CPNB Director Evelyn Eindekerk Gets Kids Reading at McDonald’s


Evelyn AndekirkPhoto by Anneke Janssen / ANP

The doors were very heavy in the beautiful Amsterdam building that housed the CPNB. “Why don’t we have a door that opens so easily?” asked director Evelyn Eindekirk shortly after taking office. The symbolism of the ivory tower was above it. Also through the long corridors where I saw a lot of marbles, but few people.

Thus the institution moved from Herengracht to Overtoom. Far from high costs and channel image. There are no sanctuaries in Evelyn Andykerk’s world of thinking. As director of the Marketing and Communications Agency of Books Holland – through which she represents the interests of bookstores, bookstores and publishers – she sees “stimulating a passion for reading in the Netherlands” as her only mission.

This is not without merit. The corona years helped. Since 2012, not as many books have been sold as last year. That was more than two million books compared to 2020. “You can use that to cover the road from Utrecht to Amsterdam,” says Aendekerk subtly. In the first twelve weeks of 2022, 17 percent more books were sold than in the same period last year. It remains to be seen whether people will continue to read after the Corona crisis.

happy Meal

According to Mark Bommer, director of publishing house De Bezige Bij and a member of the CPNB board of directors, Aendekerk also has a share in the success. Beamer: She has a clear vision in which the reader is central. She does not shy away from using methods unusual for the world of writers. For example, Aendekerk has entered into partnerships with a fast-food chain and a game developer, and is currently in talks with supermarkets. And an influencer like Bas Smit receives an invitation to Boekenbal. This is a break in direction compared to the course that was sailed under predecessor Ebo van Nispen to Svenere. Beamer: “Evelyn dares to pass through walls.”

This regularly leads to criticism from the book world, which is known as conservative. Like when I partnered with McDonald’s, even during Children’s Book Week, kids received a book instead of a toy with their happy meal. Idea: Children who read little or not at all come here, so that the books playfully relate to an enjoyable experience for them. ‘Then now you should take your children to McDonald’s. May God have mercy on him,’ said the head of books at AlbarolMarjoline de Kock.

Or when Aendekerk advocated turning reading into a “cup soup moment,” a constant moment of the day that people dedicate to reading. Writer and literary critic Ari Storm responded on Twitter: ‘I hope it’s a cup of soup with letter noodles, I hope so’.

There is always someone who hates them. When Aendekerk Australian duo Andy Griffith and Terry Denton from the popular series crazy tree house When asked to write a children’s book week gift, the Dutch authors felt abandoned. “Awareness of the Children’s Book Week gift has clearly declined,” Andekirk explains. “We needed authors to get kids to run into stores again.” Andykirk believes that a gift is a marketing tool, not an over prize.

A conversation with Aendekerk leads to terms like customer journey touch points And media vision† For novelists, marketing jargon can be anathema. But, as Aendekerk says, “we are not down to earth as a basis to protect good literary taste, but to make people read.”

Library teacher in Bolivia

To outsiders, it’s as if she kept letting criticism slip from her head, but that’s just an illusion. “You can take the girl from Limburg, but not from Limburg from the girl,” says Aendekerk. I really come from a culture: what will people think of me? I still find it difficult. You’d rather hear: That woman is doing well.

As a child she loved to read a lot and was good at languages. But unemployment in the 1980s called for a workable option, she said: I went to study economics in Amsterdam. After working for consultancy KPMG and marketing company Lost Boys, she struggled in her early thirties with a classic, meaningful case, primarily driven by the initial failure to have children with her lover Bart. “I started to think carefully about what I wanted to leave behind in this world,” Aendekerk says.

The relationship broke up and Aendekerk left for Bolivia to work as a “library teacher” at a school for more than six months. In the summer of 2007 she returned to the Netherlands as Director of Dance4Life, a social organization that aims to advance sexual rights and the health of young people around the world. Looming point: an AIDS-free world.

During her eleven years in charge, Aendekerk has honed her skills to fight social problems through marketing and branding, despite a modest budget. As a result, she appeared in the crosshairs of the CPNB party as a candidate to stop the decline of writers in the Netherlands.

Aendekerk – who describes herself as a “total workaholic” – works on this almost day and night. A very cherished wish was also fulfilled: she now has two children with Bart.

3x Evelyn Andekirk

About working at CPNB: “People work here because they have an intrinsic connection to the product. It makes all your conversations ‘real’. I’d never trade that for a big business club again.

About the #ikleesthuis and #steunjeboekhandel campaigns: “I am very proud of that. Usually, campaigns are designed 15 months in advance. We built these campaigns in just a few days, with the help of the entire book trade.

On the upcoming book week with the theme of first love: “After all the misery of Corona, we were looking for a positive topic that people would feel in their hearts. Marek Lucas Reinfeldt and Elijah Leonard Pfeiffer gave a great performance.

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