the irregular commercial actions of the National Book Council. It is indeed very challenging for a small business which has just started to compete against the ill will of a very resourceful government entity that is trying to destroy your business.
For this reason, Dar Camilleri will not be participating in the National Book Council’s Malta Book Festival. Instead, Dar Camilleri will seek legal options to claim material damages from the National Book Council. During the same dates as the Book Festival, Dar Camilleri will be holding its own series of book events.
We believe that under a government that protects criminals, attacks the press and a Prime Minister who directly attacks the book industry, the National Book Council is easily suspected of being used as a pawn of the Labour Party. Indeed, my successor bears my own name because he was chosen as a spiteful joke in my regard, and he has no experience in the book industry, no competence and no business running this entity. The Executive Chairman of the National Book Council has also admitted his antagonism against me by referring to me in a derogative way as an “exile” with a group of academics. Meanwhile, the National Book Council is also in the process of trying to leak my personal data such as private addresses in order to compromise my security, not to mention its constant leaks of my private information and commercial data which is purposefully being leaked to my competitors and other book industry stakeholders. The police have been very unhelpful in this regard.
Undoubtedly, the position of the current Executive Chairman is untenable and should resign with immediate effect.
To conclude, we encourage publishers and authors to be forming their own autonomy beyond the National Book Council and look ahead to the future. With the formation of independent organisations, authors and publishers can claim many roles and duties performed by the National Book Council, starting with the administration of Public Lending Rights. Legally, authors and publishers have the legal claim to begin taking a more direct role in the regulation and management of our industry.
Dar Camilleri also condemns the Council members who have been appointed as Labour Party stooges and have failed to contribute anything while the National Book Council drained its capital, and the book industry was left to fend alone in its worst economic crisis in more than fifty years.