Ever walked into a shop to purchase something and come out feeling you had been ripped off? More than likely that is a daily occurence for most as we continue to pay over the odds for most goods these days as companies and supermarkets squeeze profits. Well that definitely will not be the case when you visit the “Daj koliko das” (Give how much you give) bookshop located in the heart of the Croatian capital Zagreb.
The bookshop’s owner Zoran Ante Juric is one of the few men still operating a business in Croatia built on human faith and based on a model that only recently came into vogue around the world.
When the global economic crisis hit hard in 2008, business owners were forced to get creative with concepts to try to “beat the recession” and trade their way out of the doom and gloom. One of those concepts that started popping up around the world in the late 2000’s was the “pay what you can” model, where there would be no set price for goods, but a system where customers would be invited to pay what they felt the product or service was worth to them.
Juric has been running his business for just on four years, and he says in that time he has been satisfied with how it has been going.
“You have to be humble in life, if you don’t expect much then you will be happy with what you get, if your greedy then that is not good. People generally pay what the book is worth or sometimes even more,” said Juric.
The former technical engineer says that the idea grew whilst he was running another bookshop in town. Juric was owner of “The smallest bookshop in the world” in Zagreb, which despite its tiny space of just 7.5m², it had over 50,000 books.
“Daj koliko das” has over 32,000 books and the charismatic entrepeneur says that most of the books are from his own collection and he also relies on the generosity of neighbours, friends, family and even businesses that go under to top up his supply.
Juric works hard on creating a “homely” atmosphere in his bookshop, and even encourages customers to relax and get lost reading in his cosy shop. The book enthusiast and part-time artists does admit though that the government is not doing his business any favours.
“I had to bring in fiscalisation and also write a price on every single one of my 32,000 books. I have no idea why we don’t receive some help, like a concession as they do in a lot of countries around the world for antique shop owners,” concluded Juric.