Who does what in international ebooks? We start an Ebook Yellow Pages. Join us. Help us getting it started.

As ebooks go international, it is ever more relevant – and more difficult – to understand who does what, practically and professionally, on a global scale.

By launching an Ebook Yellow Pages, as a new section in the Global eBook report, we want to create a professional listing of dedicated service providers, distributors and aggregators, specialized publishers / imprints, reading platforms and communities, professional educational, et al.

Please help us in this effort by
– Making us aware of companies, services, platform that should be listed;
– Consider listing your own company;
– Buy an advertisement, to highlight your company’s competences and offer.

You find all details, incl. sample pages, and booking details at http://www.global-ebook.com (or http://www.wischenbart.com/page-4 )

We kick it off with the next update in April 2014 (deadline for submissions is March 10, 2014).

Looking very much forward to your feedback and input!

Ruediger Wischenbart

PS: Apologies for cross posting, but we need to spread the invitation on the broadest relevant scale. Thank you for your understanding and indulgence.

Who does what in global ebooks? Introducing eBook Yellow Pages.

Ebooks are currently re-inventing book publishing on a global scale. But not everything about ebooks is the same everywhere. Not at all!

This is why we introduce eBook Yellow Pages as new section to the Global eBook report, to highlight and organize B2B references to relevant companies and organizations.

Become a part of the grid, by having, like in a dedicated business listing, your company name, a short profile, a link, and a flashy ad in the Global eBook report, for just € 250.


The Global eBook report, updated every half year since 2011, is mapping and analyzing how ebooks evolve, with country close ups for most European countries, North America, as well as key emerging markets, in Brazil, China, Russia or India. Thematic articles summarize the expansion of global players like Amazon, Apple, or Kobo, compare ebook pricing strategies and ebook bestsellers for European main markets, and summarize controversial debates on piracy or DRM.

The new eBook Yellow Pages will be integrated in the April and October 2014 updates, listing specialized distributors and aggregators, dedicated ebook service providers, ebook-only publishing startups and sub-divisions as well as educational programs.

For only € 250 (instead of the regular € 300), the introductory offer includes your personal company ad (in PNG format), together with 3 lines of text and a link to your website, organized along main categories of company activities. In addition, the company name, short description and link will also appear at the bottom of one country close up. An index will display featured companies in alphabetical order.

Book your entry now, and have your company featured in both the April and in the October 2014 update.

Convenient payment by credit card. Submission of your wording and ad (in PNG) by email.

Register by email today with Sabine Stalujanis (sabine.stalujanis (at) wischenbart.com) , or check for more details and a few sample pages at www.global-ebook.com

Get the ideas for tomorrow’s publishing, in Germany, and globally: Join us for Publishers’ Forum 2014 in Berlin

Getting a concrete reading of how the book industry changes ain’t an easy exercise.

We saw the dramatic rise of ebooks, first in the English language, now also in German. But most book markets in continental Europe are strained. We witness deep trouble in bookselling, as in France the book chain Chapitre was closed, and Weltbild in Germany filed for insolvency. We marvel at globalization – and new giants emerging, like in the merger of Penguin and Random House. But we also welcome so many new ventures, be it small book shops, or highly ambituous innovators in the digital environment, be it hugely ambituous new reading communities, or simply old houses that undergo radical change in their internal organization, their business model and their revenue streams.

At this year’s “Publishers’ Forum“, on May 5 and 6, 2014, in Berlin, a gathering of leading book professionals from both Germany as well as international players, will review trends, and discuss consequences resulting from these developments. And I feel honored to have been asked to help in programming the event, together with its long time director and mastermind, Helmut von Berg.

After a few months of preparations, we can proudly reveal a growing line up of speakers and topics:

Speakers will include Richard Charkin, executive director, and Nigel Newton, founder of Bloomesbury Publishing and Johann Kempe, CIO of the Holtzbrinck Publishing Group; Brian O’Leary, consultant and educational expert Margret Ruep, Francis Bennet of Yale University Press, David Klett of Klett Publishing  and Stephan Schierke, President and CEO of arvato; selfpublished author  Hugh Howey, moderators David Warlock and Jörg Pfuhl, and distributors Jens Klingelhöfer of Bookwire and Thomas Raff of KNO VA.

The debate will focus on key topics such as reorganizing the value chain, the digitization of educational publishing, and new strategies for collaboration, discoverability and data analysis. Media partners include buchreport and Börsenblatt.

We can promise two exciting days packed with insights and hands-on expertise. And we keep you posted, as more details will be released.

Follow the Publishers’ Forum website, this blog or our updates on twitter. See you in Berlin on 5 and 6 May, 2014!

The Weltbild insolvency – Germany is living through its Borders incident

Serious shock waves have been triggered by the announcement of Weltbild filing for insolveny a week ago. The company is one of the largest retailers of books and other media in Europe. Together with Munich based Hugendubel, Weltbild controls Germany’s second largest book chain (behind Thalia), and operates the second largest online platform for books, behind Amazon, and it is a key partner, together with its rival Thalia, of the anti-Amazon ebook Alliance Tolino.

While details of the insolvency and rescue plan may not be clear before March of this year, many observers bet on the heterogenous group’s assets being striped, with the online business forming the core of the valuable pieces to be offered for sale to an investor, while many of the 300 brick and mortar outlets may be doomed.

While initial comments had a tendency to downplay the overall impact on Germany’s book and publishing market, I would disagree, and rather expect this to be the “Borders incident” for what used to be Europe’s most stable book market. It will shake the Tolino alliance, and thus other initiatives aiming at building local alternatives to the expansion of global players, while Amazon is the likely winner, grabbing much of the market share that Weltbild has grown over the past years, much of it coming from new customer groups rather than from the traditionally conservative book buyers. Also the Weltbild crash must be viewed in line with similar havoc among big book (and media) chains in France (Chapitre, Virgin) or the Netherlands (Selexyz,  Polare).

Find my analysis with more detail at Publishers Weekly here.

Angebot für ein Praktikum / Internship available

Angebot für ein Praktikum / Internship available (English below): Von Mitte Januar bis Mitte April suchen wir jemanden für gezielte Recherchen und Basisarbeiten am “Global eBook” Report (www.global-ebook.com ) Voraussetzungen: Augen, Ohren und Hirn offen und neugierig, insbesondere in Sachen Buch, Buchmärkte, Kultur weltweit; gut organisiert & strukturiert denkend, teamfähig; sehr geübt in English und noch einer oder mehreren Sprachen in Wort & Schrift. Wir bieten Mitarbeit an einem innovativen Projekt und bescheidene Bezahlung.
We have an internship available from mid Jan to mid April 2014, located in Vienna (teleworking partially possible), for basic research re: the Global eBook report (www.global-ebook.com ). What we need: Wide open eyes, ears and mind, notably re: books, publishing, culture worldwide; being well organized and team oriented; fit to work in English and one or several more languages. What we offer: Be a part of an outstanding project (good reference, really!), and moderate financial compensation.
Bewerbungen bitte per Email / Applications by email at ruediger@wischenbart.com

Is “hating Amazon” a good option? A new round in the controvery in Germany, and a reply.

“If I hate a company, it is Amazon”, was the cry of battle that Sibylle Lewitscharoff, winner of the prestigeous Büchner Prize in 2013, offered to her cheering audience at the opening of this year’s Buch Wien fair. As her address was published in Germany, in the daily Die Welt, an avalanche of 1500 posts on Facebook, a couple of hundred reader commentaries and many many tweets followed. However, the response was mixed between approval for the anti Amazon emotions, and more critical comments.

The debate coincided with an interview that Amazon’s Jeff Bezos had given to the CBS “60 minutes” news show, and yes, this was the talk with the book drones. But more interesting to me at least was a short, yet pretty sharp comment of Bezos with  regard to the book trade, as he said:

The Internet is disrupting every media industry, Charlie, you know, people can complain about that, but complaining is not a strategy. And Amazon is not happening to book selling, the future is happening to book selling.
I thought that these two quotes, from lewitscharoff and from bezos, are the perfect starting point for reviewing the heated controversy on Amazon that is raging across Europe, and notably its well intentioned reading and book selling communities. So I wrote my take on that debate for “Die Welt“. (You should be able to get the principle thoughts via Google Translate)
In short, I opened with Bezos’ critique, arguing that books and reading, with a market value of € 9 bn in Germany alone, more than music, games or even movies, has turned into a massive cultural industry, second only to TV. And that cultural industry, with its millions and millions of readers, has expanded far beyond the level of 18th century “Salons” and their spirit of exclusivity. Today, looking at books and reading means to think of India or China, with a globalizing middle class of most diverse communities.
Amazon must be blamed, obviously, for shabby working conditions in its fulfillment centers, and for complex tax schemes, avoiding to paying taxes where the profits are made. But again, we must add that the member countries of the European  Union simply fail to agree on fixing such loopholes, as they do in their endless disputes about VAT and reduced taxing schemes for cultural goods, books, ebooks, whatever. In Germany, for long the strongest book market for translations, the number of newly translated works came down in the past decade, not the least echoing an endless (national) quarrel on a fair compensation for translators. The book chains, yesterday’s agents of evil in bookish Europe, today stand up dressing as victims from Amazon’s onslaught. Etc., etc.
From a more neutral standpoint, Amazon is a threat to the status quo of this industry, certainly. But most of all, Amazon is the answer to some really pressing and tough questions (which we people of European culture rather tend to avoid):
How can we re-invent books and reading, to the standards and requirements of the 21st century? And this means digital, and this means global, too. Amazon has come up with one answer to that, and a successful one. If we don’t like it, we should better start thinking of our own response, and how it can be even stronger than that of Amazon.
Or as Jeff Bezos hinted rightly: “Complaining is not a strategy.”

The book markets in Armenia, Georgia and the Ukraine: Globalization and the peripheries

The globalization of the book trade is discussed mostly with regard to the most powerful, plus some emerging markets like Brazil or China. But obviously, the many smaller countries, and those on the peripheries from the centres of globalization, look at a challenging future as well. Local publishers and booksellers have to struggle with a difficult economic environment. Reading elites often import the newest books, in English though, as they do with electronic devices. And often enough, a strong neighbor country competes through regional exports for a culturally fragmented local audience. Armenia, Georgia and the Ukraine are three highly interesting examples for getting an understanding for scenarios of change that are applicable in many parts of today’s book world.

Invited by the NextPage foundation, we have had the priviledge to act as an external advisor to a project mapping the book markets of Armenia, georgia and the Ukraine. Find the full reports and other relevant information on these countries and their book markets at the BookPlatform website, a summary video of our presentation at the Frankfurt Book Fair in October 2013, and a short overview of key findings for download here.

Discussing wih Markus Dohle, CEO of Penguin Random House, how global publishing works, really.

A packed room with 350 visitors of the Frankfurt book fair, including numerous executives from around the world, questions – from my colleagues of Livres, Hebdo, buchreport, The Bookseller, PublishNews Brazil and Publishers Weekly – ranging from “How will you make this merger work”, after he had pushed for forming the largest trade publisher worldwide in today’s industry, to “What was the last book, published NOT by Penguin or Random House, and how did you actually ‘discover’ it (on the table of a friend, said Dohle, switching inadvertedly from English to German, thus making the proof that discovering a good read is very local, not global – but the, at first unnoticed involontary, change of languages gave him an amused, friendly laughter from the audience!).

What are the plans for Penguin Random House in emerging markets like Brazil or China or India? And why is Random House Deutschland, in Munich, not a part of the new entity (but Dohle is the boss for both, on Bertelsmann’s board).

And last but not least a few surprises, when Dohle said for instance (tongue in cheek): “You know, when I was in Brazil, and met those great people at (Brazilian publisher) Companhia das Letras (in which British Penguin had invested earlier), I decided that we just HAD to merge with Penguin, to be a part of this!”

Well, there were many interesting details, amusing sound bites, and pretty thoughtful insights during those 60 minutes. You can hear all of that soon. We will post a complete stream here shortly.

The Global eBook Report update fall 2013 is out: How ebooks are confronting the global with the local in international publishing

How ebooks are confronting the global with the local in international publishing

The Global eBook report provides an overview of internationally emerging ebook markets, with a unique set of data from a wide array of the best available sources, a thorough analysis and a synopsis of key global developments and a broad set of detailed references to both global and local actors, forming a resource for anyone interested in the globalization of digital (book) content production and dissemination.

The report offers a status on the US and UK markets as well as close ups on ebook markets as they take shape across Europe, Brazil, China, India, Russia, and in the Arab world.  Thematic chapters focus on critical policy debates and on key driving forces, notably ebook bestsellers and pricing strategies across European markets, self-publishing, government regulation, piracy, and the expanding activities of the leading global players such as Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble, Google, and Kobo. Fundamental statistics on the more mature ebook markets in the US and UK serve as benchmarks, to help with the evaluation of data from all other market developments.

Key findings

Ebooks have become the most relevant driver for growth in international publishing markets, yet confronting local players and traditions with often overwhelming competition from a few global actors, notably Amazon and Apple. In the two largest ebook markets, the United States and the United Kingdom (both with a market share for ebooks of around 20% of trade sales, and 30% in fiction), the increase has plateaued. In the UK, in 2012, thanks to ebook sales, losses in print could be compensated from digital. But everywhere across continental Europe, readers have started to embracing ebooks, notably in fiction. Publishers in Germany see up to 15% of revenues from new fiction titles to coming from digital, while various surveys report overall ebooks as contributing between 7 and 9%. Other markets, like France, Spain or Italy, see a continuous expansion of ebooks, in tandem with a growing penetration of devices, and tablets gaining over e-readers.

To assess trends and developments, more detailed observations, as documented throughout the Global eBook report, become more relevant though.

In the US, over 1,000 ebook titles had sold over 25,000 each by the end of 2012. In France, at 3.1% of market share for ebooks in 2012, one out of five readers says to have already read an ebook. In Sweden and Italy, hard DRM is not the best choice anymore for most publishers. On the crisis stricken Spanish book market, ebooks are taking off faster than elsewhere in Europe, with the most massive discounts against print in Europe.

Pricing is a strategic and complex issue altogether. Aside from summarizing recent legal debates in the US over the “agency model”, the Global eBook reports tracks the huge differences, and contradictory developments with regard to the cost of an ebook in different markets.

2013 witnesses a boom in both new startups – from specialized ebook publishers to new ebook community and streaming sites – to new alliances of major local players, aiming at confronting the takeover of their markets by the global giants Amazon and Apple. The Tolino platform in Germany has brought together the two leading book chains with a leader in telecommunication, similar to the Spanish Nubico, formed of the largest book club (and publisher) with a telco network.

Also in China, consortia between publishing and bookselling groups with networks emerge by bringing together the strongest domestic players, to limit the inroads from abroad. From France to Brazil to the US, the ebook platform Kobo is forming partnerships with local book chains and independents, to form alternatives to notably a predominance of Amazon.

Almost everywhere, market developments are complemented by controversial policy debates and regulatory efforts, thus emphasizing the deep impact of ebook developments on all aspects of the business and the culture of books and reading.


BookwireCopyright Clearance CenterKlopotek

Media Partners

The Global eBook report can dwell for research and dissemination on a unique network of media partners, including Book Dao (China), Book Industry Magazine (Russia), buchreport (Germany), Dosdoce (Spain), Livres Hebdo (France), Svensk Bokhandel (Sweden), Publish News (Brazil), Publishers Weekly (USA), The Bookseller (United Kingdom) as well as the Frankfurt Academy / ConTec conference.

How and where to get the Global eBook report

The Global eBook report is available in ePub, PDF and Mobi (Kindle) formats, for download at all major ebook platforms, and through direct links from www.global-ebook.com .

From October 1st until 31st, 2013, the download is free of charge.
From November 1st, 2013 on, the report will cost € 29.95.



Reading is changing, for sure. In the networks, obviously. But what does this mean?

I’m not sure if I embrace all the casualness in this piece on “networked reading” in The Guardian. But the short article certainly formulates several very important questions with regard to reading.

Reading habits are probably the next frontier in what is changing in the ecosystem of the book (and readers, and authors);

This change will be driven by readers networking their reading experience – plus thoughts, notes, references – through the (social) networks in which they are active;

Today’s biggest behemoths with their highly walled, closed gardens – Amazon, Apple, perhaps also Facebook – may lose ground here quickly; except if they just spend a few zillions to acquire all those new universes; but that would be both sad, and not really plausible;

The process will surely be disruptive for that late 19th century reading concept that overemphasizes the lone, solitary and individual book lover who gets lost in the text, without bothering to share the discoveries even with their closest friends; instead the other pactice of reading, as a magnificent generator of communication, will grow far beyond of what we know today.

But control – social control and mind control – will be a highly critical issue indeed.

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