RiP Michael Zifcak
Michael Zifcak, former chairman of Collins Booksellers and Hill of Content Publishing, has died, aged 96.
Zifcak was the chairman of Collins Booksellers and its publishing division Hill of Content, which he also founded. He served as president of the Australian Booksellers Association (ABA) and was awarded an OBE in 1981 for service to literature.
His son, Daniel Zifcak, writes:
‘This past week saw the passing of an icon in the Australian Book Trade. Michael will be remembered by many who worked with and alongside him.
‘My father joined Collins Booksellers in 1951 as an accountant, under Fred Slamen. When he assumed the reins of the company, he transformed it from three stores to a very successful company of over 50 stores. During this period of growth my father also became president of the ABA and founded the National Book Council. He travelled extensively and monitored the bookselling trends overseas and then implemented them in the overall growth of Collins Booksellers.
‘As well as all of the above he had his own very successful publishing business.
‘He was highly respected in the international community of booksellers, eventually becoming president of the International Booksellers Association and then holding the International Booksellers Federation conference in Melbourne.
‘As a culmination to all of these efforts he was awarded an OBE for his services to literature.’
Zifcak recorded his experiences in bookselling, as well as his escape from communist Czechoslovakia, in his autobiography My Life in Print (Hachette).
A funeral service was held at St John’s Church in Toorak, Melbourne on Tuesday, 7 July.