Adam Helms Lectures

"On the Uses of the Bookstore in the 21'st Century" – Jeff Deutsch gives this year's Adam Helms lecture

In the 21'st century most readers don’t need a bookstore to buy a book, and most bookstores can’t make a living selling books exclusively. Do we even need bookstores anymore? If so, why?

Jeff Deutsch, director of Chicago’s Seminary Co-op, the first not-for-profit bookstore whose mission is bookselling, considers the uses of the bookstore and the models that might support the highest ideals of bookselling. The lecture will be held in English.

When: September 12, 2023, at 17.30–18.30
Where: Humanistiska teatern in Uppsala, Thunbergsvägen 3


The lecture is held by a prominent person within the international book and publishing industry and is organised in collaboration with the Swedish Publishers’ Association.

See a list of previous Adam Helms Lectures

Jeff Deutsch, photo by Sally Blood
Jeff Deutsch, photo by Sally Blood

Who was Adam Helms?

Portrait of Adam Helms wearing a suit and a red beret

The publisher Adam Helms was an innovative spirit within marketing in the book industry and a pioneer within international co-productions between publishers.

Helms was born in Denmark in 1904 and worked there in the book selling business. In 1939 he married Greta Nilsson, a Swede who was active in the publishing industry, and moved to Stockholm. Through Greta, he received a position at the Bonnier bookshop for imported books. The couple helped revolutionise the Swedish book club system through Bokklubben Svalan during the early 1940s. When the Bonnier group was formed in 1944, Helms was given charge of the publishing firm Forum. The company was to primarily release new editions of classics, but Helms also purchased new literature, which became a major success, thanks in large part to his modern approach to marketing. In 1971, Helms left Forum and started the publishing company Trevi together with his colleague Solveig Nellinge. Trevi made a name for itself by primarily publishing female authors.

At his death in 1980, he left the Swedish Publishers’ Association an extensive collection of books about book marketing, book publishers and book selling. Through a donation, this collection is now a part of Uppsala University Library: Adam Helms Collection of Books in the History of Publishing and Bookselling.

Read more about Adam Helms and the Adam Helms Lectures:
Always on the hunt: Adam Helms Lecture 20 years, Stockholm: University Library, 2013.

Previous Adam Helms Lectures

Some previous lectures are published in printed form in Adam Helms’ Lecture Series, and are also available in PDF format in DiVA.

Elly Griffiths - Murder is unique

Per I. Gedin - De två kulturerna

Kjell Westö - Från Tipp-Ex till iCloud eller Mina trettio år mellan elitismens Skylla och kommersialismens Karybdis

Mary Jay - African publishing in a globalised world

Elena Evgrafova - Three phenomena of book publishing — today and tomorrow

Claire Squires - The Red Pen, the Publisher and the University

Mark Coker - The future of book publishing

Anneli Høier - Den litterära agenten då och nu

John B. Thompson - Merchants of Culture. The Publishing Business in the Twenty-First Century

Thomas Steinfeld - De griniga, de gråtfärdiga och de glada. Om kritiken i ett samhälle där alla är kritiska

Alberto Manguel - The End of Reading

Emilia Lodigiani - The importance of being earnest and the tricky privilege of publishing Scandinavian literature in Italy

A. S. Byatt - Ghosts and Documents. The relation between history, biography and fiction

Martha Woodmansee - Publishers, Privateers, Pirates. 18th Century German Book Piracy Revisited

Jamie Byng - Nonconformity: How to Survive as an Independent Publisher

Michael Krüger - Giants and Dwarfs. Notes at the End of Reading

Eva Bonnier - Börs och Katedral - sex generationer Bonniers

Suzanne Brøgger - Forfatter-forlægger

Michael Joyce - A web of caring: The book as it was to us

Tim Waterstone - Bookselling and the Digital World

John Sutherland - Puzzles, Enigmas and Mysteries in the English Novel. Real Approaches to Fictional Universes

Peter Mayer - Traditional Values in the Age of the Marketplace Triumphant. Publishing Today in a Global World

P. D. James - Murder and Mystery. The Craft of the Detective Story

Janice Radway - Books and Reading in the Age of Mass Production

Hans Hertel - 500.000 £ er priesen: Bogen i mediesymbiosens tid

Robert Darnton - Censorship in Comparative Perspective: France, 1789 - Germany, 1989

Last modified: 2023-06-13